Friday, August 7, 2020

#949 Ecclesiastes 12 False Hope

Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, 3 in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, 4 and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— 5 they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— 6 before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, 7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. 8 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
Fear God and Keep His Commandments

9 Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. 10 The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.

11 The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. 12 My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12 ESV

Ecclesiastes 12

1-8 After all these considerations under the sun, the old is now taking the youth back to what really matters.

It is the royal physician’s antidote against the particular diseases of youth, the love of mirth, and the indulgence of sensual pleasures, the vanity which childhood and youth are subject to; to prevent and cure this, remember thy Creator. Here is, (1.) A great duty pressed upon us, to remember God as our creator, not only to remember that God is our Creator, that he made us and not we ourselves, and is therefore our rightful Lord and owner, but we must engage ourselves to him with the considerations which his being our Creator lay us under, and pay him the honour and duty which we owe him as our Creator. Remember thy Creators; the word is plural, as it is Job. 35:10 , Where is God my Makers? For God said, Let us make man, us, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. - Matthew Henry

14 Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; cast aside the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if it is unpleasing in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!” 16 The people replied, “Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods!… Joshua 24: 14-16

The preacher/philosopher points much to the vanity of holding dear what is fading. Youth passes and men, myself most notably, put off for tomorrow the things of God, the important decisions, for the time of old age, a time not promised to anyone. Since youth to us is glory, we are depressed when it's strength is gone. I have watched many women lament their youth, get face lifts, breast implants, trying to fix the idol that is withering. Men are just as bad, they live in their youth, and as they sit at the bar with their pint in hand, they all tell the stories of what should have been. They were all going to be famous athletes or rock stars, but then something happened, life was unfair to them. This is promised, if you live you will get old, store up your treasure elsewhere.

   It is the greatest absurdity and ingratitude imaginable to give the cream and flower of our days to the devil, and reserve the bran, and refuse, and dregs of them for God; this is offering the torn, and the lame, and the sick for sacrifice; and, besides, old age being thus clogged with infirmities, it is the greatest folly imaginable to put off that needful work till then, which requires the best of our strength, when our faculties are in their prime, and especially to make the work more difficult by a longer continuance in sin, and, laying up treasures of guilt in the conscience, to add to the burdens of age and make them much heavier - Matthew Henry

9-10 Perception is not reality, wanting something to be true does not make it so, and so the preacher give what he knows to be true, that which is the representation of what actually is, and happened, and will be. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. We can say many things, and the more words we use does not guarantee a greater value, make the exposition understandable. What God has said is of ultimate value to be understood. His word is His integrity.

…15 From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.… 2 Timothy 3: 15-17

1 Of David. I give You thanks with all my heart; before the gods I sing Your praises. 2 I will bow down toward Your holy temple and give thanks to Your name for Your loving devotion and Your faithfulness; You have exalted Your name and Your word above all else. 3 On the day I called, You answered me; You emboldened me and strengthened my soul.… Psalm 138: 1-3

11-12 Goads and nails, a goad is pastoral reference for a rural or shepherding people; it is a sharpened stick that you use to drive cattle. The words, he is telling us, are to provoke us, to wake us up, change our direction, get our attention. Like something nailed, they are fixed, not to be moved, and we should beware of anything outside of these. Everything must be brought into the light of God's word, tested by that fire. You can find a host of books out there, of ideas, and many jump upon the bandwagon of self help, copy and paste attached to a well known name, but it is vanity when compared to the Word of God.

13-14 The end of the matter - All will stand before a righteous judge one day.

…21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He wishes. 22 Furthermore, the Father judges no one, but has assigned all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.… John 5: 21-23

Thursday, August 6, 2020

#948 Ecclesiastes 11 Shutting Down

Cast your bread upon the waters,
for you will find it after many days.
2 Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,
for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.
3 If the clouds are full of rain,
they empty themselves on the earth,
and if a tree falls to the south or to the north,
in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
4 He who observes the wind will not sow,
and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

5 As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

6 In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

7 Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.

8 So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.

9 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 the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

10 Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity. Ecclesiastes 11 ESV

Ecclesiastes 11

1-4 Cast your bread upon the waters - When I first read this it was confusing, but in the context of the other 3 verses it seems to be about business and agriculture in a language or picture more familiar to the Middle East and a culture long past. Commentators have suggested that this is a picture of exporting, taking your product and sending it by ship to other markets. This is a speculative venture, so one most view it in such a sense, not looking at immediate returns, and calculating the risk involved. Storms could come, ships may sink, living requires that we are prepared for death, though uncertain of when he comes. Others have seen in this the act of helping the needy. This also must be done without expectation of immediate return, yet also with discernment, for we are told to help the poor but also that he who does not work shall not eat. The Bible has directed us to help the fatherless and widows, and it has also put laws in place for their protection against those that would take advantage of their situation. We know their are sex traffickers that prey on the poor, and the pharisees were guilty of cheating widows out of their land, when they were supposed to be their champions for justice instead.

