Thursday, July 28, 2022

            Ecclesiastes is often attributed to Solomon.  The opening verse simply says that what follows are “the words of the Teacher, son of David, king Jerusalem.”  While Solomon is not specifically named, assuming him to be the teacher is a reasonable conclusion.  This book is part of the Bible’s collection of “wisdom literature.”  It opens with a rather frustrating or discouraging message.  “Meaningless!  Meaningless! says the Teacher.  Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).  While this book opens on a down note, it ends on a high one.  We read, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).  We might conclude that a meaningless life or situation can find purpose and meaning when it is turned over to the Lord for His wisdom and guidance.  Solomon’s own life was marked by moments of great faith and discernment and moments of great disappointment and disobedience.  If you find yourself struggling in a meaningless place or time, turn to the Lord and walk with Him.  We do not have to wallow in a meaningless place or state.
            Twice in Ecclesiastes 12, we are told to “remember” the Lord.  We are not to lose sight of Him in the days of youth or even when we reach a mature age.  We are to know Him, see Him, walk with Him and lean upon Him.  Often, when we lose sight of God, life can be reduced to a state of meaninglessness.  Nothing seems to be right or to work out the right way.  Human efforts and ways alone can usually end in frustration.  Solomon wrote in 2:11, “Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”  These words remind us of Jesus’ admonition to lay up treasures in heaven and not to make the things of this earth and this life the end-all and be-all of our existence.  Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). Jesus is reminding us to live always in view of eternity.  We are to know that there is much more to life than what we can see, hear, feel or experience.
            Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a brief lesson on time.  Most of us recall the familiar refrain of “a time to...”  The message is life moves rapidly—almost like a swift moving river that can transport a raft or canoe speedily through the waterways.  Life changes quickly—almost like the scenery outside your windshield on a long interstate drive.  We are to navigate life’s rapidity and quickness with the Lord as our guide and master.  In Ecclesiastes 5, we discover this amazing statement, “therefore stand in awe of God” (5:7b).  And we are to live in awe of God and to stand in amazement and wonder of who He is and what He can do.  How much of your day is spent in awe of God?  Are you in wonder of His blessings and provisions in life?  Scripture calls us to give both awe and adoration to the Lord God. 
            You could read Ecclesiastes rather easily and briefly.  The words of the Teacher challenge our thinking and how we have chosen to live.  As you read this book, take the words of 7:13 to heart and “consider what God has done.”  Consider indeed, and even count up the ways God has blessed you or provided for you.  The Teacher came to learn, recognize and realize that God is sufficient for us.  “This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes” (7:29).  True wisdom lies in looking less at the schemes of the world and more at the Lord and His ways.  Have a great Thursday!  Remember to join us for Pies and Praise in the Pines this coming Sunday at 6:00pm at our Midway location at the picnic shelters.    

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