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September 27, 2022

Ecclesiastes Chapter 5 Verses 6 & 7 – Talk Is Cheap!

Today Solomon presses on in his preaching against making false promises before God

Ecc 5:6  Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved.

Ecc 5:7  Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead.

Truer words were never spoken, talk is indeed cheap.  People can run their mouths all day long and have nothing to show for it.  Even Plato the Pagan philosopher was in agreement on this when he said “As empty vessels make the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest blabbers”

While this is applicable in a day to day sense through our interactions with others, going back to what Solomon said, it is a far more dangerous offense to make false and empty promises to God.  

Jesus also had a very important insight on what comes out of our mouths and why it is best to keep them shut when He said in Matthew 15:11 “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”

Our mouths are what get us into trouble, whether it is with others or in this case, with God, so best to sit back and observe rather than mouth off.  

September 26, 2022

Ecclesiastes Chapter 5 v4-5 — Don’t Make False Promises To God!

Another sobering reminder from Solomon on being careful what we promise to God.  When we hit bad times in life, our mouths can write checks that our body’s can’t cash.

I don’t know about you, but I can personally attest to this, where I have gotten so tripped up by some kind of calamity, for me it was a health issue, that I started quietly making rash promises to God that I would be unable to keep.

If that is something you can relate to, today’s scripture is something we should take note of:

Ecc 5:4  When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow.

Ecc 5:5  It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.

To summarize, God has no patience in dealing with fools, we can’t file for bankruptcy with God, so as Solomon aptly points out, it is best to not make a rash promise to God that we cannot keep.

While this shows us God’s unbending fidelity to His laws, it should also be a big wake up call to us too, like with sin; as Paul tells us, “the wages of sin is death”

Given the original sin that we are borne with, we have piled up some pretty heavy wages of sin, and no good deeds that we do in this life is going to balance out the scales.  Thankfully, we are reminded that the One Person that does take away our sin is God’s Son, Jesus, whom He sent into the world to take away the debts that our sins of ramped up.

Broken promises with crack in concrete with words

September 23, 2022

Ecclesiastes 5:3 – Finding Balance In Our Lives

Harmony, balance and simplicity concept. A stone pyramid on the background of river water. Simple poise pebbles, rock zen sculpture, a tower from river stones

Today’s Word deliver some important reminders for us in our speech, and also just something we can relate to in general. 

Ecc 5:3  Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.

If you have ever gotten caught up in a job or a drama, or just some kind of stimulus that eats up so much of the day, there’s a good chance that whatever that “thing” is, it ends up in our dreams too.  

Personally, I have worked long hours during some kind of emergency, and then when I finally get to sleep, I don’t escape from it when I close my eyes, because the lingering adrenaline pops up in my dreams.  

I don’t think Solomon is telling us not to be active, but to approach life in a measured way, and not over obsess about things that God ultimately has control over.

The second half of today’s verse “too many words make you a fool” is another bullseye, we all know that one person who posts too much on social media, in fact, sometimes we have found ourselves being that chatterbox.   Like the saying goes, “sometimes less is more”

We can’t put our foot in our mouths if you don’t open our mouths.  Instead of constantly reacting to all the noise that is around us with more noise, it is often best to just sit back and quietly observe rather than spouting off, trying to one up someone else with a “hot take” on whatever the news of the day is.

 

September 22, 2022

Ecclesiastes 5 Study – Do Not Make Brazen Promises Before God

Solomon hits us with an important reminder not to make rash promises before God.  If we have ever been in a bad spot, it is very easy for us to make promises that we’ll never been able to keep.  It’s like in the movie Stand By Me when Vern gets spooked in the woods and begins to babble on with false and desperate promises to God about how he’ll never swear again.  Solomon’s words today remind us not to approach God’s throne foolishly:

Ecc 5:1  As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.

Ecc 5:2  Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.

This is actually a good reminder to us to have a better understanding of God, knowing who He is, what He delights in and what He detests.  That is all laid out for us in the Bible.  the Bible is God’s revelation of Himself for man to understand.  When we know God better, we have a more sound understanding on how to approach Him, which should be often.  Not just living our worldly lives, and then when bad times hit, only then approaching God with empty promises.  the Bible today tells us that mindless offerings to God are evil and furthermore, that God us up there and we are down here.  We don’t approach our superiors here on earth disrespectfully, nor should we approach our ultimate superior, our Creator foolishly….so the long and the short of today’s devotion, know who God is, and the best way to do that is to read the Bible that was authored by God for man to better know who God is.

September 20, 2022

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 — 2 Are Better Than 1

In this digital age, it is really all about self, and that is something we should be aware of.  It is easy to get lost in our smart phones, whether it is a video game, or watching a movie on our iPad.  The technological era has made it very easy to get swallowed up in satisfying our own personal desires.  Solomon puts that in check today though as he points out the weaknesses of a person who is in constant solitude:

Ecc 4:9  Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.

Ecc 4:10  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

Ecc 4:11  Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?

Ecc 4:12  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

So Solomon reminds us that groups of people can build one another up, there’s nothing more comforting that when we are going through dark times, and we have someone to lean on.  Groups of people can help other succeed, survive, defend and even conquer.  It also makes a great case for marriage where spouses can lean upon one another for strength and protection.  

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September 19, 2022

Ecclesiastes Study – The Vanity Of Solitude

Solomon’s thoughts give us some insight on why we should enjoy those closest to us, here Solomon blasts the one who chooses not to have anyone close to him, in other words, the greedy miser who wants to hoard everything to themselves:  

Ecc 4:7  Then I looked again at vanity under the sun.

