Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes%201-6&version=NLT;NIV
Notice I’ve given you two different versions incase one appeals to you more than the other. Choices are nice. I preferred the NIV in this reading but you choose ANY one that works for you. If you are using the audio with your reading just know the audio is not available in all versions. I like the sound of George W Sarris’s voice…but you pick your favorite. I just wanted you to know you can pick one of several voices.
This is a longer read than usual so bite off 1or 2 chapters. Rest. Then come back a few hours later do 2 more. Rest. Then come back and do the last two. ONLY a suggestion… you do what works for you. Sometimes I get carried away and just keep going in the reading until my eyes become weary and I have to stop. Again… do what works for you.
Before I began today’s reading, I imagined I was Solomon (or Solomonette) who had ALL Wisdom given by God, and who had ALL the money, wealth, health, houses (one ocean front, one lake front, one on a mountain top, and one in my home town), ONE loving husband, devoted and loving friends & family, a great church family to fellowship with and serve with…. vineyards, lush gardens, supplies of delightful food, people to serve my every need (like doing all the repairs I can’t do such as on the horses, cars, houses, you know what I mean… I can feed myself thank God…don’t need someone feeding me grapes and figs <<smile>>), cattle, sheep, fresh fish, gold, silver, gemstones, furniture, boats, planes, land, etc, everything that ANYONE could ever possibly want or need IN THIS LIFE. Of course I have a grand imagination and had no problem picturing this <<<smile>>>>!! And, in my wisdom and through the “tests and experiments” IN MY IMAGINATION, I had also performed to see what brought happiness… I would want to share what I had discovered as well. NONE of these things without God is worth ANYTHING.
So, here we go with Solomon sharing his findings…… and we will find in the last chapter that he says (and hints to along the way) that life without God is TOTALLY AND UTTERLY MEANINGLESS!! Ecclesiastes is a wonderful book. As I read the “meaningless” parts, I ask God to show me what area(s) HE wants me to specifically work on now. I also find glimpses of foreshadows of Jesus. Did you notice 4:1 that Solomon spoke of “no comforter?” BUT…we have that comforter to turn to!!! God sent HIS son for us to redeem us, forgive us, make a Way for us, love us, bless us, and so much more. Ecclesiastes has some wonderful advice for us to consider even in our time. For some it may be because we have these very questions in our head. For others it may be because we know friends that have these questions in their heads. And for the rest of us, we may be experiencing a little of both. Have you ever said: “If I only… then life would be worth living, or so much better…if only” you can fill in the blank with whatever your “if only” need or desire may be. Maybe it is:
know my God given purpose
had financial security
was the healthiest person around
was a lot thinner
wished your husband was on board with your thoughts
had someone else’s life
had someone else’s kids
had more time
had a job I enjoyed
had a career that you KNEW God called you to
and the list can go on and on…. to infinity and beyond!!!
But we will see that HUMAN desires for happiness are… “chasing after the wind” (vs14) Reading these 6 chapters was like a roller coaster. Solomon would go down the hill with the ‘Meaningless’ rants and back up the hill with his heart felt love for the Lord on the “we cannot take or add to anything from the Lord”. As a society we are challenged to “DO it ALL”, “Just DO it”, “if it feels good do it”, “you can be anything you want to be”, “you too can make $6000 an hour”, and of course there is always “if someone treats or looks at you wrong just sue them to make your millions.” We are encouraged to read and try EVERYthing to figure it out (but RARELY is the Bible among the list given by our general society). The end of this book will answer it all.
As I listened to and read these chapters (LOVE the audio version so I could read along…I absorb more) I noticed in the NIV that the term “chasing the wind” was used 8 times (I was counting fast so I may have added one or even missed a couple.) When I looked this up in the KJV it does not use the same terminology…it uses “vexation of spirit.” “Vexation of spirit” means longing, striving, desiring the study of any thing… a vain pursuit. The phrase “chasing the wind” makes so much sense to me…..if we try to live our life without God…everything we do is like “chasing the wind.” We know the wind is there… we can feel it…get blown around by it….see things get picked up and tossed in a powerful wind…or enjoy the wind as it brushes up against our face, but it is every changing. We can NEVER hold the wind, catch the wind, or make the wind do anything we want it to (unless someone has invented a big wind control machine somewhere that we don’t know about yet <<<smile>>>)!!
There were MANY things in each chapter that touched my heart and soul today, so deeply. I see things I need to correct with God’s help and others where HE has granted me understanding. BUT the line that touched me the deepest was Ecclesiastes 3:11-13: (I LOVE THIS):
“11 — He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.”
In GOD’s all knowingness … HE PLANTED eternity in our hearts… HOW awesome is that!!! And… ALL “these” are GIFTS from God (eternity in our hearts, our work, enjoying the fruit of our labor, and helping others). This verse reminds me that we are meant to focus on the here and now, take daily joy in our hard work, serve The Lord through our work, and serve others in need so we are acting as God’s hands and feet here on earth, BECAUSE our time here is short when compared to eternity. I am reminded of the verse from Nehemiah 8:10 — “And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, FOR THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH!”
I also love the fact that God reminds us that two are better than one. This came from Chapter 4:
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Think of the one person in your life (Christian) that no matter what happens that person will completely support you, pray for you, and lift you up. If you don’t have this bond with a person, pray and pursue one. Also did you notice the last line?? The verse is speaking of TWO being better than ONE and ends with “a cord of THREE strands is not quickly broken.” Did you see Jesus in that last verse?? Think about a husband and wife now add JESUS to the union…. a cord of three stands is NOT easily broken!! A marriage goes through a LOT, people change, things change, things we never expected happen some good and some bad, BUT if we have included JESUS in our marriage…we will get through anything…..same thing with life!!
Chapter 5 hits on MONEY!!! Yep…the HOT HOT Topic…. money is not the cause of all evil…. the LOVE of money is the problem!!
Whoever loves money never has money enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.
This too is meaningless. As goods increase,
so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owner
except to feast his eyes on them?
The sleep of a laborer is sweet,
whether he eats little or much,
but the abundance of a rich man
permits him no sleep.
Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a GIfT of God. He seldom reflects (negatively, or in doubt, or constantly questioning) about the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart. Ahhhhhhhh!!!
Don’t allow the enemy to ROB you of al the GIFTS God has already placed in your life and in your heart. Don’t listen to his whispers….FOCUS instead on the WORD of God…and praise God for all HIS GIFTS.
What stood out to you today? Did anything become clearer or something God placed on your heart (maybe renewed in your heart) that HE has always wanted you to do….it is NEVER to late!!
Sharing HIS love,
PS… I know I have asked this before…but please forgive any misspellings or misuse of grammar…it is not intentional….just trying to remain focused and be faithful to getting these posted in a timely manner. Thank you for your understanding <<smile>>>