July 29

Read Ecclesiastes 5 -- 8

In Today's Reading:

Caution against hasty vows; the emptiness of riches; wisdom and goodness upheld; respect for rulers

The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at Gibeon and, in this dream, Solomon asked for wisdom. However, we have no record that Solomon ever copied the Law in his own hand, as God had instructed Israel's kings to do, for he broke all of the laws specifically given to kings (see Deuteronomy 17:14-20). As the years passed, he searched for satisfaction everywhere except from the Lord and His Word (see Psalm 119:97-98). Following years of an extravagant lifestyle, Solomon observed that rich and poor were equally obsessed with such fruitless endeavors.

Solomon's thoughts then turned from the secular to the religious life and he noted that many attended the house of God with thoughtlessness and hypocrisy, offering insincere prayers and making vows that were never kept. The Holy Spirit, speaking through him, warned: Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools (Ecclesiastes 5:1). Hypocrisy is an insult to God, as well as spiritually self-destructive, for God does not overlook the actions of fools. He warned: Be not rash with thy mouth (5:2).

In any gathering of worshipers, there may be those who express the right words of praise and prayer and even give generous offerings, but who come with motives other than to worship the Lord.

True worship requires a heart-inspired obedience to the Word of God. Draw near to hear and obey (5:1). When we assemble to worship, we open our hearts to adore, praise, and exalt the Lord. Jesus defined worship when He said: God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). After creating Adam, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (literally lives); and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). That eternal spirit and soul life is what must worship God; mere physical speech and movement going through religious ritual are not sufficient. The inner man, the eternal man, is what Jesus was saying must recognize and worship his Creator.

The place where we worship the Lord may be a magnificent cathedral, a thatched hut, a disciple's home, a hillside, or a cave. The Scriptures reveal that ye are the temple of God, and . . . the Spirit of God dwelleth in you (I Corinthians 3:16). There is no place where God is not with His children (John 14:16; Hebrews 13:5). Because of His abiding presence, we should always praise the Lord wherever we are — be it a palace or a prison. At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God (Acts 16:25).

Christ Revealed:

As One Who expects us to keep our vows made to Him (Ecclesiastes 5:4). Jesus said: Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil (Matthew 5:37).

Word Studies:

5:12 suffer = permit; 5:13 sore evil = great adversity or afflication; 5:14 evil travail = misfortunes; 6:3 an untimely birth = born dead; 7:2 lay = take; 7:12 excellency = advantage; 7:26 bands = ensnared by deceit.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Ray Mosley and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WJRA-AM, Decatur AL · Government Officials: Rep. Diana DeGette (CO), Sen. Elizabeth Dole (NC), Rep. Jennifer Dunn (WA), Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (MS), and Rep. Deborah Pryce (OH) · Country: Malawi (10 million) in southeastern Africa · Major languages: English and Chichewa · Religious freedom · 34% Protestant; 23% Roman Catholic; 16% Muslim; 16% animist; 4% cults · Prayer Suggestion: Pray that God will enable you to be a generous, cheerful giver to Him (II Corinthians 9:6-7).

Optional Reading: Hebrews 6

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 3:24