Solomon was the wisest of men. He wrote Ecclesiastes searching to explain the meaning of life. Along the way, we gain some amazing insights. One is Solomon’s self-awareness.
Throughout Ecclesiastes, Solomon uses self-talk to show us the internal questions and process he employs to discover what is true. He also shows us how he chooses his perspective with self-talk. This verse begins with “I said in my heart.”
Solomon makes clear he is choosing a perspective. He is aware he has a choice about the way he looks at life, and does so with complete intentionality. After a thorough investigation, he decides everything has a purpose, and God will decide that purpose. He often describes this discovery (that there is a purpose but only God truly knows it) as hebel, often translated as “meaningless” or “vanity”. A better translation for hebel might be “vaporous”, something we cannot fully grasp or control.
Solomon leads us to understand we have a decision to make regarding the hebel that surrounds us. We must choose a perspective by speaking to our hearts. One perspective is to believe that we can grab the vaporous meaning of life with our own hands. To master it. To control it. This will lead to folly, futility and madness.
The other perspective, the one Solomon advises, is that we can trust to God the ultimate meaning and purpose for every work on earth.
The entire book of Ecclesiastes is an example of Solomon’s self-talk as he wrestles with these two choices. Choosing a perspective that reflects reality. Telling himself, “this is what is true”.
It is the same challenge we face every day. What are we telling ourselves to be true? By what standard or measure are we making our choices? In whom are we placing our trust? What are we saying to ourselves?
If we follow Solomon’s example, we will pay careful attention to what we say in our heart. We will say to ourselves things that are true. This lays the foundation for wisdom, gratitude, and enjoyment for our two-minute adventure ride of life.
“I said in my heart, ‘God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, For there is a time for every purpose and for every work.’”
– Ecclesiastes 3:17