It's not what you know...
I had a devotional this morning that included a recommended scripture reading from Ecclesiastes.
In that passage (Ecc. 9:4-12) the author appears to be quoting other ancient “wisdom-literature” describing the finality and total supremacy of death and the grave; it read as the groaning of a depressed and possibly grief-stricken soul.
Some tradition attributes Ecclesiastes to Solomon, possibly because he was called “wiser than any other man” (1 Kings 4:31; 10:23), but the more I think about it, the more I doubt that attribution. It seems likely, to me, that Solomon, with his God-given wisdom, would not have been so despairing and cynical as the writer of Ecclesiastes appears to be for large portions of the book.
It’s possible, I suppose, that the “wise” King, son of David and Bathsheba, did author the book, as some say. If so, perhaps he was despairing over the mess he’d made of his personal life and his kingdom, too, by not being wise enough to heed God’s guidance (1 Kings 11).
It reminds me that NONE of us is wise enough to navigate this broken world and overcome our own sinfulness without a divine Savior.
But, I DO know some other things that the Ecclesiastes writer did not appear to know.
And, while mere knowledge does not equal wisdom, just as mere facts do not equal truth*, my knowing of these things that that ancient writer did not know has helped me to become wiser and not to grieve as he did.
“Solomon in all his glory”, or the writer of Ecclesiastes, was not as “rich” as I, either (see Ephesians 2:7).
“Solomon in all his glory”, or the writer of Ecclesiastes, was not as “wise” as I, neither, for "I know that my redeemer lives", and has stood upon this earth, and will, one day, return again.
That’s the wisdom that he did not have: physical death is overcome, and the world's graves are not the final destinations for any of us… one day, we ALL will rise, then ALL kneel (Rom. 14:11) before the true and most wise King, and then (and only then) depart, some to the left and some to the right (Matt. 25:31-46)... some into eternal life and joy, and some into “the second death” (Revelation 2:11; 20:6; 20:14; 21:8).
Then, as I meditated on these things and went to recharge my coffee-cup this morning, The Booth Brothers began singing in my head: "I Met The Master" (https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=mcafee&type=B111US0D20131122&p=booth+brothers+then+i+met+the+master) ... and I realized, it's not WHAT I know that the ancients didn't know, it's WHO I know.
*”truth” is facts placed in accurate context, and “wisdom” is knowledge combined with skill in living well.