Trying to Grasp the Wind?

HurryIt seems like life is getting more and more hectic. Not mine, specifically, although I reckon could easily trim out a bit of excess, but this world is rushing madly about, busy with things and stuff.
On the one hand, it’s good to be busy. The devil plays around with our leisure time. But on the other hand, the devil also enjoys watching us waste our time as we hurry and scurry doing nothing particularly constructive or productive.
Praise the super-successful business mogul. Clap for the sports hero. Sigh for the girl singing on the X-Factor.
Shuttle the kids off to school to learn how to write, read, build, discover. Rush them to band practice, football practice, their first job in the hamburger joint. It’s not enough that they get by in life; we want them to thrive, excel, become truly great, leave their mark. So we push.
Do we ever stop to think WHY we push them? Why do we push ourselves? Why do we rush about attempting to achieve great things?
WindSolomon did exactly this. He holds the world record in the “super-successful” category because he had virtually unlimited resources and a drive to discover, build, and thrive. Solomon diligently searched for thrills, meaning, and happiness–but when he paused to reflect, he realized he had just been grasping at the wind. Frantically, he tried everything he could think of, but nothing truly satisfied. “Vanity,” he penned in his journal. “Emptiness. Striving after the wind.”
 
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. (Ecclesiastes 1.14)
 
And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. (1.17)
 
I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” (2.1-2)
 
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun. (2.11)
Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind. (2.17)
City StreetSad man! Because he was wise, he reflected and meditated on his life journey. Many of us don’t pause in the hustle and bustle of our days and weeks–we just spin our wheels and never look back. But Solomon looked back, searching for the reason why he had spent his energies and time the way he had. When all was said and done, after he had philosophized for twelve tough chapters, Solomon found his conclusion. Perhaps some would have committed suicide by the time they had meditated on the realities of life the way Solomon did–but Solomon found an anchor, a reason for living:
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil. (12.13-14)
Jerusalem MarketplaceThe answer to life is not in discovering your unique passion, becoming the best at your trade or talent, or hoarding boatloads of cash. No, the secret to life’s meaning lies in something quite outside this world! Man’s duty is to fear God and keep His commandments. If this is our aim, everything we do in life suddenly becomes pregnant with meaning, from the words we use with our families to the business decisions we make at the office. Suddenly every word, thought, and action holds eternal significance because we realize there actually is a judgment day coming in which God will reveal every secret thing! We ought to live in light of eternity, in light of judgment, in light of God! Since He exists and He watches and He commands, we should listen and obey and conform to His way. Imagine that–the creature obeying his Creator. What a concept.
Why rush about? Why achieve things? Why push ourselves? If it’s not for God, there really is no good reason to do any of it. It is vanity, a grasping after the wind, and it will all disappear in the twinkling of an eye. All this earth stuff will grow old, rust, rot, and perish. So will our bodies. But WITH God there is no such thing as vanity or emptiness! All has meaning. Praise Him!

Solomon Builds the Temple (2 Chronicles 1-9)

Solomon's TempleIn a letter addressed to Hiram, king of the nearby region of Tyre, Solomon wrote:

And the temple which I build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build Him a temple, since heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him? Who am I then, that I should build Him a temple, except to burn sacrifice before Him? (2 Chronicles 2.5-6)

With the copious provisions his father had collected along with further materials he prepared from surrounding regions, “Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. And he began to build on the second day of the second month in the fourth year of his reign” (2 Chr. 3.1-2; cf. 1 Chr. 21.28-22.4). Hiram, king of Tyre, sent his master craftsman, Huram, to aid Solomon in the fine metal work, cloth work, and engraving which decorated the Holy House (2.13-14).

Solomon’s structure surely outshone every other earthly temple, as the details in chapters 3-4 suggest. Many have constructed replicas and models of this temple based on the details found here, and I encourage you to check out some online pictures and videos (for example, this one and this one) to get a feel for it’s grandeur.

When Solomon dedicated the Temple, he first performed a ceremony to dedicate the Ark of the Covenant, which David had brought into Jerusalem many years previous. The priests placed the Ark in the Most Holy Place under the wings of two giant cherubim.

For the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim overshadowed the ark and its poles. The poles extended so that the ends of the poles of the ark could be seen from the holy place, in front of the inner sanctuary; but they could not be seen from outside… Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they had come out of Egypt. (2 Chr. 5.7-10)

Solomon's TempleAs the priests sang and played music with cymbals, stringed instruments, harps, and trumpets, “the house of the LORD was filled with a cloud so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God” (2 Chr. 5.13-14). What an awesome sight!

But God wasn’t finished displaying His glory. Solomon continued with a dedication ceremony for the entire Temple, during which he prayed an amazing prayer asking God to remain in the Temple and always hear His people when they prayed towards the Temple in repentant, trusting faith. In His prayer, Solomon recognized that God alone knows the hearts of the sons of men (6.30) and that there is no one who does not sin (6.36). Again and again he petitioned, “When they return to you with all their heart…may You hear…and when You hear, forgive.”

When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house. (7.1-2)

They responded with praise:

“For He is good,
For His mercy endures forever.” (7.3)

Amen!

“So the house of the LORD was completed” (8.16).