Category: Ecclesiastes-BibleTrekToday

Thankful God promises life beyond the grave!

Scripture reading for July 24th:  Ecclesiastes 4-8

Key Scriptures:  Ecclesiastes 8:7-8  “For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him.  Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?  No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death.  As no one is discharged in time of war; so wickedness will not release those who practice it.”  

Solomon had everything money could buy and wisdom that dazzled others, but there were things he did not know or understand.  God has set boundaries and only by His revelation can man find answers to some of life’s perplexing questions.  “What will happen in the future?” “When is the day of our death?”  “How can I control the wind?”  “Will my misery ever end?”  Solomon knew that life under the sun could not adequately answer these questions.

Rejoicing in truth:  “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.  Yet what shall I choose?  I do not know!  I am torn between the tow:  I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far. . .”  (Philippians 1:20-23)

 

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Thankful that God sets boundaries!

Scripture reading for July 21st:  Proverbs 30-31, Ecclesiastes 1-3

Key Scriptures:  Ecclesiastes 3:1-4  “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:  A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,  . . . “

The writer of Ecclesiastes had lived a while and observed God’s boundaries in the various times and seasons of life.  As the seasons rolled around in the calendar year, so God ordained the times set for the various activities of man.  God uses these seasons to draw men and women to seek Him and to find Him.  This wisdom came from observation and revelation and was confirm other times in the New Testament.

Thankful God sets boundaries:  “From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set of them and the exact places where they should live.  God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.  ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ “  (Acts 17:26-28)

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A word to the wise: Fear God!

Scripture reading for July 15th:  Ecclesiastes 7-12

The quest of Solomon to find meaning is played out every day in our world.  People are going to and fro seeking pleasure, wisdom, meaning in life.  They are trying wine, relationships, sports, building, materialism, and fame to find happiness and fulfillment. Many who are laughing and appearing to have fun, feel empty inside.  Others are in bondage to sin and are miserable.  They are looking for that elusive fulfillment that can only be found in God Himself!

Solomon stated that the day of death was better than the day of birth because all men could contemplate their own future at the funeral.   Death will take away every man and their works will stand judgment.   There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right all the time and never sins. (Ecclesiastes 7:10; Romans 3:23)  Solomon found that God had made men upright, but that men in their folly had gone in search of many schemes!  (Ecclesiastes 7:29)   We must all answer to God when we die!

“The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)  No one really knows the future or what it holds.  Accidents can come suddenly and death can snatch us from this life without warning!   “As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:12)

“The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails–given by one Shepherd.  Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.  Of the making of many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.  Now all has been heard; her is the conclusion of the matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or bad.” Ecclesiastes 12:11-13  Solomon concluded his book with a simple warning.  Let the fear of the Lord and obedience to His commands drive your life.  These are wise words to be pondered and applied!

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Life without the “God” connection!

Scripture reading for July 14th: Ecclesiastes 1-6

Solomon, the richest and wisest man who ever lived outside of Jesus Christ, decided to try to find meaning in life by pursuing riches, fame, and fortune to the maximum.  The result is this book of Ecclesiastes!   After trying everything, Solomon found no meaning in endless days of toil and the work of man.  (Ecclesiastes 1: 9-11)  He observed that man spent his time working and gathering things and suddenly death took him away.  In a few years or less, no one remembers him or his works!

Solomon tried to find meaning with the pursuit of pleasure and things that brought laughter.  He tried wine and pleasure common to his culture!  He then tried great building projects to find satisfaction in what he had accomplished.  He built houses and planted vineyards and fruit orchards.    His herds and flocks were numerous and his treasury filled with silver and gold.  He hired singers and entertainers and even bought a harem of beautiful women to enjoy as he pleased.  He enjoyed his life under the sun but as he thought about it, it was meaningless!  (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11)

Solomon noted that all his hard work would be left behind when he died and given to someone else who did not work for it. (Ecclesiastes 3:21-23)  His conclusion was that if  man would eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work each day, that was a gift of God.  For without God, we can’t find meaning or enjoyment!  (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)

“He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Solomon concluded that God had made a time for everything under the sun.  These times are in His hands and man should accept each day with gratitude.  Man has a God-given knowledge of eternity in his heart.  Each knows that he is an eternal being who will be judged by God one day.   This understanding helps bring meaning to all of life!