Ecc 4:8  There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, “And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?” This too is vanity and it is a grievous task.

That’s a great question Solomon is asking here.  What is the point of living on an island unto yourself and sacrificing our time to work day and night when no one else is going to benefit from it?  The man of solitude has no one to pass his assets onto, no siblings and no kids, so  Solomon asks, what is the point?!  Indeed, a frustrating situation because we can’t take any of that money, wealth and assets with us when we die!  

Something to ponder on this week ahead, let’s make sure we spend our time in fellowship with our family and friends, and not be like the man of solitude that Solomon portrays today.  

September 15, 2022

Ecclesiastes 4:4 – Jealousy Should *NOT* Be What Motivates Us

Solomon cuts to the heart of the matter in today’s reading on what’s drives people to succeed:  

Ecc 4:4  Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. 

The reality here is that we see someone else doing well, or better than we are, it triggers our insecurities and assaults our stubborn pride, when someone shows up with a nicer car, we immediately think that their success is going to make us look bad, so in turn we go out and buy a bigger car, because we have to one up our neighbor.

This is all sinful behavior, we are coveting or wanting to possess something that we don’t have…that’s actually one of the Ten Commandments that we are breaking when we do that, when God tells us back in Exodus you should not covet your neighbors wife, their servant, their house or donkey, we are breaking God’s law when we are envious of those around us.  

Solomon noted that the world is driven by envy, just as it is today; and it was like chasing the wind, or pointless, because we work day and night to make money and buy all this stuff, but what good is it in the scope of eternity?  We can’t take it with us when we die, our graves, nice cars and clunkers, are still the same size.

So next time we see someone roll in with a new car or the latest gadget, we should remember that the envy that we might feel is actually a violation of one of the Ten Commandments and like Solomon said, it is pointless anyhow!  All this stuff expires anyway, but on the bright side, God’s kingdom is eternal…better to obey His Word than our own feelings that will only trip us up in more sin. 

 

September 14, 2022

Ecclesiastes 4 — Solomon On The Evils Under The Sun

As we start out Ecclesiastes Chapter 4, we note that this section of scripture is entitled “evil under the sun”. These are the various evils in the world that Solomon observed throughout the course of his life, 

Ecc 4:1  Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless.

Not much has changed since then, there are still oppressive governments now that wastefully spend at the top while tax payers have to give half of their income up.  The same can be said about modern day corporations and banks.  Unless you are in the top rung of the food chain, you pretty much have to do what you’re told.  

In the following verses, Solomon laments the evils of the world and concludes that some folks are better off not even being born:

Ecc 4:2  So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living.

Ecc 4:3  But most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. For they have not seen all the evil that is done under the sun.

In the western world we live in, the oppression probably isn’t as extreme, but if we think back to the Jews of the holocaust that happened not even 100 years ago, surely many of those poor souls had that thought, what if I had never been born.

As we have learned in previous verses, man is inherently evil, whether it was in the time of Solomon from 700 BC, or even the evil dictatorships that flourish in other parts of the world today, man is always trying to murder other men and make them suffer.  

Even us, while we may not have committed murderous actions, we have likely had murderous thoughts at one point or another.  That is the beauty of the Gospel message, it opens up our eyes to our sin, and teaches us to hate our sinful ways and try and be more like Christ.  All Glory to Him.

September 8, 2022

Ecc 3:17 In due season God will judge everyone, both good & bad

Living in a fallen world where it seems like good things happen to bad people can be frustrating. 

It’s even more exaggerated with social media where we have a window into the lives of others, and it seems like wicked people are often rewarded for their bad behavior. 

On the other hand living a righteous, low-key and humble life may seem burdensome at times, especially in a broken world where it seems like evil flourishes.  Today’s verse puts all of that in check though:

Ecc 3:17  I said to myself, “In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds.”

God has appointed a time for everything as learned from our earlier verses, a time for love, a time for hate…

Today’s scripture also shows us that God has also made a time where all accounts will be settled, both for the good and for the evil. 

It might not happen the way we want it to, but truth be told, we have no say in the matter, God who is infinitely wiser than we are, will settle all these accounts on God’s on time, not ours.  

September 7, 2022

Ecclesiastes 3:15 – The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Today’s Ecclesiastes verse really puts our high views that we hold of ourselves in check, man in his extreme hubris, is incredibly self absorbed, the times we are living in right now is very me-myself-and-i focused, thinking that we have this profound influence on the future of the universe,  but Solomon reminds us that God reigns supreme:

Ecc 3:15  What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.

IT’s like the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  In other words, the events that seem to be brand new around us now, actually happened already.  Think along the lines of wars, that’s definitely one thing that has been consistent throughout humanity, man fighting with himself and murdering one another.  We can remotely launch drone strikes with the push of a button, but the end result is no different than the different battles that have spanned the expanses of time since the earth was created.  Man is inherently evil thank to the curse of Adam, this may seem like a dark worldview, but that doesn’t make the fact of humanities inherent evil, any less true.

However, all of this is to further glorify God’s name.  Man is born broken, but God shines the light in our hearts that makes us realize how broken we are and bring us into Christ’s Gospel.  The realization that nothing we can bring to the table can take away the debt that our sins pile up over the years.  The only thing that takes that sin away completely is Christ’s death on the cross.  God loved us so much that He sent His very best to die for us so that we can be made right, and have fellowship with Him in the life that comes after this one.  

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