May 30, Reading 2 – Ecclesiastes 11, 12

Reading

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SAA Notes

The knowledge of my accountability to God acts as a check on stupidity and folly in youth as in old age. He is my Judge, and far more! He is our Saviour and Redeemer! Ecclesiastes just openly looks at some of the evils He redeems us from! Be thankful!

SJA Notes

Here we read the closing out of Ecclesiastes, and what a wonderful clear (painfully for us at times) book this has been to read through.

“The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the colected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd.” 12 v11

A goad is a weighty spiked stick used to drive cattle/oxen. Sharp. Painful at times, but only to set on the right path.

This is like God’s word!

Ecclesiastes is full of truths that can seem harsh, and bleak. Vanity, all is vanity!

But this is God’s word!

Ecclesiastes helps us to remember humility and meekness. Submission under God’s will, to enjoy the temporal blessings He gives to us in His time, staying away from pride and arrogance.

And how good is that last bit, “… They are given by one Shepherd.”

The Good Shepherd who loves His sheep! Who will leave the fold to rescue the one lost sheep (Luke 15)!

He has given to us His word, words of comfort and joy, words of exhortation and rebuke.

And God’s word is the mirror (James 1) that always tells us the truth (John 17 v17).

And so Ecclesiastes is an important book, we need to wrestle with what the preacher tells us.

Notice 12 v12, “My son, beware of anything beyond these. …” – We are reminded of Revelation 22 v18-19, the warning against adding and taking away from God’s word.

And in closing Solomon cuts to the quick of the matter – “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

FEAR GOD, KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS – This is our duty. The _whole_ duty.

* Father God, teach us, help us, hound us to FEAR You with a holy and reverent fear.

A fear that keeps us from taking Your Name in vain, helping us hallow it in thought, word and deed, bearing it well in the world.

A fear that warns us of the lust of the flesh, of the eyes, the pride of life.

A fear to keep us from adding or subtracting from Your word.

Please make us a people that walk in the fear of You.

Amen.

May 29, Reading 2 – Ecclesiastes 9:11-10:20

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

Solomon advances several reasons as to why wisdom is still better than folly/stupidity.

SJA Notes

As we make our way through Ecclesiastes we read the preacher exhorting us on how, even with the folly/vanity of life, wisdom is better than folly.

And in this passage, or the chapter 10 segment, we see a tight bond/mirror with Proverbs, the proverbial coin-truths.

“If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place, for calmness will lay great offenses to rest.”

“The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor, but the lips of a fooly consume him.”

There are some interesting commentaries on activities that are often linked in our minds with folly.

Ch10 v17 seems to be saying that feasting can be for strength or for drunkenness. This echoes what the preacher has been telling us all along, to eat and drink and be joyful in the toil that God has given to us (under the sun).

Ch10 v19 layers on that, “Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything.”

God gives bread and wine and money. There is good in the enjoyment (right and true) of these gifts from God.

One chief aspect of this enjoyment that we especially saw as we read through Psalms is that of THANKSGIVING.

Psalm 118 v1 says, “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”

* Father God, thank You for the gifts of bread and wine and money.

Thank You for all the gifts that you give, both temporal and spiritual. Gifts of encouragement and exhortation, of skill and excellence in our vocation, of mind and body and spirit.

Thank You for the way You have put each of us together, different body parts yet one under Christ, separate uniquely individual and yet together in hopeful unity of that great day.

Help us Lord to enjoy what You have given us, acknowledging You in all things.

And as we read through Ecclesiastes, help us to remember that truth from Your word in Proverbs, that “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,”

Amen.

May 28, Reading 2 – Ecclesiastes 8:1-9:10

Reading

Audio, Visual

SAA Notes

If there is no God, then death makes a wise and righteous life irrelevant and pointless, for the righteous and the wicked share a common destiny. This is the evil that happens in everything under the sun! Our hearts rebel against this destiny, and we cling to life – verse 4.

SJA Notes

“It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice.” 9 v2

The same event happens to us all.

Jesus pushes us further to understand this in Matthew 5, in the sermon He preached on the mountain, “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

The sun rising is the beginning of a new day. A wonderful thing! And this happens for good and evil people both.

Rain is life to a dry land, health to thirsty crops! And rain comes and falls on the farms of those who love God and those who don’t.

Jesus gets stuck in even deeper in Luke 13, the crux of the matter. The outcome of the truth that the same event happens to all – “There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.'”

Death comes to us all. It is the same event that happens, to the righteous and to the wicked.

BUT – Jesus tells us that PERISHING is an event that can be avoided. PERISHING is death to death, the wide road, the broad gate; Hellfire for all eternity.

“UNLESS YOU REPENT” – There we have it. Repentance.

So while the same event happens to us all in death (and rain and the sun rising), we can avoid perishing (an absolute event without recourse) by repenting of our sin before Jesus.

* Faithful God, thank You for Jesus, that in Him we are rescued from perishing.

Amen.