“So I loathed all the fruit of my effort, for which I worked so hard on earth, because I must leave it behind in the hands of my successor.”
At the funeral of a rich man, one friend asked another, “How much do you reckon he left?” The other replied, “All of it, I’m sure.” Solomon knew this many centuries ago.
Life “under the sun” (excluding God) is depressing. Only God can give it meaning. Only God can bring us purpose that will last beyond this earth.
#Ecclesiastes #votd #meaning
The book of Ecclesiastes is not void of any beneficial advice to young people:
“Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9 NKJV)
But even that advice is given from the perspective of someone who recounts youth as a potential disaster for one’s outlook on life:
“Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 11:10 NKJV)
Ecclesiastes is the book to read when one reaches that “frustrating” time in his or her life. This frustrating time doesn’t necessarily have to be any sort of “mid-life crisis”. Times (experiences) have a tendency to come and go throughout our life (remember Ecclesiastes 3:1-8?).
Frustrated with work? Frustrated with the behavior of evil getting away with its deeds? Frustrated with the thought of the immature inheriting what you have worked hard for? Frustrated with the arrogance of others? Frustrated with the unfairness of life in general? Frustrated with politicians? Frustrated with your health? Ecclesiastes has advice for it all!
Humanity has not changed since the day we walked out of the garden, since the day we walked off of the ark, since the day we walked through the wilderness land heading toward Canaan … or since the day one wise man decided to record his experiences as he walked in and through the frustrations of life.
When you’re frustrated with life listen to the advice given in Ecclesiastes, and don’t let the frustrations keep you from remembering the conclusion that will keep us on the right track.
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NKJV)
“A poor but wise youth is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive advice.”
Age does not guarantee that one will have wisdom. It can cause one to be set in one’s ways. Rather, one ought to continue to humbly learn. Time in power is not necessarily a virtue.
What matters is not position or possessions, but the acquisition of wisdom. What are you doing to acquire it?
#wisdom #Ecclesiastes #VOTD
“What exists now is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing truly new on earth.”
In his wisdom and with all his experiences, King Solomon reached some wrong conclusions before he got to the final answer at the end of the book.
In what sense might this statement still be true, even after so many developments in human history?
#wisdom #Ecclesiastes #VOTD
The human soul has this tendency toward discontentment. The status quo is not quite enough, no matter how great it may be. This concept is all over the book of Ecclesiastes–the diary of the man who, seemingly to us, had everything he could ever want at his fingertips–wisdom, wealth, power, sex, fame, influence. Yet, as you read his account, you discover one of the most miserable, unhappy, tormented individuals that ever lived. Seems that “everything” turned out to be “not enough.” So he drops these little hints throughout his thesis that man’s purpose is simply to enjoy the lot he’s been given. Why? It does no good to fantasize. As you’re walking past the lilac bush, it’d be an awful shame to waste the moment dreaming about roses.
What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires.
~ Ecclesiastes 6:9
Here’s a great article about the peril of speaking before we think by Carl Hanson. Carl preaches for the church in Port Townsend, Washington, USA. He also sends out a daily devotional email for teenagers (but they’re also great for the young at heart as you’ll see) called “teEn-MAIL“.
WHERE DOES OUR MOUTH LEAD?
Commitments. Promises. Pledges. Vows. Giving one’s word. Do we take such SERIOUSLY? What do we see from others around us? Do we observe difficulty sticking to them, keeping them, following through with them, and fulfilling them? Are they quickly made, soon regretted, and then dismissed as if they meant nothing? Has such left us in a world where we do not always know what to expect? Even with signed contracts and business deals, loopholes are sometimes sought out to break that to which one had been formerly committed.
Solomon cautioned. . .
“(25) It is a snare to say rashly, ‘It is holy,’ and to reflect only after making vows.” (Proverbs 20:25 ESV)
The specific context here appears to relate to the committing of something to God; setting it aside as holy and devoted to Him. When such was the case, it could not be taken back for common use. Under the old law, when one made a rash vow and did not fulfill it, they had to offer a sin offering so that the priest could make atonement for them. (Leviticus 5:4-5) Yes, it was a sin!
As SERIOUSLY as we ought to take our commitment to God, we should also be SERIOUS regarding what we have promised to others. Have we ever experienced having not thought a commitment fully through and found ourselves trapped by it? HONORABLE CHARACTER IS SHOWN IN FOLLOWING THROUGH with what was said anyway. For this reason Solomon’s caution was against committing rashly or too quickly. Reflecting on what we have committed — whether to others or to God — should be before we speak.
Solomon noted further in Ecclesiastes. . .
“(4) When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. (5) It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. (6) LET NOT YOUR MOUTH LEAD YOU INTO SIN, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 ESV)
Where do our words lead? It is better not to vow than to vow and not follow through. That to which we commit ourselves we ought to be ready to make good. Therefore, let us give thought to the SERIOUSNESS of having surrendered our life to God. When it comes to the marriage relationship, the vows ought to be taken very SERIOUSLY as being made to the other and before God Who is the witness of all we say and do. When it comes to our interaction with others, may we be known as ones whose “yes” means yes and “no” means no. (Matthew 5:37) What we have said with our mouth, let us REVEAL BY OUR ACTIONS THAT OUR WORD CAN ALWAYS BE DEPENDED ON; words that always lead to making good on our word.
Have a great day BEING KNOWN FOR HONORING OUR WORD! – Carl
“Truly the light is sweet, And it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun; But if a man lives many years And rejoices in them all, Yet let him remember the days of darkness, For they will be many. All that is coming is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 11:7-8).
A. Lay out the purpose of Ecclesiastes.
B. Trace the role of the sun in Ecclesiastes.
1. Christians should value the blessings of walking in the light (John 8:12; 1 John 1:7; Ephesians 1:3).
2. Christians should remember the lessons of the darkness [when we have sinned & come through challenges by God’s grace and mercy] (Romans 12:1-2).
3. Christians should be preparing for the future and be ready for judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).
I will leave the rest to you.