Life’s Biggest Questions

Description

The two wisest men in the Bible, Solomon and Jesus, seem to agree that pleasing God is the only way to acquire wisdom, knowledge, and happiness.

Ecclesiastes 2:26a

A new genre of television game show began sweeping the ratings in the early weeks of 2000. These shows—with names like “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”, “Greed,” and “Twenty-One”—focused on asking individual contestants simple questions based on general knowledge, and awarding them huge sums of money for correct answers. Fans of the king of intelligence-based shows, Jeopardy, disparaged the newcomers as asking questions that were too easy in comparison to the relative wealth being distributed. While that debate does not have earth-shattering implications, it does raise a significant question of its own: What are life’s most important questions?

We would be hard pressed to identify “the” most important question in life. But we can identify some significant ones, one of which has to be Job’s: “How can a mortal be righteous before God?” (Job 9:2) Game show replies to that question would be worth hearing, because men and women in cultures all over the world have asked that question since the dawn of time.

To ask it another way, “What must a person do to please God?” And behind that question is really the root issue, “Why should we want to please God?” It took an aged king, whose worldview was laced with a lot of reality and a little bit of cynicism, to provide the answer to this last question: “To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness” (Eccl. 2:26a) King Solomon had learned that knowledge, money, power, fame, and fortune were empty pursuits; that the only true pursuit in life was God—“Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13)—who then gives man what he desires.

We are people who need wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but they are not found in the world (nor its game show prizes). To get them, we must please God. The two wisest men in the Bible, Solomon and Jesus, seem to agree on that point. “The one who sent me is with me; . . . I always do what pleases him,” Jesus said (John 8:29). In our pursuit of wisdom, we can do no better than to follow his example.

God’s Promise to You: “My greatest pleasure comes from your pleasure in knowing me.”

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