By Arlo Moehlenpah
Five cycles are described by Solomon in Ecclesiastes chapter one. “One generation passes away, and another generation comes. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it arose. The wind goes toward the south and turns around to the north. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again, and That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done.” People have no control over generations passing, the sun, the wind or the hydrologic cycles but they can make a difference in the fifth cycle. In verse 11, Solomon gives the reason why history repeats itself, “There is no remembrance of former things.” In other words the reason history repeats itself is because people don’t learn from history.
Solomon unsuccessfully tried to find satisfaction in earthly wisdom, pleasure, wine, great works, laughter, houses, vineyards, gardens and orchards, pools of water, servants, cattle, silver and gold, singers, delights of the hearts of men, musical instruments and whatever his eyes desired (1:13 -2:10). He concluded that all was vanity and grasping for the wind. Also he was perplexed that he would have to leave all he acquired to someone who might be a fool (2:18-23).
It is a sad commentary that people today make the same mistakes that Solomon made because they have not learned from history. Satisfaction will not be found in things. Satan is using the same avenues of temptation – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. The steps in sin are the same as in the garden of Eden – see, covet, take and hide. Also on a national level “Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Pro. 14:34).
History does not have to repeat itself. Joseph did not repeat his father’s deception nor the immorality of his brother Reuben. Samuel resisted the peer pressure of Eli’s sons who were corrupt and immoral. You too can overcome if you will learn from history!
Solomon’s advice to youth was “put away evil from your flesh” and “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, I have no pleasure in them” (Eccl 10:10-12:1). At the end of the book he said “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil” (Eccl 12:13-14).
Obey the word of God, Let Jesus be your number one priority. Don’t let shameful history repeat itself in your life!
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