Under The Sun? Or Under The Son? – Series on Ecclesiastes
A warning about loving money
18 January 2015
Solomon reaches out to us from the ninth century BC with a warning that is pertinent to us even today. The system that he refers to in his day could just as well be the system in which we live in today. Solomon sees something we all see even in our day and age — the oppression of the poor by those with wealth and power. The point he is making is that we shouldn't be shocked at this phenomenon. We will continue to see people buying their way into positions of political power and authority. So we shouldn't be looking to our governments for hope and justice because no government is perfect. Instead, we need to be looking to the government of God that will one day rule in justice and righteousness.
This is not to be used as an excuse for unrighteousness but basically Solomon is telling us to be realistic about what we can expect from life 'under the sun'. So he comes to his main point in verse 10 — a warning against the love of money. His words aren't an attack on the possession of money but the love of money and the things that an abundance of money can bring. This is vanity and meaninglessness.
Solomon gives us four warnings with regard to money.
1. The more we have, the more will be taken away from us (vs 11)
2. Without God, wealth keeps us up at night (vs 12)
3. Money cannot buy security (vs 13) — Solomon isn't saying that it's wrong to save but he is saying that it's wrong to hoard. Because riches are transitory at best.
4. You cannot take it with you (vs 15) — a similar warning is given by Jesus in Luke 12:16-21.
All this is pretty sombre, but praise God that Solomon does have something positive to say from vs 17-20. Here, for the first time, he mentions the benefits and blessings that can be had with money, and for the first time he mentions God. And for the first time we see the joy that our work and wealth can bring about. By only if it comes from God.
The upshot, then, is this. Having wealth is one thing. But the ability to enjoy it and be satisfied with it only comes from God. Because only He can give us the ability to enjoy what He has given us. At the end of the day, we need to look at God to provide for our money and to help us enjoy it. We need to ask Him for a godly attitude towards towards money so that we can discern the difference between what money can buy and what it can't so that we can steer our hearts clear of the love of money.