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Tag Archives: Ecclesiastes

Time and Place

“For everything there is a  season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” Ecc 3:1

It is amazing that God ordained all things to happen inside his timing and will.  He set up the rules and order of this world and set all things in there place.  God has, as Ecclesiastes 3 says, given everything a season and a time.

What does this mean for our lives though?

Has God so controlled our lives and actions that we have no freedom?

No!  Rather God has placed markers and “signs” and given us his word that we might understand that every action, desire, and outcome has a place.  No thing that happens to us is ever out of Gods control, and we need not fear finding ourselves in a situation that He has not planned.

Solomon uses quite a few “this/that” statements to show the control and placement of things in this world.  These few verses are easy to both over and under spiritualize, however they are powerful statements of Gods control and plan for our world and lives.

Born and Die (V.2)

Solomon starts out slow and easy by just letting us know that God has ordained a time for our birth and our death.  No accidents occur in Gods world.  No one has been born or ever will be born that God did not know about first.  Just as know one has been born a surprise to God no one has died as a surprise to God.  We enter and exit this world as a planned creation of God, and he watches out for us throughout it all. (Matt 10:29)

Break Down and Build Up (V.3)

Christ is referred to as the potter (Isa 64:8) and we the clay.  If you ever watch a potter throw a clay pot it is fascinating to watch.  Sometimes after working on a pot and building it up for hours a flaw might be found in the construction.  If there is a fault found a potter doesn’t try to fix that hole or just put clay over it, instead he breaks down the work he has done back into a pile so that he can start fresh.

As the clay, solomon points to the fact that there are God ordained times of building where we might rise as leaders and teachers, however because of our own flawed nature when we get out of sync with God or prideful there is also a God ordained time of breaking down.

Silence and Speech (V.7)

It is ordained through the discernment of the Holy Spirit, and through the reading of the Bible the knowledge of when to speak.  There are times that we are called as Christians to speak up and say what God has taught us. (David and Goliath being a good Old Testament Example) However, there are also times that God has given us the wisdom to stay silent.

Most of us, unfortunately, have a case of the opposites.  When someone is running down our God or God is calling us to share we stay silent.  When someone is asking us about gossip or we have opinions we speak.  God has called us to seek out the times when he has called us to speech and silence.  Pray only that He gives us the wisdom to know the difference.

War and Peace (V.8)

Similare to speech and silence it can be hard to discern which of these God has ordained in a specific situation.  As humans we tend to go to war over little things and keep the peace when barbarians are at the gate.

Understand,  God has given us the call to war as a tool to be used.  There is nothing wrong with standing your ground and holding a position you believe.  We are called however to make sure to only use that tool when it is appropriate.

Romans says it best like this “in as much as it is up to you, live at peace with all men” (Rm 12:18)  This is a call to use discernment.  A call to say that if its not a must issue than choose peace.  However, if it is against the Bible or Gods authority ….prepare for war.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2016 in Ecclesiastes, Uncategorized

 

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Bursting the Bubble of Wealth

“I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that i must leave it to the man who will come after me.”  -Ecc 2:18

Wealth is an amazing thing.  I was blessed to grow up in a home that while not “wealthy” certainly provided me with a life of ease.  I didn’t have to work to put food on the table, my parents didn’t take my birthday money for gas money, and I always had presents under the tree at Christmas.  I lived a blessed life.

However, there are those who had much more money than I.  Families and people who could have bought and sold all that I had twenty times over and never made a dent in there money.  This also is a blessing.  How then can Solomon find any fault or struggle in the gaining of money and wealth?

Solomon, who was one of the richest men who ever lived, says that even the accumulation of wealth is ultimately vanity and striving after the wind.  He uses these three points to show how living a life that is about money and wealth is a life empty of any reason to live.

  1.  Ultimately we don’t get to Keep It

“I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that i must leave it to the man who will come after me.” -Ecc 2:18

Solomon begins by simply recognizing the inevitability of his own demise.  Solomon knows he will die.  Sooner or later his life is going to come to an end and everything he has ever owned will pass on to his relations.  He will no longer own any of his stuff and he will have no say over how it is spent. Solomon will have worked his whole life only to give his money to those who didn’t earn it.

Ultimately that is what will happen to all of our wealth.  We can only enjoy it while we are here on this earth.  We can use it for good or evil.  We can use it all or nothing.  The only thing we can’t do is take it with us. 

2.    Ultimately we cannot Protect It

“and who knows  whether he will be wise or a fool?  Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun.” -Ecc 2:19

Solomon not only recognizes that one day he will die, but also that when he goes his idiot kids are gonna get everything.  Solomon realized there is no way to be sure that his kids spend his money well.