…26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart and his religion is worthless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1: 26-27

He goes on with cause and effect about clouds and rain, fallen trees, but as much as we are to consider these things, they should not leave us paralyzed. If you do not sow because of the wind, you will never have a harvest. If you will not reap because of the distant clouds then you will waste time and your crop could also be lost. I am always looking for the perfect day to go fishing, but sometimes those don't fall on my day off. There is a science that one should pay attention to, but sometimes the "perfect" day changes because of weather or other demands, and so I need to adapt. If I fished for a living, then there would be few things that kept me off the water, but uncertainty of what may happen or could happen should not be the decider. Plan for contingencies, but don't hibernate for fear of them. I drive to work every day, and last year 38,000 people in my country died in car accidents, over a million were injured in car accidents, many of whom were hospitalized or suffered permanent damage, and so I take precautions: I have good tread on my tires, a reliable car, I don't text and drive, but I can't control all the other cars and trucks around me. I can't control the weather, and I have no crystal ball, but I have to work and feed my family, nature demands calories. 

“If we keep on observing circumstances, instead of trusting God, we shall be guilty of disobedience. God bids me sow: I do not sow, because the wind would blow some of my seed away. God bids me reap: I do not reap, because there is a black cloud there, and before I can house the harvest, some of it may be spoiled. I may say what I like; but I am guilty of disobedience.” (Spurgeon)

iii. Spurgeon went on in that sermon (Sowing in the Wind, Reaping Under Clouds) to describe other ways that this attitude sins against God and man. To observe circumstances instead of trusting God shows unbelief, rebellion, foolish fear, and idleness.

5 Their are many things under the sun that we do not know of or things we observe yet do not fully understand. This should be humbling enough and any attempt to look beyond that should destroy all pride, diminish the ego, and cause a holy reverence for the God, Who created all things.

…7 Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” 9“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.… John 3: 7-9

6 Work suited for morning and also the diligence of night. If the crop fails then like the woman of Proverbs 31, she was diverse. She would have her vineyards but also the ability to sell and trade what she made with her hands.

7-10 Don't live only in the light of youth, know that age comes, darkness comes, judgment comes, and it is vain to trust in what does not last.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

#947 Ecclesiastes 10 Another Snake In The Wall

Dead flies make the perfumer's ointment give off a stench;
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
2 A wise man's heart inclines him to the right,
but a fool's heart to the left.
3 Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense,
and he says to everyone that he is a fool.
4 If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place,
for calmness will lay great offenses to rest.

5 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as it were an error proceeding from the ruler: 6 folly is set in many high places, and the rich sit in a low place. 7 I have seen slaves on horses, and princes walking on the ground like slaves.

8 He who digs a pit will fall into it,
and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall.
9 He who quarries stones is hurt by them,
and he who splits logs is endangered by them.
10 If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge,
he must use more strength,
but wisdom helps one to succeed.
11 If the serpent bites before it is charmed,
there is no advantage to the charmer.

12 The words of a wise man's mouth win him favor,
but the lips of a fool consume him.
13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness,
and the end of his talk is evil madness.
14 A fool multiplies words,
though no man knows what is to be,
and who can tell him what will be after him?
15 The toil of a fool wearies him,
for he does not know the way to the city.

16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
and your princes feast in the morning!
17 Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of the nobility,
and your princes feast at the proper time,
for strength, and not for drunkenness!
18 Through sloth the roof sinks in,
and through indolence the house leaks.
19 Bread is made for laughter,
and wine gladdens life,
and money answers everything.
20 Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king,
nor in your bedroom curse the rich,
for a bird of the air will carry your voice,
or some winged creature tell the matter. Ecclesiastes 10 ESV

Ecclesiastes 10

1 The most pure thing can be ruined by something very small. You can fall from hero to zero in a single move. Think of something so precious as a perfume, that someone took great care in removing extracts from flowers, oils of frankincense, paid large sums to insure they got the choicest product, grown in the best regions and then processed under the most pristine conditions possible. If only men handled the word of God in such a way, if only we protected the gospel from the contaminants of our folly.  