Take a moment to thank God for revealing eternity and the plans of His heart through Jesus Christ!  In Christ we now have eternity restored in God’s presence!   All our life has purpose and meaning under the Son!

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Connections in ‘high places’!

Scripture reading for January 15th: Genesis 41-44

Joseph had been in prison for several years for a crime he did not commit.  He had been faithful to God and avoided the seductive trap of Potiphar’s wife, but it cost him time in jail.  There he had risen to a key helper for the jailer.  Today we would call him a “Trustee” who could work.  He had interpreted the dreams of two other prisoners; the one who was freed had agreed to help him get out but promptly forgot!  Two years later, Pharaoh had a disturbing dream that none of his advisers could interpret and the chief cupbearer, formerly Joseph’s fellow prisoner,  remembered Joseph’s ability!  Joseph was brought before Pharaoh and he interpreted the dream, giving God credit! ( Genesis 41:16)  Pharaoh promoted Joseph to second in command in all of Egypt!  He went from jailbird to prince because of his connection with God!

Faithfulness to the Lord to serve Him and live for Him brings great reward.  Sometimes it takes us on paths we didn’t sign up for.  We can learn from the story of Joseph to be faithful to God, even in adversity.  We must faithfully live for God, even when we end up in situations we did not anticipate or ask for.  We must hold onto our dreams from God and He will bring them to pass.

So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took the signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger.  He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck.” Genesis 41:41-42

” and he sent a man before them–Joseph, sold as a slave.  They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, till what he foretold came to pass, till the Word of the Lord proved him true.” Psalm 105:17-19

The conclusion: Fear God!

Scripture reading for July 14th: Ecclesiastes 7-12

The quest of Solomon to find meaning is played out every day in our world.  People are going to and fro seeking pleasure, wisdom, meaning and purpose in life under the sun.  They are trying wine, women, sports, building, materialism, and fame to find happiness and fulfillment. Many laugh and appear to have fun, but they have found no meaning.   Many are in bondage to sins of the flesh and are miserable.  That elusive fulfillment can only be found in God Himself!

Solomon told us that the day of death was better than the day of birth.   Death will come to every man and their works will stand judgment.  This should give us motivation for righteous living here and now!   There was not a righteous man who did what is right and never sinned. (Ecclesiastes 7:10; Romans 3:23)  Solomon found that God had made men upright, but that men in their folly had gone in search of many schemes!  (Ecclesiastes 7:29)

“The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)  No one really knows the future or what it holds.  Accidents can come suddenly and death can snatch us from this life without warning!   “As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:12)

“The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails–given by one Shepherd.  Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.  Of the making of many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.  Now all has been heard; her is the conclusion of the matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or bad.” (Ecclesiastes 12:11-13)  Let the fear of the Lord and obedience to His commands drive your life.  It is the beginning of all wisdom.  These are wise words given by our Shepherd to be pondered and applied!  True meaning will come at Christ’s judgment seat when every deed is judged!

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Utterly meaningless!

Scripture reading for July 13th: Ecclesiastes 1-6

Life is hard to make sense of without God’s Word or knowledge.  Man is left with darkness in his understanding and the futility of life under the sun.  This life without God has no real purpose or meaning.  It appears that we come about by accident and leave earth by calamity or slow death.  Some live short lives and others relatively long lives.  Some are blessed and others struggle with troubles and pain.  Our days are short and they fly by.

Solomon, the richest and wisest man who ever lived outside of Jesus Christ, decided to try to find meaning in life by pursuing riches, fame, and fortune.  He wrote the book of Ecclesiastes as a result of his quest!  Solomon found no meaning in endless days of toil and work of man.   (Ecclesiastes 1: 9-11)  Man spends his time working and gathering and suddenly death takes us away.  In a few years or less, no one remembers us or what we have done!

