Do you know anyone with a pragmatic personality? I admit that I am a very pragmatic person, which is to say that I tend to think in practical terms. I prefer facts over emotion; rational thought over impulsive action. Yet I make a point to avoid being too pragmatic. Why? Because excess pragmatism tends to make me pessimistic. And I prefer to be optimistic. For me, it’s a balancing act. Thank God that the Holy Spirit working in me helps me find and keep that balance – at least when I am letting him do so.
In today’s text, we will see Solomon as a pragmatic and pessimistic king. In his pursuit to experience it all, he voluntarily and deliberately walked down a path of sin. That path revealed to him all of life’s ugliness. The experience made him all the more pragmatic. It also made him so pessimistic that he couldn’t see the joy in life. Remember discussing Solomon’s attitude in last week’s text? He had concluded that life sucks; that he hated life. Part of his disillusionment was the direct result of his sin. But he was also dealing with the pragmatism and pessimism that the guilt of his sin produced.