…7 You were running so well. Who has obstructed you from obeying the truth? 8 Such persuasion does not come from the One who calls you. 9 A little leaven works through the whole batch of dough.… Galatians 5: 7-9

2-3 A fool's actions define him; they announce him.

4-7 Stay calm, stay at your job, do not abandon your post. It is a sad thing, but it is more true than not that those who would seem the best leaders are often overlooked, and fools stand in their place. The one with integrity is often the servant to the one without wisdom. Fools tend to promote like; we call it corporate inbreeding. They like flatterers and are easily convinced by them, but nature can only stomach it for so long, can bare their weight only to a point, and then she vomits them out.

8-10 The pit digger may fall into his own trap. The one who tears at his neighbor's boundary may find something waiting for him inside. 

Alexander Maclaren made a spiritual application of the idea, whoever breaks through a wall will be bitten by a serpent: “Whoso pulls down the wall of temperance, a serpent will bite him. Trembling hands, broken constitutions, ruined reputations, vanished ambitions, wasted lives, poverty, shame, and enfeebled will, death – these are the serpents that bite, in many cases, the transgressor.”

Someone who is lazy and foolish will make more work for himself because he wouldn't take the time to prep his blade. Planning, counting the cost, these are necessary to good management.

11-15 It is often better to leave the snake alone than to try and charm it. A babbler often lets out harmful information before he can be charmed or trained, and he is more dangerous than the snake. 

No man knows what is to be - This is a change in tone, realization perhaps, from only under the sun,a man may think that their is nothing after, but he cannot claim this for certainty. By scientific method he may see a corpse, get no response, burn it or bury it, but though their be no life left within it, yet he cannot speak of what's to be. Now, even under the sun, there is no great excuse for saying there is nothing after or what is after, for under this ball of fire, men cannot see what brought it all into being, nor can they know what is not revealed.

“In a fine note of sarcasm, this proverb says that a person may be so involved in arguing about the universe that he misses what the ordinary person is concerned about, namely, finding the way home.” (Wright)

iii. “To be ever learning, never arriving, as 2 Timothy 3:7 portrays some people, is to be a trifler who contrives to get lost on even the straightest way to the city. That is folly without even the excuse of ignorance.” (Kidner)

16-17 Princes are often raised in comfort and luxury that they do not want disturbed by duty and responsibility. They are always feasting and drunk at the most inappropriate times. The city is burning and they are playing their violins. 

18-20 Laziness causes poor conditions. Be thankful for what you have and take care of it. Cursing the king will bring you no good, only envy and enmity. Pray that he is blessed with wisdom, otherwise you waste precious time and fuel on things outside your control. 

Monday, August 3, 2020

#946 Ecclesiastes 9 Swift or Strong

But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. 2 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. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4 But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.
Enjoy Life with the One You Love

7 Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.

8 Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.

9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
Wisdom Better Than Folly

11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. 12 For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.

13 I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. 14 There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. 15 But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16 But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man's wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.

17 The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good. Ecclesiastes 9 ESV

Ecclesiastes 9

1-6 Everyone is going to die, no matter what their belief system, whether they were good by human standard or evil, compared to everyone else under the sun. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil. We all share this in common whether we acknowledge it or not.

…9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure—who can understand it? 10 I, the LORD, search the heart; I test the mind to reward a man according to his way, by what his deeds deserve. 11 Like a partridge hatching eggs it did not lay is the man who makes a fortune unjustly. In the middle of his days his riches will desert him, and in the end he will be the fool.”… Jeremiah 17: 9-11

Fall of man

FoM Part 2

7-10 There is such sweet grace and blessing found at a table with loved ones, even if the world is hostile outside, we can have peace within.

The most despicable living man's state, is preferable to that of the most noble who have died impenitent. Solomon exhorts the wise and pious to cheerful confidence in God, whatever their condition in life. The meanest morsel, coming from their Father's love, in answer to prayer, will have a peculiar relish. Not that we may set our hearts upon the delights of sense, but what God has given us we may use with wisdom. The joy here described, is the gladness of heart that springs from a sense of the Divine favour. This is the world of service, that to come is the world of recompence. All in their stations, may find some work to do. And above all, sinners have the salvation of their souls to seek after, believers have to prove their faith, adorn the gospel, glorify God, and serve their generation. - Matthew Henry

11-12 We don't know our time, no man knows the hour or day of Christ return, and so none should flaunt themselves or suppose that once they see a certain thing transpire then they will come to wisdom. If you do not embrace her now; you will scorn her then, unless that is your appointed time. 

