August 9

Ecclesiastes 4; Romans 4

Thought from Today's Old Testament Passage:

[Ecclesiastes 7:16-18] For all too many, Solomon's advice has been labeled as the golden mean. It is as if he had said, "Don't be too holy and don't be an outright criminal; just sin moderately!"

But this reading of these verses is indefensible. The Preacher (as the writer calls himself) is not cautioning against people being goody two shoes or their possessing too much religion or consistency in their faith. There was an altogether different danger which occupies the mind of the writer. It was the danger, not of how men and women are perceived by others, but how men and women perceive themselves. The danger was that individuals might delude themselves through the multiplicity of their pseudo religious acts which would be nothing more in reality than ostentatious pieces of showmanship in the act of worship and alleged service to God.

…When people become too holy, too righteous and too wise in their own eyes, then they become too holy and too wise for anyone—not in reality, of course; but in their own estimation!

Walter C. Kaiser, Hard Sayings of the Old Testament (Downer's Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), pp. 191-192  

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