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Ecclesiastes: Chapter 7 Verses 1-10

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 21)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 7:1-10 

A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.  (2)  It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.  (3)  Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.  (4)  The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.  (5)  It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.  (6)  For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.  (7)  Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.  (8)  Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.  (9)  Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.  (10)  Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this. 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Solomon now describes for us many different areas of our lives that can lead us to prideful living.  He attempts to answer the question.. “Does living a life of pride and arrogance lead to a fulfilling life on earth?”

 

A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. 

Living a life of humility that results in possessing an honorable, respected name among mankind is far better than accumulating the most valuable of ointments.  Prideful living would choose the wealth of this world over the good testimony of a man humbled before the Lord.

 

It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.  Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.  The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 

It is far better to face difficulties, sorrows, and loss in this life than to enjoy the pleasures of this world without any heartaches or trials.  This is because a man who is faced with many trials, can more easily see his frail, fallen condition and need of the enabling graces of the Lord in His life.  True Godly wisdom, humility and dependence upon God, many times, is rooted in the hardships of life.  In opposition to this, many times, living a life of pleasure and joy without heartaches can lead to a man to a prideful spirit, as he feels immune from trials and superior to others who are suffering abound him.

 

It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.  For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity. 

Possessing a humble spirit always willing to hear words of correction from a wise man is far better than for a man to selfishly, pridefully seek counsel from fools. A wise man knows the importance of recognizing our weaknesses and great spiritual needs, while the prideful fool does not recognize his need, but only thinks upon receiving pleasure and enjoyment in the here and now.

A fool’s counsel and merriment is much like burning wood under a pot, it makes much meaningless noise that lasts for only a moment and disappears into smoke.

 

Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart. 

A wise man recognizes abuse and mistreatment of others and becomes angry over it.  But a gift that is received from the abuser (as a bride) will pervert the wise man’s judgment and turn his eyes and hatred from the abuse.

 

Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.  Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. 

Solomon now tells us it is far better to finish a task than to simply plan to do it with no work being done to bring it to completion.  A wise man recognizes it takes a humble, patient spirit to finish the task at hand.  Impatience leads to frustration and anger which is a sign of a prideful, foolish man.

 

Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this. 

It is foolish and prideful are not to ask why the days of old were better than present times.  We must humbly recognize the Lord controls both our past and present days. We should accept our current circumstances of life humbly and wisely knowing that all things are working for our good and His glory.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks living a life of pride and arrogance will only develop in us a self-reliant attitude that does not recognize our great spiritual needs. This type of lifestyle results in living a wasted life and an unpreparedness to enter eternity.  May we all seek to lead a life of humility and submission, understanding the great need of Christ in our life as our Lord and Savior.

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man
14. 6:1-2 A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.
15. 6:3-10 A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God
16. 6:11-12 A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.
17. 7:1-10 The pursuit of prideful living

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 6 Verses 11-12

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 20)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 6:11-12

Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better?  For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun? 

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better? 

In this study, so far, we have seen many many things that Solomon has identified as “vain”.

Ranging from pleasing our carnal desires to accumulating physical possessions to possessing worldly wisdom, Solomon came to understand that ANYTHING that exists “under the sun” (i.e. in this physical world in which we live) is short-lived and of no lasting value…

Ecc 1:2 – “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.”

 

If we understand that all found under the sun is vain, then we can also come to understand that these things do not benefit man in any lasting ways.  Man is no better after accumulating and partaking of the things of this world, as he was when he was first born into this world.

 

For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun? 

From an earthly standpoint, with no concern given to God and His Word, who in this fallen world can know what will profit man in this earthy existence on a fallen, sinful world?  The implied answer is “no one” because none of this world’s offerings benefit man.

Man’s life on earth is like a shadow, constantly changing and lasting for only a brief period of time.  (Psa 144:4)

Man’s life on earth is fluctuating, always shifting… because of this, no man can tell us what lies on the morrow.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Solomon reminds us that everything we find “under the sun” is of no value to us in the eternal things of God. May we continue to seek out the Lord’s will for our lives, seeing the importance of seeking the eternal things of God compared to the temporal things that this world has to offer us.

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man
14. 6:1-2 A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.
15. 6:3-10 A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God
16. 6:11-12 A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 6 Verses 3-10

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 19)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

 

Ecclesiastes 6:3-10

If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he. For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness. Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing: this hath more rest than the other. Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place? All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled. For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living? Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit. That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he. For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness. Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing: this hath more rest than the other.

Solomon observed a man who had a large family, and lived a long life of many years. He saw that although this man was blessed, his life did it hold purpose, meaning, and fulfillment for him. This is because, if a man’s life is not meaningful, filled with purpose and receiving the honor and respect of others, it ends up being wasted and without lasting value.

Solomon goes further and states that it is better to be still born, than to live this type of life that is characterized by a meaningless existence. Why is this? The still born baby comes and goes without notice by many. His life is short, never lived outside the womb in a world filled with trials, problems, and heartaches. In that sense the still born child has lived a life of rest and peace not having lived a wasted life filled with sorrow and trials.

  

Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?  

Solomon then explains that there is no benefit to living a long life, if life is filled with troubles and heartaches. All physical life ends the same… the grave, this does not change based upon the length of life that we live. Once again, Solomon helps us to understand there is no benefit to living a long life if not lived for the Lord.

 

All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.

Men who live to satisfy their desires will never find an end to wanting and getting, they will never truly be content.

 

 

For what hath the wise more than the fool?

Both wise and fools are subject to the same heartaches and troubles in life. Without Christ, both are headed for living a vain life that will end without eternal significance.

 

what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?

A poor man can be wise (knowing how to survive in this world) and yet still be ignorant to the true meaning to life and the need to serve Christ while on the earth. They still possess no eternal significance nor insight into the true meaning of life.

  

Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire:

“The sight of the eyes” refers to the things in life that the man possesses, he can actually place his eyes upon as his possessions. It is better to be content with what we currently have, than to constantly desire and live for that which we do not possess.

  

this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

All of these: prosperity in life, long life, fulfillment of desires, worldly wisdom, possession of world’s goods, all of these are short-lived with no lasting results and grasping at the wind.

 

 That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.

All of the conditions and things that men face in the world, their possessions, their desires, the length of their lives, the worldly wisdom they will accrue, the size of their families, etc etc… all these things, have already been named in the counsels of God.

All of these conditions, actions, desires and things that make up human life on earth is known as “man”.  In other words, all of human life is expressed by the term “man” which means “ruddy, red, the color of clay”, which reminds us all of the origin, mortality and standing of man before God as His creation.

Knowing that God has decreed all that will take place in our lives, and understanding that we are “man”, creatures of God made from the red clay of the earth, we are reminded that we are not to stand in direct opposition to His will and ways.   God is our Creator, we are simply His creation, God is the Sovereign of our lives, we are simply subjects who are to be in submission to His will.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Many different aspects of our physical life on earth are meaningless and vain apart from recognizing God’s hand in them.   When we “leave the Lord out of things”, every event and action in our life becomes vain and without rhyme or reason. It is only when we recognize the Lord is the Sovereign Creator of our lives, do we begin to understand the purpose and meaning of our life’s events and the need to be in submission to His will as we learn the true purpose for our lives.

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man
14. 6:1-2 A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.
15. 6:3-10 A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 6 Verses 1-2

 SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 21)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

 

Eccl 6:1-2 – There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:

Solomon draws our attention to another SEEMING harmful unfairness that takes place among all classes of men.

 

A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity,

Solomon sees many men who have received accumulated possessions, fortunes, and respect from other men. These men have need of nothing and have all their desires fulfilled. However, sadly, they are not given the ability to enjoy these great possessions due to physical infirmity or death. In the end, other men enjoy the great God-given possessions and honor that God has given to him.

Solomon sees the mortality of man is another reason why accumulated possessions, riches, and honor are very short-lived and of no eternal value.

 

and it is an evil disease.

Solomon looked at this inequity as a very harmful disease that afflicted all mankind.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Solomon helps us to understand that, due to man’s mortality, we cannot be certain that our future will allow us to enjoy the things this world has to offer.   None of us can know what is on the morrow.  It may hold devastating illness, changes in our life situation, or even death which would take away our ability to njoy what the world offers to us.

Jas 4:14 – “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

 

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man
14. 6:1-2 A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 5 Verses 18-20

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 20)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 5:18-20 – Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.  Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.  For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart. 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

After Solomon reveals to us the inability for this world to give Godly satisfaction and lasting joy, he takes a moment to explain to us the benefits that can be had from them…

 

Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. 

Solomon sees that it is pleasing to God, and beautiful in His sight for us to partake of the bounty of this world, allow this world to meet our physical needs, and find temporal enjoyment in them.  This is one of the great reasons why God gave this world to man.

When men partake of the things found in this world, keeping within God’s bounds, and understanding this world and its benefits are only temporal, God is pleased with them.  It is only when we seek sinful pleasures and eternal satisfaction from this world that we abuse God’s very purpose for them.

 

Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. 

The same basic principle goes for the riches of this world.  God gives the ability to make, partake, and enjoy wealth to man for many reasons, one of which is simple enjoyment and pleasure.

However, a part of that enjoyment lies in an appreciation of the Lord, recognizing He is the One that has given us the undeserved gift of wealth and ability to enjoy it.

 

For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart. 

When we enjoy the things of this world, it allows us to forget many of the trials and dark moments in our life that we have faced.  God will answer the difficult times of life with the ability to enjoy the things of the world around us, reminding us of His greatness and His grace, which soothes and encourages our hearts.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

May we all come to understand the benefits of enjoying the things of this world, in a Godly fashion, and allow them to remind us of our Creator’s greatness, grace and temporal joy that only He can give to us.

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 5 Verses 8-17

 SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 15)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 5:8-17 – If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.  Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.  He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?  The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.  There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.  But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.  As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.  And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?  All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness. 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they. 

Solomon sees the abuse of poor by those who are rich and powerful in this world.  He describes their abuse as:

  1. “oppression”- distressing someone by taking advantage of their weaknesses
  2. “violent perverting of justice and judgment” – to take wealth of others by twisting the law

Solomon says, if we recognize God and His role in eternity, when we see these things take place, we should not be surprised nor lose hope.  After all, God (He that is higher than the highest) sees what is taking place and will make all things right in eternity.

 

 

Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.  He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

The increase (fruit and animals of the fields) are for all mankind to use.  Even the highest authorities on this earth are dependent upon the fields.

Although the fruit of the fields is needful for life, there are many that live for the unnecessary riches of this world.  They accumulate them and want more, never being satisfied.  Solomon recognizes that this is vain.

 

 

When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?  The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. 

Solomon understands that when men gains riches they increase the number of their servants and animals.  In doing, so the increase ends up consuming all the increase in riches.

Basically Solomon is saying when a person gains wealth, they will find new ways to spend it.  Therefore, what purpose is there to accumulating riches, when they will always be consumed?  The only good that comes from increased riches is the ability to behold them with their eyes.

When a man is poor, he can sleep well from a hard days work and no riches to worry about.  When a man is wealthy he loses sleep because he is worried about losing and investing the wealth he has accumulated.

 

 

There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.  But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.  As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. 

Solomon sees an irritating, raw evil in this world… when owners accumulate riches to their own harm.  When men live for riches, many times the riches open up opportunities for sinful indulgences and wasteful living.  In many cases, rich men spend their wealth and leave nothing behind for their heirs.   Even the most wealthy men in the world can take none of his wealth with him when he dies.

 

 

And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?  All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness. 

Solomon sees another irritating raw evil in this world… men ALWAYS come into the world, and depart from this world with nothing.  All of his worldly labors hold no lasting eternal value for him.  Once again, all of his labors are worthless, much like laboring to capture the wind.

For the man who never comes to understand truths about the Lord and eternity to come, it is like he lives his entire life blinded, as if in darkness.  He never sees the wasted life he is living, nor the worthless nature of this world’s riches.  This man has much grief and strife in his life due to his sickness (the blindness from which he suffers).

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Solomon’s examination shows him that chasing the riches of this world is a meaningless, wasted life pursuit.  The world’s riches only harm those who possess them and open opportunities for sins and carnal indulgences.

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches

 

 

 

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Ecclesiastes: Chapter 5 Verses 1-7

 SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 14)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 5:1-7

Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.  Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.  For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.  When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.  Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.  Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore would God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?  For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God. 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Solomon now begins to look at the making of vows (promises) to the Lord…

 

Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. 

When we come into God’s presence during times of worship, prayer and devotions, we are to be careful with our attitudes, motives, words and actions.  We are to possess humble spirits that are willing to hear and submit to the will of God for our lives.

It is far better to have a quiet humble spirit before the Lord, than to be pridefully active in outward promises and acts of service with no concern for God’s will for our lives.   In reality, religious acts done without faith, apart from God’s will for us are acts of pride and sinfulness.

 

 

Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.  For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words. 

When we speak before the Lord, we should not be rash (speaking without thinking) nor are we to speak hastily (quickly blurting things out without proper consideration).

We should always remember that our Lord is over us.  He holds greater power, authority, and ownership of us. He is our Creator and we are simply a part of His creation which resides on the earth.  Because of this we should “let Him do the talking” and desire to simply humble ourselves and learn His will for our lives.

We need to take great care to find the Lord’s will for our lives because there are many ways we can get sidetracked from obeying Him.

First of all, we can get sidetracked from God’s will when we get heavily involved in a multitude of affairs in this world.   When this takes place, the affairs of this world can quickly dominate all of our desires, hopes and dreams.

Secondly, we can get sidetracked when we foolishly speak things that cause us to stray from His will.  Instead of weighing all of our words and being certain they align themselves with God’s will, we speak quickly without thought.  In doing so, we utter sinful words, make promises we cannot keep, or promises that go in direct opposition to God’s will for us.

 

When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.  Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. 

Solomon emphasizes the seriousness of making vows to God. Solomon tells us that when we make a promise to the Lord we should quickly work to keep that vow and not delay.  To make a vow and delay in keeping it is the action of a fool.

Solomon again stresses the seriousness of the vow when he states “Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.”    

 

Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?  For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God. 

When we make rash vows that depart from God’s will for our lives, there are only two possible results:

  1. We will keep our sinful vow which we result in sinful actions on our part.
  2. We will attempt to change or rescind the promise. This is described by Solomon as “say before the angel, that it was an error”.    The “angel” here is referring to Christ (Mal 2:7, Isa 63:9, Gen 48:16 etc), the One to whom the promise was made.

In either case, we end up angering God and ruining our testimony and service to the Lord.

Because of all of this, Solomon comes to the understanding that although there are many different types of lofty promises, contracts, and dreams, when made “under the sun” (apart from the Lord and His will for our lives), are all simply acts of vanities with no lasting value.

A Christian is far better to learn to simply fear God and in doing so, he will learn to guard his mouth and only make, and then keep, promises to God that align themselves with His will.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

May we all learn to hold a proper reverence and fear of the Lord, and in doing so, learn to guard our mouths and be prepared to carefully make and keep vows that are pleasing to the Lord.

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

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Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 4 Verses 4-16

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 13)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

 

Eccl 4:4-16

Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.  The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.  Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.  Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.  There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.  Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?    And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.  For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.  I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.  There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit. 

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Solomon now considers wisdom (as characterized by diligence and contentment) and foolishness (as characterized by laziness envy and coveting) …

  

Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit. 

Solomon begins his examination of wisdom and foolishness by looking at those who painfully labor seeking to do what is upright, moral and proper.  Instead of him being honored and emulated, he is only envied and criticized by those who are foolish

Solomon sees that without the Lord and a coming judgment, the man who seeks to do right is wasting his time.  All of the pain and abuse he endures makes his labor worthless and frustrating.

 

 

The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.  Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit. 

Solomon then examines the opposite of the wise, diligent man… the fool.  He sees that the fool labors only for his minimum needs and lazily rests whenever possible.  Basically he does without much to avoid labor.  In that sense, he is feeding upon himself.  He takes from himself to feed his own laziness.

After seeing the lazy fool, Solomon comes to see, that if there is no eternity, nor final judgment, it is better to be the fool.   Solomon reasons that it is better to be content with the smallest possible amounts and live lazy, lives of inactivity, than work diligently bringing pain to oneself, only to be envied and criticized.

 

 

Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.  There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail. 

Solomon then turns his attention to another area of earthly life that is short-lived and worthless… a man who labors to accumulate goods solely for his own personal benefit.  Solomon sees a man who is alone, he is responsible to care for no one but himself, he is lonely, has no one to care for him, and no one to whom he can leave an inheritance.  Perhaps, he is alone because he forgot and ignored those around him, being so obsessed with accumulating earthly wealth.

In any case, Solomon sees him laboring to an extreme, never being satisfied with the wealth he has accumulated.  He does all of this without having anyone to care for, nor anyone to leave an inheritance.

Solomon sees this attitude is one of short-lived, eventually becoming worthless, and labor that only produces pain and suffering.

 

 

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?    And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. 

Solomon sees that two people working together is better than one person working alone.  He sees that there lies rewards in working together…

  1. when one falls the other can help him to stand
  2. when one is cold the other can help to heat him
  3. when one is attacked, the other can help fight off the attacker.

Based upon all of these, Solomon comes to the conclusion that a threefold cord is not easily broken.  In other words, where two can be a great help to one another, so too, a third friend added to the equation makes the group almost invincible.

However there are a few other lessons we can see presented in the “three-fold cord”:

  1. First of all, the three fold cord can represent the two friends along with Jesus as their Leader. When two the friends include the Lord in their plans and labors, they will be able to accomplish great things while standing up against the strongest of their foes.

 

Also, based upon 1 John 5:7-8, the three-fold cord can also represent two other truths…

1Jn 5:7-8 –“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.  And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

 

  1. The three-fold cord can represent the three persons of the Godhead and their work of redemption. The Father’s eternal decree of election, the Son’s work which secured the salvation of the elect, and the sealing of the Spirit, guarantee the salvation of God’s people and their preservation into eternity.
  2. Finally, the three fold cord can also represent the the Spirit, and the water, and the blood. These bear witness in the earth of the redemption of God’s people. The indwelling Spirit testifies of God’s redemption, the water of baptism publically declares the salvation that has taken place in the life of the believer, and the shed blood of the cross testifies to the great payment of sin debt that was made to save God’s people from their sins.

 

 

Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.  For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.    

Solomon now looks at wisdom versus foolishness in the exercise of authority…

Solomon sees it is better to be poor, inexperienced, and under the authority of others but possessing wisdom, than to be old and experienced, ruling over all others, but being a fool.

The child has the opportunity to be exalted and receive great authority to reign over others than a foolish king who is destined to a public fall.

 

 

I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.  There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Solomon concludes by looking at the succession of generations of mankind.  Solomon saw that as one generation passes, another generation comes to take their place.  As he said “There is no end of all the people”.

Solomon also sees that with the coming of each new generation, the preceding generation is not honored nor appreciated for their acts of diligence and wisdom, but in actuality, forgotten.

Once again, Solomon’s summary of life on earth, without God, a consideration of eternity and His judgments of mankind, comes to the conclusion that earthly life is “vanity and vexation of spirit”.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

May we all come to understand the insignificance of wisdom and diligent living if we do not use these to serve our Lord and prepare for our eternal life.

 

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 4 Verses 1-3

 SIH TOTT ICON What Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 12)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 4:1-3 –

So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.  Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.  Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

  

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Solomon continues to review the injustices in this fallen world and mankind’s condition in the midst of these injustices…

 

So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun:

Solomon steadily gazed at all the injustices this fallen world has to offer, and saw two very important truths…

 

and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. 

First of all, Solomon saw that there existed men who had been mistreated, deceived and misled.  These abused people had no one they could look to relieve their sufferings.

Secondly, Solomon saw that those who abusively ruled over them possessed all the physical strength, authority and economic power and no one to deliver the abused from the bondage of their rulers.

 

Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.  Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun. 

Because of the great abuse that takes place on the earth, and the lack of an earthly remedy for that abuse, Solomon saw the great benefit in departing from this abusive world through death.  His reasoning was that, once dead, an abused person’s suffering is finished.

Solomon also saw that those who never lived were of the greatest benefit.  This is because they never had to experience the abuse that the living and the dead have had to suffer at the hands of their oppressors.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, the only available comfort for the abuses and trials of this world lies in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Apart from Christ, in many ways, it is truly better to have never been born than to face the abuses of this sinful world.

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 3 Verses 1-8

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 9)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 3:1-8 –

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (2) A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;  (3)  A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;  (4)  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;  (5)  A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;  (6)  A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;  (7)  A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;  (8)  A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Although Solomon is struggling to see the purpose of the events of our life on earth, he still acknowledges that the Lord is in control of all these events and has a purpose behind every one of them.  He has a purpose… although we may not be able to recognize what that purpose may be.

 

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

He expresses the Lord’s sovereignty over all the events in this world by declaring that there has been a “season” and a “time” appointed for each under heaven, and behind each event there lies a “purpose”.

By “season” and “time” Solomon is telling us that there is an appointed time for each event to begin and an appointed duration for that event to continue on.  Not only does God control “when” it will happen, but He also controls “how long” it will continue on.

By “purpose” Solomon teaches us that, the Lord has a premeditated, significant, reason for every life event to take place.  Every event is significant and holds an opportunity for His people to be faithful and holds an opportunity for Him to be glorified in it.

 

 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;  A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;  A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;  A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;  A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;  A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. 

Solomon now gives us a comprehensive listing of life events that the Lord controls.  Please note that within this list we find every possible type of event that can take place in our lives…. In other words… a purpose lies behind each event in life and the Lord controls the timing of them all…

 

Life Event Category
   
Time to be born / die Physical Life & Death
Time to plant / pluck up Productivity
Time to kill / heal Physical Life & Death
Time to break down / build up Productivity
Time to weep / laugh Emotions
Time to mourn / dance Emotions
Time to cast away stones / gather stones Accumulate & Disperse
Time to embrace / refrain from embracing Relationships
Time to get / lose Accumulate & Disperse
Time to keep / cast away Accumulate & Disperse
Time to rend / sew Productivity
Time to keep silence / speak Relationships
Time to love / hate Relationships
Time to war / peace Relationships

 

Also, please notice in the above listing, that Solomon gives us a full range of life events, from insignificant to momentous, from routine to unusual.  All of these are under the control of our Lord and take place for a specific purpose.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, do we understand that EVERY life event is under the control of our Lord and holds for us opportunities of service to Him?   Whether we understand His purposes or not, our responsibility before the Lord is simply to place our faith in Him whatever may take place in our lives! He is in control, our life events are happening for a purpose and He will be with His children every step of the way!

 

Dan 2:20-21- “Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:  And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:” 

 

Dan 4:34-35 – “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:  And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

 

Heb 11:6 – “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

 

Rom 14:22-23 – “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.  (23)  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A Recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events

 

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

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Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 2 Verses 12-17

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 6)

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to earn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

 

Eccl 2:12-17 –

“And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.  Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.  Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.  For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.  Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly:

Solomon now begins an investigation of the benefits of:

  1. worldly wisdom – worldly skills, abilities. Knowledgable of worldly things
  2. madness – foolishness, boastful ravings
  3. folly – silliness, jesting, joking

Do any of these hold a lasting value for us?  Solomon will be seeking to answer this question for us.

 

for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done. 

Solomon was very thorough in his examination of these things.  Apparently, he had observed and/or experienced many different aspects of wisdom, madness, and folly which allowed him to draw a conclusion on this subject.  So much so that men who would come after Solomon would not be able to experience any differing aspects of the three nor draw any different conclusion than he.

 

Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.

As Solomon examined these he found that wisdom far excelled over folly.  In other words, Solomon saw that exercising worldly knowledge and abilities far outweighed spending time performing acts of foolish jesting.   As a matter of fact, these were as different as day and night.

  

The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all. 

A wise man perceives and understands what is taking place around him, because his eyes are in functioning properly. He sees the dangers that lies ahead and makes adjustments to avoid that danger.  He sees the true nature of events that take place around him, giving him a clear view of his coming needs.  The fool, on the other hand, is much like a man walking in a darkened room.  He cannot see anything around him due to the darkness that blinds his eyes.

Based upon these differences, it seems as if worldly wisdom holds great lasting benefit for man, however….

 

Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. 

Solomon came to realize that the wisdom of the world only holds very limited benefits for man during his life on earth, and then holds no lasting benefits in the afterlife.

Solomon saw that the worldly wise men share many difficult life experiences with fools.  They both get physically ill, they both labor to meet their needs, they both face times of loss and heartache, they both grow old and eventually die. The list is endless.

This caused Solomon to recognize that both worldly wisdom and foolishness were vanity.

 

For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten.  And how dieth the wise man? as the fool. 

Another proof that both worldly wisdom and foolishness are both vain is the universality of death and man’s accompanying irrelevance.

Again, we can see the limited temporal value of worldly wisdom and the worthlessness of worldly wisdom following death.

 

Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. 

After seeing that the pursuit of carnal pleasures (vs 1-3), the pursuit of material possessions (vs 4-11) and the pursuit of worldly wisdom (vs 12-17) are all short-lived and without eternal benefit, Solomon says “I hated life”.  He saw no purpose in living, saw that life only involved a hard existence with no lasting benefits, and realized that seeking long-tern value in this life is simply grasping at the winds.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Solomon’s quest led him to examine wisdom, madness and folly.  After looking at many different aspects of each, Solomon saw that the possession of worldly wisdom did hold its temporal benefits for man.  However, as Solomon looked at these things from a standpoint of lasting benefit for man, he came to the conclusion that “this also is vanity”

 

Folks, sadly, in many ways, human talents and knowledge, prideful boastings, and meaningless joking and acts of silliness, are highly valued by many in the world today.  However, Solomon was able to clearly show us that these human attributes can never bring us genuine lasting joy and fulfillment to our lives.

 

May we all seek to see these things as they are, not as the world sees them, and seek to live our lives in such a way that places that which gives our life meaning and joy the first priority.

 

 

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

 

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 2 Verses 4-11

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 5)

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

 

Eccl 2:4-11 –

“I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:  I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:  I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:  I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:  I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.  So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.   And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Solomon next examines human labor that produces great material possessions…

 

I made me great works;

Solomon begins to describe all of his abundant wealth that was the result of his human labors…

 

I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:  I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:  I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: 

Solomon possessed many great Real Estate assets which were produced through his labors.

You may be wondering what Solomon’s labor was that he performed.  As king, Solomon’s labor was, almost certainly, not physical.  However, he was the one that planned these great works, financed them, accumulated the materials that was needed, oversaw the projects, and then made arrangements for their upkeep.  In that sense, they truly were his labors and he was to be given the credit for them.

This can be likened to someone like Donald Trump who, probably, never actually did any manual labor, but is given the entire credit for the real estate empire that was built by his administrative labors.

 

I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house;

Also, Solomon held authority over many workers that increased his productivity and his material possessions.

 

also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: 

Through his labors, Solomon accumulated great numbers of various types of livestock which also increased his productivity and wealth.

  

I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces:

Solomon accumulated great riches of precious metals and all the natural resources that held value (different types of wood, animals, ointments, vegetation etc).  He got them from the Kings of the the various countries that surrounded Israel.

  

I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. 

His labors also allowed him to own musicians who were totally unproductive, but only possessed for entertainment purposes.

 

So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.   

When Solomon stepped back and looked at his enormous wealth, he could only describe himself as:

  1. great – He was “excellent”, “magnificent”, “worthy of boasting” – from a human standpoint Solomon was greater than all others and had sufficient reason to boast of the world possessions he had accumulated.
  2. increased more than all that were before me – he had accrued more wealth than all the Israelite Kings before him.

Besides the continuing accrual of physical possessions, Solomon retained his great wisdom to rule over Israel.

 

And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.

olomon had gathered so much wealth from his labors that he could have anything that he desired… and he did just that.  The ability to obtain whatever he desired gave his heart great temporary joy.

He believed that the ability to get his heart’s desire was the well-earned allotment for all his labors.

 

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” 

At the end of his labors, Solomon now stands back and investigates their true worth to man.  He came to understand that all was:

  1. “vanity” – short-lived with no lasting value
  2. “vexation of spirit” – grasping for the wind
  3. “no profit under the sun” – no gain in anything accumulated in this fallen world.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

What we have just read we see taking place around us all the time.  In some ways, today’s equivalent would be holding a very prestigious job (medical doctor, lawyer, investment banker, RE mogul etc) that allowed an individual to accumulate great wealth and obtain anything his heart desired.

Sadly, these types of positions are highly respected in society due to the great wealth that comes with the job.  However, Solomon clearly tells us that to live lives of labor for the sole purpose of accumulating great material possessions can never truly be satisfied nor possess lasting benefit.

Also, please notice the key word in all of these verses was the word “I”…

“I made”, “I builded”, “I planted”, “I made”, “I planted”, “I made”, “I got”, “I had great possessions”, “I gathered”, “I gat”, “I was great”, “I kept not from them”, “I withheld not”…

In all these Solomon did not give any credit to the Lord for allowing him to labor and obtain his great wealth and possessions.  This is the nature of accumulation of the things of this world… it is a self-centered accumulation that keeps self in the forefront of the mind.

If we keep the Lord in the forefront of our mind, we will see the need to devote our lives to Him and His will for us with the material possessions of this world taking a back seat.

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 2 Verses 1-3

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 5)

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 2:1-3  –

 “I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.  I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?  I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.” 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

 

Solomon continues to commune with his inward man and desires…

 

I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. 

Solomon resolved to be about the important business at hand and experience mirth (parties or other celebrations) which bring temporal pleasure (worldly entertainment and happiness) to men.

What did Solomon find out from partaking in a party-lifestyle?  “This is also vanity”… simply like a bubble that is short-lived with no lasting value.  A party lifestyle will bring very short-term happiness and joy during the celebration, but soon after all that joy and happiness is lost.

 

I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? 

During these party times Solomon experienced “laughter”.  “Laughter” comes from a Hebrew word that means to have pleasure/joy from mockery, or scorning others.

Solomon came to understand that the pleasure we get from mocking others is actually a type of “madness”, or a type of foolish boasting in an attempt to make us shine in others eyes.  Oh how very true.  When we make fun of others, it is normally our sinful attempt to exalt ourselves over them.  How sad, stupid and sinful!

Solomon then asks the question what good do these attempts at partying, humor, and mockery really do for us?  The implied answer is that these attempts hold no real lasting value to our happiness and purpose of life.  In many ways, it sidetracks us from that which will give lasting joy and peace to us.

 

I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine,

Solomon then turns himself over to drunkenness.  “Give myself to wine” isn’t speaking of simply drinking wine moderately, but it is describing a state of drunkenness where wine is the controlling force in his life.

 

 yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly,

While he was experiencing drunkenness he applied his earthly wisdom to find the answer to his question.  What does he mean by this?

Perhaps, he was thinking that, perhaps, being intoxication added to wisdom may reveal to him something he could not see with wisdom alone.

Or he is saying that while he was drunk, he was using his earthly wisdom to see if his drunkenness was the real source of happiness and purpose in life or an act of foolishness.

Please keep in mind, several places in the Bible, drunkenness can speak of allowing any of our carnal, fleshly desires to control us.  Perhaps in this portion of Scripture, we see Solomon testing out all the desires of his flesh, seeing if any of them will bring him true joy and purpose to life.

 

till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.” 

As Solomon tested drunkenness to see what would hold lasting benefit to mankind.   In other words, he wanted to see into what men should invest their lives to bring to them the greatest amount of lasting, eternal benefits.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, in Solomon’s search for the true meaning to life, he first eliminated living a “party-life”, or in other words, living to fulfill the carnal desires of his flesh.   Solomon came to understand that these things only led to a living a wasted, unfulfilled life.

May we all learn from Solomon’s experience and seek after the things which are above, not the things that are found in a fallen world that is “under the sun”.

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)

 

 

Homepage…  http://www.settledinheaven.org

Text Blog…  http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Video Blog… http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email… settledinheaven@gmail.com

Ecclesiastes: Chapter 1 Verses 12-18

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 4)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spiritual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

 

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 1:12-18 –

“I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.  And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.  I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.  That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.  I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Solomon now reviews his decision to dedicate his life to finding the true purpose in life on earth…

 

I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 

Solomon sees himself as a preacher, in other words, one that the Lord has called to give His message to His people.  What is Solomon’s message?  The true meaning to our lives on earth.

Solomon goes on to remind us that he was a king.  He was in a great position to be able to experience all that this world had to offer.  Because of this, we can believe his account and know that it was certainly within the realm of possibility that he truly sampled all of life’s offerings and found them all wanting.  He had the money, the power, and the authority needed to obtain anything he desired and to experience anything that appealed to him.

 

And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven:

He turned his desires over to find out why we are given earthly life and how to best find fulfillment and joy in it.  He was to find these things out by diligently inquiring and experiencing all it has to offer.  He would use all of his earthly wisdom to find the answer to these things.

 

this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. 

This “sore travail” is speaking of the evil pains of life.  The seeming purposeless cyclical nature of life, the constant laboring which achieves on lasting results, and the absence of true happiness and joy in all worldly pursuits.

Men are “exercised” by these evil pains.  In other words, they are stressed, weakened, and harmed by the very activities that they are destined to perform.

 

 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. 

Solomon summary observation after all is his investigation was completed… everything under the sun is “vanity” (valueless) and “vexation of spirit” (grasping for the wind).  In other words, everything done on this earth is in actuality short-lived, impossible to produce happiness, peace and contentment, and without lasting value.

 

That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered. 

The works and offerings of this fallen world cannot be changed into a source of joy, fulfillment, and value.  Sin has touched this world, preventing it from holding any lasting value for its inhabitants.  Solomon through much inquiry found this out for himself.

 

I communed with mine own heart, saying,

Solomon conversed with his innermost being.  He sincerely attempted to evaluate his own position in this world and the calling he had been given…

 

Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

Solomon understood he held a very blessed position.  The Lord had allowed him to own much wealth and possess more wisdom to lead his people than any other.  He also understood that the Lord has allowed him to live a life filled with many experiences.  The Lord had done all of these things for him to help him come to an understanding of the true nature of man’s life and their purpose in this world.

  

And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly:

Solomon also reflected on his calling and desire of his heart… to come to an understanding of living a life of earthly wisdom, a madman, and fool.  He wanted to know if the application of worldly knowledge, prideful ravings and meaningless silly actions and speech gave men true satisfaction and meaning to their life.

 

I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.  For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”

Solomon recognized that worldly wisdom, pride, boasting, and silliness were only worthless attempts to grasp for the winds of contentment and purpose for life.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, