Click Here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes%207-12&version=NLT
I don’t know about you but I feel as if we blew through Ecclesiastes..so much there…so much to apply to our lives. I mean think about it…these Words were breathed by our Divine Creator over 3000 years ago and they are STILL applicable TODAY, does that not blow your mind?
Solomon really puts things into perspective by speaking about death and how it affects everyone and everything “under the sun.” And in his view of the inevitable, he boils most of the things in life down to being meaningless except by seizing the day and obeying our Mighty God. Through all we read, we are encouraged to seize the day….enjoy our food, enjoy our spouse, enjoy our hard work and the fruits of our labor, enjoy our friends and family, our church, and “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with ALL your might…” because once death comes these things will be no more.
Now that you are thoroughly depressed… STOP and think about what Jesus did for us. HE died on the cross for us that we may have the abundant life here on earth and ETERNAL life with HIM in Heaven!!! Because of Jesus, yes everyone will die the physical death in our time….but also because of Jesus, we will never die a Spiritual death.
This life is not fair. Good things happen to bad people. Bad things happen to good people. We lose people to death whom we love dearly, ones who loved the Lord with all their heart; and as believers we know they are in the best place ever…yet we still grieve the emptiness their loss left in our lives. Sickness, addictions, financial chaos, job loss, and so much more invades the lives of good people …. just as it does the wicked. While we are here we will witness so many questionable things. Good people being punished and wicked people looking blessed (that was an eye catcher). We don’t know when we will die, but God does. (This scripture made me think of all the people in our society today who have and continue to “predict” the DAY and TIME the Lord will return….well DUH….the bible tells us in several places…NOT EVEN JESUS KNEW THAT ANSWER….so NO man can know!! We need to stop looking at others and look inward only to ourselves. 7:20 says There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is righteous….we have all fallen short of the glory of God. Yet in ALL of this time we call “life”….. as believers in Jesus Christ we KNOW…HE has our back …. HE is our Shepherd (12:11) HE is our future!! HE is our ONLY HOPE.
When we “…turn our eyes upon Jesus, look full in HIS wonderful face, and the things of earth will go strangely dim in the light of HIS glory and grace..” We simply can not begin to comprehend or put words on what Heaven will be like. We know it will be wonderful, full of peace, full of love, no sickness, no evil, no pain, great joy……and so much much more.
So are we to do? First take a deep breath…..and THINK about that breath…. God breathed life into us!! Without our breath…we do not live. If God decides that this breath will be your/my/our last breath….then it will be the last one. Once you have thought about that….what is REALLY important? It is God!! God is who is important!! And SHARING what HE has done in our lives …. including HIS precious Word…. isn’t all that worthy of praising HIM ….and sharing with others so ALL may come to know HIM??? Isn’t it worth sharing and reading and meditating upon so ALL can KNOW joy, peace, and comfort here on earth regardless of circumstances?
The conclusion you may have noticed was written in the Third Person. I could not help but to hear God himself reciting it. As if to say, now that you heard all that…let me tell you what the Real Deal is “Respect Me. Fear Me. Live according to what you are being taught my sweet BIBLE reading children, because one day soon each of you will stand in front of me for your day of Judgement”……IF you KNOW my son, Jesus Christ…. I will see you as righteous through HIS blood. If you do not know HIM then you will be judged. Not a politically correct thing to say….but it is what the Word of God says.
IF we are living in the last days, it is more important than ever that we KNOW the Word of God, KNOW HIS love for us and HIS character because in the last days there will be many false prophets. HOW do we tell the fake from the real…..by KNOWing HIS Word and then sharing HIS love with others. I always think about the fact that the angels in heaven CHEER when one soul is saved from the enemy, when one soul comes to know Jesus……so lets learn HIS Word and “pass it on”. “It only takes a spark to get a fire going…”
Sharing HIS mighty eternal love,
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>>>
Tomorrow we will begin a new book…..if you have been with us through the entire reading, this will be our 18th Book we are reading together. If this is your first visit to the blog.. CONGRATULATIONS!!! ANY DAY is a good day to begin reading the Bible. WELCOME in the name of Jesus Christ to all here!!
The theme of the book of Ecclesiastes is something that every human asks: “What is the meaning of Life? What is the point of living? Is there more to life?” These are hard questions if you deal with them strictly from a human point of view and the answers in our own humanness can be quite negative and depressing (as we will see as we read the book.) Interestingly the word “meaningless” appears 37 times in only 12 chapters!! However, as Christians, we KNOW that WITH Jesus Christ in our lives, leading our lives, and living for HIM, the answers to these questions are positive and life altering!!
Ecclesiastes in Hebrew means Koheleth “to bring together” but in Greek translation it is Qoheleth meaning Teacher, Preacher, Speaker, or Philosopher. The conventional belief is that Solomon wrote the book about 1000 years before Christ. Scholars believe that Ecclesiastes was written towards the end of his reign in approximately 935 BC. The theme of this book is going to be very human to us: What is the meaning of Life? What is the point of living? Is this all there is to Life?
Ecclesiastes is one of the 5 books of “WISDOM” in the Bible. The five books are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs/Solomon, and Ecclesiastes. Doesn’t it blow your mind that Solomon, the man who asked God for wisdom, is credited with writing most or all of three of them, and he wrote a couple of Psalms as well?? WHAT a testament of how God answers prayers for HIS glory.
Philosophers from centuries past to present day debate the meaning of life, and people spend billions of dollars each year trying to figure out the meaning of their life. When people call the Bible mysterious and confusing…often it is because they have not read it…I know that is how I was. I would attend church and depend on the Pastor to feed me for that week. I might attend a couple of other times during the week to get renewed but I always thought the Bible was WAY over my head (not saying that I understand all there is to understand because I DO NOT.) However, since I REALLY began to dig into the Word last year as if it were hot homemade bread fresh from the oven (and it really is our bread <<<smile>>>) God has opened my eyes to HIM, HIS character, HIS love, HIS ways. And when HE allows each of us to understand through our faithfulness to reading and doing HIS Word….OH BOY… do the flood gates ever open. We begin to see and understand so much more when we CHOOSE to read and allow the Holy Spirit to highlight the Words from the page deep into our hearts. And suddenly…things we never thought we could comprehend through the Bible are made so plain to our hearts.
This book refers to Our time on this earth as “Life under the Sun”. We will be reminded that our time on this earth is short as compared to God’s time of eternity. “Under the Sun” is used 28 times and refers to the mortal, temporary nature of ALL things in this life. The author will boil it all down for us when he will show us that apart from God…. life is meaningless!! The author writes this book from experience. And he had the means to try EVERYTHING!! He tried to find joy, satisfaction, meaning…NOT in fellowship with the Lord. He tried science, philosophy, drinking, possessions, women, wealth, music, materialism, fatalism, and Religion (legalism.) He TRIED IT ALL.
The book does not condemn any of those concepts as a part of life but to recognize that those WITHOUT God will leave us feeling meaningless. Human effort will never complete us. It does not matter how wise you may be, or how much money you have….those things will not give your life meaning and alone they CERTAINLY will not get us into heaven! There is ONLY one way to have meaning in this life and ONLY one way to live the abundant life here on earth and spend ALL eternity with our wonderful Abba Father…..and THAT way IS JESUS CHRIST.
As we read this Book of Wisdom, inspired from God, just know that to all the “vanities” (if you are reading the KJV) or “meaningless” (in the NIV) things all this REALLY is a foreshadow of Christ. According to Ecc 3:17, God judges the righteous and the wicked, and the righteous are ONLY those who are in Christ (2 Cor 5:21). God has placed the desire for eternity in our hearts (Ecc 3:11). I mean look at all the superhero movies we have seen in our lifetime….many of them are immortal….and we LOVE to watch them. Well, Jesus IS our SUPERHERO and HE is ETERNAL. God PROVIDED the WAY to meet our hearts’ desire of immortality through Christ (John 3:16.) Striving for the world’s wealth is not only vanity/meaningless because it does not satisfy (Ecc 5:10) but EVEN IF we could attain it, without Christ we would lose our souls and what profit is there in that (Mark 8:36)? The bottom line….. every disappointment, heartache, loss, hurt, etc…..has it’s remedy in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
And I can’t help but think about a song performed by a group called “The Byrds”, in 1965 called “Turn Turn Turn”… “To everything turn turn turn, there is a season turn turn turn, and a time to every purpose under heaven… a time to be born, a time to die….” It was actually written by Pete Seeger in 1959 and adapted from the book of Ecclesiastes (3:1)!!! Pretty interesting–right??
The verses that are touted as key verses from this book are Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:
“13 …Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”
And… as believers and faithful followers in Jesus Christ we will be seen by our Loving Father God through the blood of Jesus that covers us and makes us white as snow…not because we are perfect, or sinless, but because we desire with all our hearts to know HIM and obey HIM.
So let’s get ready for more words of great Wisdom from our Heavenly Father!
Sharing HIS love,