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Bible Pathways 07/29/04

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

At Gibeon, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream in which Solomon asked for wisdom. Yet, we have no record that Solomon ever copied the Law by his own hand, as God had instructed Israel's kings to do, and he broke all of the laws specifically given to kings (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). As the years passed, he searched for satisfaction everywhere except from the Lord and His Word, where he should have (Psalm 119:97-98). Following years of an extravagant lifestyle, in his old age 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 offering insincere prayers and making vows that were never kept. The Holy Spirit, speaking through him, warned: Keep your foot when you go 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. He further warned: Be not rash with your mouth (5:2).

True worship requires a heart-inspired obedience to the Word of God. When we assemble to worship, we are to 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; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). That eternal spirit and soul life is what must worship God; mere physical speech and going through religious rituals 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 is not important. It may be a magnificent cathedral, a thatched hut, a disciple's home, or out of the city by a river side, where prayer . . . worship, baptisms, and the ministry of God takes place (Acts 16:13-15). There is no time or place where God is not with His children when they meet together to worship Him (John 14:16; Hebrews 13:5). Because of this, we can praise the Lord - be it in a palace or a prison. At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises to 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 comes 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 = stillbirth or miscarriage; 7:2 lay = take; 7:12 excellency = advantage; 7:26 bands = chains.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for BP Staff: Gina Lesnefsky · Government Officials: Rep. Diana DeGette (CO), Sen. Elizabeth Dole (NC), Rep. Jennifer Dunn (WA), Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (MS), and Rep. Deborah Pryce (OH) · Country: Libya (5 million) in North Africa · Major languages: Arabic and Italian · No form of Christian witness to Libyans is permitted · 98% Muslim; 2% Christian

Prayer Suggestion: Pray that at all times you will find pleasure in what pleases the Lord (Philippians 2:13).

Optional Reading: Hebrews 6

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 3:23


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