July 28

Read Ecclesiastes 1 -- 4

In Today's Reading:

The vanity (emptiness) of living for pleasure and material gain; a reason for everything; varied proverbs of wisdom

It would be easy to be impressed by the achievements of Solomon. He wrote: I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: I made me pools of water, to water (irrigate) therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: I gathered me also silver and gold . . . I gat me . . . delights of the sons of men. . . . So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem. . . . And whatsoever mine eyes desired, I kept not from them (Ecclesiastes 2:4-10).

The key word here is me. Solomon did all of these things for himself. With each increasing excess, he found less and less pleasure. In God's providence, success in life is the opposite of the unsaved. Jesus later would declare the ways of God with one simple statement: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things (material necessities) shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).

Solomon eventually concluded: I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit (chasing after the wind), and there was no profit under the sun. Solomon was rightly troubled when he said: I hated (abhorred) life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit (Ecclesiastes 2:11,17). Sadly, some today are still trying to gain fulfillment with earthly pursuits while ignoring the will of God.

It is recorded that, when Solomon began his reign, He loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father . . . (But Solomon's heart was divided); he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places (I Kings 3:3). Consequently, his priorities became distorted and he gradually set his heart on material projects, wealth, and women.

Life is short and no one can relive one lost minute. Each of us needs to consider: In preparation for eternity, what is God's purpose for my brief life? We all want to hear Jesus say: Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord (Matthew 25:23).

Christ Revealed:

As God, the true source of wisdom, and knowledge, and joy — the One Who truly satisfies (Ecclesiastes 2:26). We have the mind of Christ which is wisdom, knowledge, and joy (see I Corinthians 2:16; see also Luke 21:15; John 15:11; Romans 15:14).

Word Studies:

1:13 sore travail = grievous task; 1:17 madness and folly = the ways of the foolish; vexation of spirit = very unsatisfying, grasping after the wind; 2:21 in equity = with skill; portion = inheritance.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Mary Kay Wagner · Pray for HCJB World Radio in Quito, Ecuador, and Dr. John Boldt · Country: Madagascar (15 million) an island in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique · Major languages: French and Malagasy · Increasingly anti-Christian · 43% witchcraft, ancestor worship, and some astrology; 21% Protestant; 21% Roman Catholic; 2% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Pray that the Lord will enable you to comfort and encourage others (II Corinthians 1:3-4).

Optional Reading: Hebrews 5

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 3:24