…14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly to the end the assurance we had at first. 15 As it has been said: “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as you did in the rebellion.” 16 For who were the ones who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?… Hebrews 3: 14-16

…6 Since, then, it remains for some to enter His rest, and since those who formerly heard the good news did not enter because of their disobedience, 7 God again designated a certain day as “Today,” when a long time later He spoke through David as was just stated: “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.… Hebrews 4:6-8

13-18 Even though wisdom saves the city she is quickly forgotten. The man's name that knew her and put to practice what she said, is not here recorded. You can tell men the truth, but if it is not what they want to hear, or against what they would rather justify, they will hate you for what could have freed them.

A man may, by his wisdom, bring to pass that which he could never do by his strength. If God be for us, who can be against us, or stand before us? Solomon observes the power of wisdom, though it may labour under outward disadvantages. How forcible are right words! But wise and good men must often content themselves with the satisfaction of having done good, or, at least, endeavoured to do it, when they cannot do the good they would, nor have the praise they should. How many of the good gifts, both of nature and Providence, does one sinner destroy and make waste! He who destroys his own soul destroys much good. One sinner may draw many into his destroying ways. See who are the friends and enemies of a kingdom or a family, if one saint does much good, and one sinner destroys much good. - Matthew Henry

Sunday, August 2, 2020

#945 Ecclesiastes 8 Who Is

Who is like the wise?
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
A man's wisdom makes his face shine,
and the hardness of his face is changed.

2 I say: Keep the king's command, because of God's oath to him. 3 Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. 4 For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. 6 For there is a time and a way for everything, although man's trouble lies heavy on him. 7 For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? 8 No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. 9 All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.
Those Who Fear God Will Do Well

10 Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. 11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
Man Cannot Know God's Ways

14 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.

16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one's eyes see sleep, 17 then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out. Ecclesiastes 8 ESV

Ecclesiastes 8

1 Who is like the wise - The wise become gentle, Father forgive them for they know not what they do. They speak truth without regard of reward; it is blessing enough. The martyr Stephen preached a wonderful message, and received a stoning for it, but his last words were, "hold not this sin against them. 

2-9 God puts kings and governments over people to protect from the evil doer, to provide for those who would lead a quiet and peaceful existence. We did not want God, so why are we so quick to leave the presence of kings, to berate them. They have the power here to take life, so for that reason under the sun, that thing called fear, take care how you act before the king. Be careful where you stand lest you fall.

This also makes us reflect on our obedience to God as the Great King. “If he be a King, then it is a solemn hazard to your soul if you come short of the least of his commandments. Remember that one treason makes a traitor; one leak sinks a ship; one fly spoils the whole box of ointment. He that bought us with his blood deserves to be obeyed in all things with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and strength.” (Spurgeon)

…18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to listen to you rather than God. 20 For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”… Acts 4:19

10-15 Men see wicked people doing well, or living long lives, improving their position by evil methods, taking what they should not, and so men see evil as good means. Why aren't they punished immediately, and the mind set upon prosperity forgets the lessons of Job, forgets that the prophets, those who truly loved and spoke for God, were hated by men, yet God was pleased with them. This will pain a lot of minds, but my doing well here, under the sun, as far as you call well, is no proof of God's blessing. Blessed are ye when men revile you, persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely. Whether the throne or the wheel chair, God is looking at my heart, and I am completely dependent upon His mercy to make it acceptable before Him. Here the righteous often receive the reward that we would expect to be reserved for the wicked, but in eternity they would only know this as hell, and the wicked would miss their worst day under the sun.

16-17 Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out - Many have held up a model, say they know how the universe was made, some claim to know the goings on outside of the place of time and space, yet they understand so little under the sun. 

Friday, July 31, 2020

#944 Ecclesiastes 7 Bonum Nomen

A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression drives the wise into madness,
and a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the heart of fools.
10 Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who see the sun.
12 For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
13 Consider the work of God:
who can make straight what he has made crooked?

14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.

15 In my vain life I have seen everything. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing. 16 Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them.

19 Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.

20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.

21 Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. 22 Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.

23 All this I have tested by wisdom. I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24 That which has been is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out?

