Solomon points out for ALL to see that EVERYONE dies. No matter how good or bad you are, death comes to all. And earthly rewards end here.
I have a question I want to ask of Solomon. “Hasn’t anyone told you that there IS a difference when we die? That death is NOT the end.”
Solomon stops cold at the end of man’s life here on earth. He doesn’t look to eternity after death. Is it because he wasn’t able to physically see it with his own eyes? He isn’t able to reason it out and prove what happens next beyond a shadow of his own doubt. He didn’t have Jesus’ resurrection or even Lazarus’ to look at, hold fast to, and examine any time doubt began to creep in.
I was wondering if the Old Testament even talked about life after death. I found a later reference from Solomon himself but not where it is spelled out in no uncertain terms. Yet, it HAD TO BE a foundational doctrine in the Israeli faith. We see the people who followed Jesus indicating a belief in ‘the next world’. Mary, when questioned by Jesus about Lazarus and being alive again said that they all knew there would be a resurrection, meaning they were taught this in the synagogues. They even had those who made this a ‘dividing line’ in their beliefs. The Sadducees didn’t believe in the resurrection. That would have made me very Sad too, seeing that I believed there was nothing more beyond the grave. I DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO THE SADDUCEES DOCTRINE.
Later on, in this book of Solomon’s musings, he will state that he soul returns to God, who made it. Does he not know this at this point in his life? Does he doubt it will happen? Is he afraid to point to what he can’t empirically study? Is he afraid of being wrong? Is he afraid he might be wrong? WHY would he focus on death without mentioning the resurrection? Maybe he purposefully left it off so people would be drawn in to listen closer.
Solomon is right. We ALL die. There are two exceptions that I know of. Elijah was carried up in a whirlwind and a chariot of fire. He never died. In the early genealogy of Jesus’ we are told of a man named Enoch walked with God right off of the history page. We are not given a date of death for either man because they didn’t die. Maybe they will be the two witnesses of Revelation. But that is a subject for another day.
The futility and depression I heard earlier on in this book seems to be back. And I can understand it. IF all there was to life was what happens here on this earth, and whether or not you are a righteous person it didn’t give you huge advantages, I would be depressed too. What would be the reason to live a righteous life? The only thing that would make sense would be to “eat, drink and be merry” for tomorrow you may die. BUT DEATH IS NOT THE END! And what happens here in this life matters in the next!
Solomon WILL tell us that he understands this too, later on. Hold tight as he gets all his “this is vanity” feelings out.
As I was writing this last sentence, a thought rose up in my spirit. It said, “You have to empty yourself of ALL your OWN expectations and explanations to be ready to accept what God really has for you.” I have to be willing to take what God says on faith. No matter what my eyes may or may not see, I have to trust Him. I have to lay aside my own expectations of how things are supposed to work, surrender to His plan, and be at peace with it. This is not always an easy process for me. I like being in control. I like knowing what to expect next. ONLY by KNOWING Who God is can I do this! I have SEEN His promises fulfilled. I have EXPERIANCED His hand at work in my life. And I KNOW He is faithful. This is the ONLY way I can “let go and let God.”
Father God, THANK YOU that there IS a difference in life when I have a relationship with You. I know that life won’t be all sunshine and flowers but as long as You are with me, I can weather whatever comes. And I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that You will be there to welcome me into eternity when this life is over. THIS makes life truly worth living!
Experiencing all there is in this life is only possible because You take my fear away. You give me the strength to begin each new day.