Solomon tried to find meaning through the pursuit of pleasure and material things.  He tried wine and folly but found them meaningless!   He built houses and planted vineyards and fruit orchards.  He built lakes and had many servants.  His herds and flocks were numerous and his treasury filled with silver and gold.  He hired singers and entertainers and even bought a harem of beautiful women to enjoy as he pleased.  He had no lack of anything his heart desired but by themselves,  all was meaningless!  (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11)

Solomon noted that all his hard work would be left behind when he died and given to someone else who did not work for it.  (Ecclesiastes 3:21-23)  His conclusion was that if  man would eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work each day, that was a gift of God.  Without God, we can’t find meaning or enjoyment!  (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25)

“He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Solomon concluded that God had made a time for everything under the sun.  These times were in His hands and man must accept that with gratitude.  Each person knows that he is an eternal being who will be judged by God one day.  Life is not meaningless, but counts for eternity!

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The Conclusion of the Matter

Scripture reading for July 15th: Ecclesiastes 7-12

Ecclesiastes has some good and practical advice for us to heed today.  The wise learn from others’ wisdom because they listen and are teachable.  I have saved myself many headaches and heartaches by listening to God’s word and heeding its wise advice.  Here are some verses that have spoken to me from today’s reading.

“When a sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of people are filled with schemes to do wrong.  Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11-12)    Our justice system was originally based on swift punishment but has deteriorated with abundant crime and lax sentences.  Crime increases when sentences are not carried out.  The fear of God restrains evil and helps on His judgment day.

“Cast your bread on the water, and after many days you will find it again.  Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.” (Ecclesiastes 11:1-2)  Wise money management requires investing or sowing in order to reap.  Sowing in a diversity of investment is wise because of possible trouble if you put all your investments in one thing.  This simple advice can help us in today’s economy.

“Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”–” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)   As I get older, this advice is something I would give to my own grandchildren and all young people.  An early walk with God, our creator, is the best foundation for all of life and serves us well when we get old and face death.

After trying everything “under the sun”, the preacher (King Solomon) gives us a summary of his findings.  When this wise man boils it all down, the answer to a full life here on earth and a blessed eternity is simple enough for anyone to understand. “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

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Life Lessons Under the Sun

Scripture reading for July 14th: Ecclesiastes 1-6

Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, except for Jesus Christ, and one of the richest men as well.  He explored life in all it’s aspects.  God appeared to him twice and he got to ask God for his heart’s desire.  He asked for wisdom and God gave him wealth and fame as well.  In Solomon’s later years, he tried to find happiness and meaning “under the sun” apart from God.   His verdict is found in this writing.

Solomon, being wise, considered wisdom as an end in itself.  He looked at the fool and found that the same fate came to the wise and the foolish.  Neither the wise or the foolish will be long remembered after they pass from  this life–and both will!  His conclusion was that pursuit of wisdom as an end apart from God is meaningless!  (Ecclesiastes 2:13-16)

Solomon considered his work and toil as a source of meaning.   Work produces many nice things and accomplishments but ultimately the worker dies and must leave all his work to another.  The one who inherits all the beautiful works may lack wisdom and desire to use and care for them.  These thoughts brought despair and a sense of meaninglessness to Solomon.  Work ultimately can’t bring satisfaction either. We must enjoy what we have and realize that God is the source of all true satisfaction and happiness!  (Ecclesiastes 2:17-26)

Money and an abundance of goods also cannot bring or buy happiness.  The love of money brings a restlessness for more and more.  As we gain more things, they are consumed, and others come to help in the process.  A fortune may be gained only to be lost in a moment by accident or misfortune.  When it comes time to depart this life, we take none of this with us.  “Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs.  He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.” (Ecclesiastes 5:15)

Solomon’s conclusion so far was that life apart from God appears to have no real meaning.  We are born, we live, and then we die.  Whatever we accomplish and how we lived our life is all left behind at death and we are soon forgotten.  A life without God is “meaningless”!

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