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Bible Pathways 07/28/2002

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.

Verses for Today:

I made me great works; I builded . . . houses . . . planted . . . vineyards . . . made . . . gardens and orchards, and . . . planted trees . . . of all kind of fruits: I made me pools of water . . . I got me servants and maidens . . . had great possessions of . . . cattle . . . I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings. . . . 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 (2:4-10).

Although Solomon was world-famous for his achievements, he eventually concluded: I looked on all the works that . . . I had labored to do. . . . and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit (Ecclesiastes 2:11). Solomon failed to find lasting satisfaction with his wealth. Yet, people today are still attempting to gain fulfillment in life through earthly pursuits while ignoring their opportunity to serve the Lord.

Solomon was rightly troubled when he said that he had found no satisfaction or peace of mind, confessing: Therefore I hated life (2:17).

When he began his reign, God said that Solomon loved the Lord (1 Kings 3:3). But, as he set his heart on material projects, wealth, and women, his priorities became distorted with human goals and projects that gradually pushed God out of his life. Consequently, no prophet was prominent during his 40-year reign. Just a brief time after his death, the majority of his great kingdom revolted and was ruled by one of his servants. Soon after that, all the wealth which Solomon's son inherited was taken by the King of Egypt. With the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, Solomon's works vanished from the earth.

Solomon's life reminds us of many people whom God has tested with material success, but who also failed the test. Their wealth added nothing to God's Kingdom when it could have been used for eternal treasures (see Matthew 6:19-21).

In striking contrast to King Solomon was the spiritual insight of his father David, who said of those who trust in the Lord: They shall be abundantly satisfied. . . . For with [You, Lord] is the fountain of life: in [Your] light shall we see light (Psalms 36:8-9).

For Christians, satisfaction comes from being available to become the person that God wants and accomplish the purpose for which He created us (John 12:25-26; Romans 12:1-2).

Near the close of this sad book, Solomon left us this advice: Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

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 has wisdom, knowledge, and joy (1 Corinthians 2:16; see also John 15:11; Luke 21:15; 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; 2:21 in equity = with skill; portion = inheritance.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for the missionary ministries · Country: Nigeria (114 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and Hausa · Government permits all types of religious activity · 36% Muslim; 19% Protestant; 15% animist; 7% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for boldness to tell others about the Lord (Acts 4:29).

Optional Reading: Hebrews 5

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 3:24

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