25 I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness. 26 And I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. 27 Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things— 28 which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found. 29 See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes. Ecclesiastes 7 ESV

Ecclesiastes 7


Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
The Beatitudes

2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 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. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5 ESV

13-14 We look as far as we can under the sun, and the thought of God's predetermined rule causes some men to disavow the reality of their origin, or look to themselves for answers. Noah chose rather to submit and build for 120 years, mocked and derided by the whole of the earth at that time. Faith was demonstrated in his obedience, rather than a nihilistic contention of being placed at odds against the world, or forsaking instruction because he could not see the world after. The theme of "under the sun",  "chasing the wind", "vanity", continues in the thoughts of the preacher. He is not shying from the questions that come to his mind, prosperity or trial, God is in control, be joyful, be considerate. 

…8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10 That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.… 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10

15-18 Look again, under the sun, and men must confess, and here also choose, the righteous sometimes die for being so, and the liar is often exalted in a fallen world. What is the motivation in always being upright, telling the truth, when others believe the end justifies the means? If the end is not a right relationship with God, the glory and honor of the Creator, then it is only self righteousness or situational ethics, and only to a perceivable end. 

…3 For the vision awaits an appointed time; it testifies of the end and does not lie. Though it lingers, wait for it, since it will surely come and not delay. 4 Look at the proud one; his soul is not upright— but the righteous will live by his faith— 5 and wealth indeed betrays him. He is an arrogant man never at rest. He enlarges his appetite like Sheol, and like Death, he is never satisfied. He gathers all the nations to himself and collects all the peoples as his own.… Habakkuk 2: 3-5


9 What then? Are we any better? Not at all. For we have already made the charge that Jews and Greeks alike are all under sin. 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one. 11 There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.… Romans 3: 9-11

21-22 Don't be so easily offended, especially considering that you have been cause for offence yourself. Think of a time you have wronged someone and they have forgiven you. If you are a Christian then the cross is all the motivation you should ever need. A gentlemen that I worked with once made a comment on social media about someone in high standing in the company. It was crass, and those that worked for the CEO immediately reacted, and were like those, "quick to shed blood", but he considered it and the contribution this man makes to the business, and he said, "I'm sure worse things have been said about me." He kept a good employee, and he showed mercy, which helped me remember to do the same. Satisfying my ego should never come into play.

13 For judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. 14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?  James 2: 13-14


“The honest admission of failure to find wisdom – of watching it in fact recede with every step one takes, discovering that none of our soundings ever gets to the bottom of things – this is, if not the beginning of wisdom, a good path to that beginning.” (Kidner)

b. I applied my heart to know, to search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things: Given his under the sun premise, his meaningless life could not be made meaningful by the attainment of wisdom. D. Guzik

13 As a fair exchange, I ask you as my children: Open wide your hearts also. 14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership can righteousness have with wickedness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?… 2 Corinthians 6: 13-15

“His fruitless search for a woman he could trust may tell us as much about him and his approach, as about any of his acquaintances.” (Kidner)

ii. “Such as he knew her to be in Oriental courts and homes, denied her proper position, degraded, uneducated, all natural affections crushed or underdeveloped, the plaything of her lord, to be flung aside at any moment. It is not surprising that Koheleth’s impression of the female sex should be unfavorable.” (Deane)

iii. “He found that a harem did not provide the appropriate companion for man. How much better he would have been with one good wife, such as he speaks of in Ecclesiastes 9:9 and Proverbs 31!” (Wright)

Thursday, July 30, 2020

#943 Ecclesiastes 6 Sun Dried Ravioli

There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: 2 a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous evil. 3 If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life's good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. 5 Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he. 6 Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to the one place?

7 All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied. 8 For what advantage has the wise man over the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living? 9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

10 Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he. 11 The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man? 12 For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun? Ecclesiastes 6 ESV

Ecclesiastes 6

1-9 What good is great wealth without contentment? I have seen people have everything that I thought should make a man happy, but those around him enjoyed it more than he. Extended years upon this chasing after the wind, only makes the soul more desperate, begging for rest.

10-12 All the final questions are answered in God. It all becomes clear in Christ. You cannot mediate for yourself, stand before a Holy God. Yours are only words; His word is life. He knows your days and your frailty; God knows what is best for His creation.

…13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He knows our frame; He is mindful that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass—he blooms like a flower of the field;… Psalm 103: 13-15

…32 For He is not a man like me, that I can answer Him, that we can take each other to court. 33 Nor is there a mediator between us, to lay his hand upon us both. 34 Let Him remove His rod from me, so that His terror will no longer frighten me.… Job 9: 32-34

…5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all— the testimony that was given at just the right time. 7 For this reason I was appointed as a herald, an apostle, and a faithful and true teacher of the Gentiles. I am telling the truth; I am not lying about anything.… 1 Timothy 2: 5-7