Highlights In Today's Reading:
More exhortations that tell why mere religious practices often conflict with the Word of God and thus cannot satisfy. There is no fulfillment in riches or a wasted life. Natural wisdom is discussed as unjust and (7:15) often appears to be without purpose (8:15).
It often appears that divine justice has been suspended as we observe the chaotic condition of world affairs. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. . . . It shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God (8:11,13). Furthermore, the oppression of the defenseless and the prosperity of the wicked is a great puzzle until you read all the Bible: Whoso keepeth the Commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment (8:5). It may seem as if God did not hear the groanings of the innocent or see the hypocrisy of the evildoers who intrude into the Sanctuary of God — I saw the wicked buried (with honor), who had come and gone from the place of the holy (8:10-11). And yet this hypocrisy is allowed to continue — often God does not immediately interfere or bring His judgment. Not only during life but even in death itself, the wicked are often praised and buried with all the inappropriate recognition of their popularity. Yet, with all the flare, visibility, and demonstrations of these external appearances which are carried on even to the grave, they failed to deceive either God or a person who has spiritual and biblical knowledge. The psalmist wrote: Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. . . . For evildoers shall be cut off. . . . For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be (Ps. 37:1-10).
While the course of life seems to run smoothly, the sinner begins to imagine that God is indifferent to human conduct and God, after all, can be ignored. Even Christians, ignorant of the Word of God, are staggered by the delay of divine justice to inflict penalty for the wicked sins of mankind. But the judgment which the Law of God attaches to sin is not an empty threat. We are warned: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Gal. 6:7).
The seemingly "successful" course of a sinful life will have an end, but it will not be successful. God Almighty always has the last word (Eccl. 12:14). If the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation (Heb. 2:2-3).
Thought for Today:
Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people (Prov. 14:34).
As One who expects us to keep our vows made to Him (Eccl. 5:4). So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God (Rom. 14:12).
5:12 suffer = permit; 5:13 sore evil = great misfortune; 5:14 evil travail = misfortunes to those who have kept riches to their own hurt; 7:12 excellency = advantage; 7:26 bands = chains, bound to her evils.
Pray for English International Shortwave Broadcasts in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East sponsored by Ruth J. Hess • Bible Pathway Printer: Ambrose Printing Staff, Nashville TN • Government Official: Rep. Diana DeGette (CO) • Country: United Arab Emirates (2 million) on the eastern Arabian Peninsula • Major languages: Arabic and Farsi • Pressure and hostility against Christians are increasing • 95% Muslim; 4% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Pray that people will come to a knowledge of the Lord God (I Kin. 18:36-37).
Optional Reading: Hebrews 6
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 9:38