July 30

Read Ecclesiastes 9 -- 12

In Today's Reading:

Struggles of the righteous and the wicked; wisdom better than strength; the wise versus the foolish; the Creator to be remembered.

Verses for Today:

I considered in my heart . . . that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God. . . . There is one event (to the righteous and to the wicked). . . . They shall die. . . . For God shall bring every work into judgment . . . whether it be good, or whether it be evil (9:1,3,5; 12:14).

Solomon could be misunderstood when, later in life, he said: Rejoice, O young man, in [your] youth; and let [your] heart cheer [you] in the days of [your] youth, and walk in the ways of [your] heart, and in the sight of [your] eyes (Ecclesiastes 11:9). To go no further in his message would imply he was encouraging youth to let passions and pleasures have their way as he had lived. But he continued: Know . . . that for all these things God will bring [you] into judgment.

Solomon spent his lifetime searching for pleasure from every possible worldly source. Having had his fill and still finding himself spiritually empty, he made it clear that secular satisfactions are short-lived and can only provide passing pleasures. He used the word vanity more than 30 times in the Book of Ecclesiastes, finally realizing that ignoring the Word of God was vanity of vanities (12:8).

Before finishing his message, Solomon restated the basic principle of true wisdom: Remember now [your] Creator (since you are His property) in the days of [your] youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw [near], when [you shall] say, I have no pleasure in them. . . . Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His Commandments (the only true Guide to Life): for this is the whole duty (purpose) of man (12:1,13). Since all of us are part of the purposes of God, all else in life, all other goals, should be seen as opportunities to advance His Kingdom.

We do know it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). God will judge the motives behind all our actions. Spiritual satisfaction results from giving one's time, talents, and resources to fulfill the will of God. The Lord is the only true Source of happiness, peace of mind, and genuine enjoyment in the life He gave us.

Therefore, it is vain and foolish to seek riches, security, power, popularity, or fleeting goals in life merely for self. It is also vanity to yield to the lust of the flesh (craving for sensual gratification), and the lust of the eyes (greed for more), and the pride of life (material goals that crowd out our loyalty to Christ (1 John 2:16).

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world (in what the world calls wisdom), let him become (recognize that, as such, he is) a fool, that he may be wise (by turning to the source of true wisdom). For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God (1 Corinthians 3:18-19).

Christ Revealed:

In the statement: For God shall bring every work into judgment (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Jesus will judge all, for the Father (God) [judges] no man, but [has] committed all judgment unto the Son (Jesus) (John 5:22). True and righteous are His judgments (Revelation 19:2).

Word Studies:

10:4 yielding pacifieth = seek reconciliation; 10:14 is full of words = talks as though he knows everything about which he knows nothing; 10:15 he knoweth not how to go to the city = he is ignorant concerning the most obvious matters; 12:11 goads = rods sharpened at the ends, used in driving oxen (Judges 3:31; 1 Samuel 13:21; Acts 9:5); The words of the wise are as goads = words of wisdom rouse into action to do right.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for your pastor · Country: Norway (4 million) in northern Europe · Major language: Norwegian · Religious freedom · 95% Protestant; .4% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to show you what to do, and then be willing to do it (Acts 9:6).

Optional Reading: Hebrews 7

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 3:24