There is a difference that has been pointed out between being wealthy and being rich.  I can never remember which is which, but the basics are “a wealthy person made there money,  a rich person inherits it”.  Our world is filled with examples of people who ran into this problem. A hard working father/mother builds up a fortune only to see there children with no morals or work ethic tear that fortune down.

Solomon points out to us in these verses the futility of living for money.  Even if you were to get all you could hope, and are ok with passing it on when you die.  You do not get to decide what is done with it once you are gone.  Whoever gets your stuff gets to decide how to use your money.

3.    Ultimately we cannot Enjoy It.

” What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun?  For all his days are full of sorrow…”  Ecc 2:22-23a

Solomon continues as he points out one simple truth that we all understand even if we don’t say.  The more wealth you have, the more worry of loosing wealth.  Solomon acknowledges that all his work and toil to attain such wealth has caused his heart nothing but “sorrow and vexation”.  When you work for wealth you heart is never satisfied.

The sad truth of wealth is that no person if they set wealth and riches as there goal ever said “now I have enough“.  They continue to work and worry and snuggle to get more and more always believing that the next hundred or next thousand will satisfy. Solomon is trying to show us early in life that the only thing that satisfies our desires is Christ/God.

“For apart from Him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?  For to the one who pleases Him, God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. ” Ecc 2:25-26

In the last few posts we have talked about Solomon’s frustrations with life.  We have “burst the bubble” of many vanity that plague the human race.  However the ultimate point is summed up in these last two verse.  All pleasure and joy and good things are given to those who strive after Him.  To those who are not believer he has given the ultimately futile task of gathering and collecting.  I pray that anyone reading this finds there satisfaction in God, and not look for it in the business of collecting.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2016 in Ecclesiastes, Uncategorized

 

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Bursting the Bubble of Wisdom

“And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven” Ecc 1:13a

Before i begin to describe what Solomon has to say on the subject of wisdom and its uselessness, I feel i should take at least a second to explain the title of my blog.  In studying the book of Ecclesiastes I was struck by a description of vanity that was given by Waren Wiersbe:

“It is whatever is left when you pop a soap bubble.”

So as we look into the first few chapters of Ecclesiastes we should be looking for those things that remain after Solomon bursts a few soap bubbles.

Solomon started out his final book on wisdom describing the monotonous way that life seems to progress.  Nothing new happens and everything just cycles back to where it came from only to cycle back there again.  It is strikingly similar to how many eastern religions view life!

On the surface you can see where these religions might get this idea, Solomon lays it out clearly for us.  All of life that we can see is cycles, so why not believe that our lives are just on a cycle as well.  What use is being good, or moral, or kind if we are just the latest cycle of a never ending pattern?

It is these traps of wisdom that Solomon describes as first catching his mind.  In these very verses he changes from historian to philosopher as he applies all his wisdom and learning to the problems of life.  Solomon then comes up with three basic principles that he sees in life.

1. Life is hard, but ultimately from God

“I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven.  It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.”

Solomon found that ultimately life is a gift from God as is work, but that does not mean that life is in any way easy.  Since the fall of man the work that God gave us has been cursed to be hard (Gen 3:14).  The gift of God was corrupted and what was meant to be a joy and a purpose has turned into a chore.  However we are still called by God to work and to find joy in him as we do the work that he has given to us.

2. Life once lived cannot be changed

“What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted.”

Solomon was using his wisdom not only, to look at what life was about now, but also to  examine his past life.  He uses this proverb to illustrate the point that to try and spend our days making the past where we messed up look strait is just “vanity and striving after the wind.”  There is only one who can make our lives clean and that is God.  Solomon ultimate statement here is that you can spend your whole life trying to make up for what you did, but it won’t change anything.  Instead we should live our lives for Christ who has forgiven our pasts and made purposeful our future.

3. Life’s problems cannot always be solved

“And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly.  I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.”

Solomon uses his last moments talking about wisdom to make clear that he was the smarted and most knowledgeable man that had ever lived at his time and the one thing he figured out was that he would never have it figured out.  You could search for answers till you are blue in the face and still never find them because they are questions that will not be answered this side of heaven.

Solomon, in fact, figured out what philosophers years after him would describe this way:  “Ignorance is bliss”  He figured out the dirty secret that the more you know the more you understand that you don’t know anything.  The smarter we get the more we realize its all useless because we can never truly have all the answers.  That is why Solomon ends this chapter with this simple statement:

“For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.”

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2016 in Ecclesiastes, Uncategorized

 

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