(Psalm 49:1-12; Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21)
Ecclesiastes is a Greek translation of the Hebrew word: Qohelet, which literally means: “one who assembles” or “the assembler.” As far as human presence is concerned, Solomon is definitely the focus of the book. Whether a compiler or Solomon, the point is clear: even King Solomon was unable to find happiness, meaning, and satisfaction without God. Both the repetition and superlatives, i.e., vanity of vanities/meaninglessness of meaninglessnesses, drive home the point that man – as such – is not a sufficient integration point for what he/she longs for – meaning. Without God all is empty, vacuous, and without meaning.
Opposing such meaninglessness, is the historic Christian faith that affirms the objectivity of God’s self-revelation through Jesus Christ. As with any worldview, Christianity needs to meet the existential test, i.e., can one live with it; does it makes sense with how we feel and think? This is not to say that we simply indulge in self-made deities – that dream world belongs to the materialist who thinks someday he’ll discover how the universe came together by itself! What I’m talking about is the hand & glove feel that comes with affirming one’s creaturliness; it feels right, because it IS right – we are indeed CREATURES; we have been CREATED. Having no beginning nor end, God alone transcends all that is
Next comes the Colossian passage with its emphasis on the self-revelation of God in Christ. Believers have died; indeed, have RISEN in Christ. As a result we are to PUT OFF the earthy: sexual immorality, anger, wrath, malice, slander, and covetousness, which is idolatry (Col 3:5, 8). The similar phrase in Ephesians 5:5 makes this very difficult to determine whether greed/covetousness alone comprise idolatry, or whether the additional traits also do (The problem stems from a grammatical issue. In Ephesians the relative pronoun does not match its antecedent – covetous). I think the weight of evidence goes with greed as a metaphor of idolatry (Job 31:24-28). The one to one relationship is strong in the history of Koine Greek, and was used with little to no regard for gramatical gender harmony.
What import might this have for us? Of course, we must be tentative, but given Paul’s view in Romans 1:18-27, i.e., same-sex sex is a manifestation of God’s wrath IN MOTION), our focus in the church ought not to be on homosexuality per se, for this is SYMPTOMATIC of a deeper root cause, which I think points to GREED. In other words, the church should not place her focus on the symptom (homosexuality), but should focus on the root problem (covetousness) of our sin-sick culture! We have sought our help, our affectionate center, not in God, but in our self-created attempt at meeting our own needs, obtaining our own security and well-being. It is – the LOVE OF money, then, that is driving our own demise, and this LOVE OF money is idolatry. Do read the Job passage above. It will drive it all home.
(Primary sources besides Scripture: Beale, Longman and Thielman)