GRACE AND PEACE TO YOU FROM GOD OUR FATHER AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. I ALWAYS THANK GOD FOR YOU BECAUSE OF HIS GRACE GIVEN YOU IN CHRIST JESUS. (1 Corinthians 1: 3 – 4)
ECCLESIASTES, chapter 7. – 11.
THIS ONLY HAVE I FOUND: GOD MADE MANKIND UPRIGHT, BUT MEN HAVE GONE IN SEARCH OF MANY SCHEMES.
(Ecclesiastes 7: 29)
WHOEVER OBEYS GOD’S COMMAND WILL COME TO NO HARM, AND THE WISE HEART WILL KNOW THE PROPER TIME AND PROCEDURE. (Ecclesiastes 8: 5)
FOLLOW THE WAYS OF YOUR HEART AND WHATEVER YOUR EYES SEE BUT KNOW THAT FOR ALL THESE THINGS GOD WILL BRING YOU TO JUDGMENT. (Ecclesiastes 11: 9b)
In the first six chapters of the Book of Ecclesiastes Solomon, the Teacher, shared his search for meaning and observations during the course of this search. Repeatedly his conclusion was that “life under the sun” is meaningless. In the following chapters we find his counsel through a mixture of proverbs and narrations. He imparts wisdom designed to make most of “life under the sun.” In other words, while life under the sun is meaningless, how then should we live? These are the themes I invite you to MEDITATE on this time.
The first half of Chapter 7 offers Counsel for better living with a series of comparisons. For example, honour is better than luxury, your day of death is better than your day of birth, funeral is better than a party, etc. His estimation of what is better may often sound strange, but it comes from one who has learned from both experience as well as inspiration (v. 1-14). It means that you’ve been given the chance to live a life. The second half of the chapter offers Counsel for balanced living.” Here, there are challenging and difficult statements which should be understood in their context, and in the context of the Bible as a whole. It seems that the Teacher is mainly warning against extremism, and against the presumption that one can find the answer to every question in life (v. 15-29).
Chapter 8 seems to bring similarity between the Teacher’s conclusion and the Book of Job about the inability of man to discern all of the work of God. He observes that evil men are often in positions of power and offers his counsel for enduring such meaninglessness. Wisdom is helpful, capable of softening one’s countenance, not being overly troubled. Be patient, while judgment against such evil may be delayed. It will come in its own time and the wicked will soon be forgotten after their tragic end (For example, Romania’s last Communist president, Ceausescu, who had ruled the country for 24 years, before being executed on Christmas Day, 1989). (v. 1-13). Often, the righteous suffer while the wicked prosper. Even the wisest man is unable to discern all that God is doing, no matter how hard he tries. A lesson similar to the one taught in the Book of Job (v.14-17).
In Chapter 9 we can reflect on the inevitability of death, and the uncertainty of life, considering how time and change happens to all. Also, the Teacher underlines the importance of a joyful, diligent life and the words of the wise. This is our portion in life, and God has already accepted our works (v. 1-10). Times of change happen to all, and evil times come suddenly. The uncertainty of life can be softened with the aid of wisdom, which the Teacher praises as better then strength and weapons of war. The words of the wise should be heard, spoken even softly, or coming from a poor man (v. 11-18).
Chapter 10 compares the harm of folly and the value of wisdom. It is filled with proverbial statements, which first deplores folly and the effect it can have on people’s reputation (v. 1-3). The Teacher also describes how folly is often manifested in government, and in individual lives and labours. The land suffers when governed by foolish people, and labour is made even more difficult. Yet wisdom can bring success and blessings to the land when found in the conduct of those who govern (v. 4-20).
In Chapter 11 the Teacher begins with encouraging benevolence and diligence as ways to guard against the uncertain future. By casting our bread on the waters, willing to offer servings to many, and not withholding our hands in the evening, our goodwill may serve both God and us, giving us protection against the evil one. Likewise, things may happen beyond our ability to control or comprehend, but diligence in sowing seed and being mindful of the dark days to come can help to prepare us for their coming (v. 1-8). Young men are encouraged to rejoice. They are told to walk in the ways of their hearts and in the sights of their eyes, yet with the knowledge that God will hold them accountable for all they did. (v. 9-10)
In Paul’s confession to Timothy there is an everlasting spiritual satisfaction: fighting the good fight, finishing then race, and keeping the faith. This is so rewarding for a believer, because: – God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: – “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” (2 Corinthians 9: 8-9)
LET US PRAY:
Living and loving Lord, thank you for your ability to change lives, to transform even the most unlikely of people, turning them upside down and inside out. Thank You for having changed our lives, filling them with hope, joy, peace, and purpose. Continue to bring new beginnings to all. Reach out to our world – Your world Lord God, – and wherever there is pain, sorrow, evil, Covid-19 Pandemic, racism and injustice, accomplish real and lasting change. Take what we are and fashion what we shall be, so that we may change not just on the outside, but deep within. Work Your miracle of grace within us so that we may become the people You already count us to be, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Have your quiet prayers… and then … sum up all that you still feel is missing, in THE LORD’S PRAYER: – Our Father, who art …
GUIDE ME, O THOU GREAT JEHOVAH, pilgrim through this barren land; I am weak, but Thou are mighty; hold me with Thy powerful hand: Bread of heaven, Bread of Heaven feed me till my want is o’er; feed me till my want is o’er.
Open now the crystal fountain, whence the healing stream doth flow: let the fire and cloudy pillar lead me all my journey through: strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer, be Thou still my strength and shield; be Thou still my strength and shield.
When I tread the verge of Jordan, bid my anxious fears subside! death of death, and hell’s destruction, land me safe on Canaan’s side! songs of praises, songs of praises, I will ever give to Thee; I will ever give to Thee!
GROW IN THE GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. TO HIM BE GLORY BOTH NOW AND FOR EVER! AMEN. (2 Peter 3: 18)