Reading the Word
Ecclesiastes 4:13–16 (ESV)
13 Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice.
14 For he went from prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor.
15 I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with that youth who was to stand in the king’s place.
16 There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
Understanding and Applying the Word
Solomon now tells a story of someone who overcame great odds to become a great success in life. He tells of a poor and wise youth who went from prison to the throne. What a great story. It sounds like the kind of story that would make a great movie! A man born poor in a land that would later be his kingdom.
The story of this young man rising to the top sounds like something that would make life meaningful, but there is a problem. Solomon reminds us that, even with all of the success, the young man would soon be forgotten. No one would remember him nor his story of overcoming the odds. Such success is simply a chasing after the wind.
There are many things one can chase after to give life meaning. However, there is only one thing that is truly lasting. We need to know God and trust in him. It is because of God that we have a future and that our current lives have meaning.
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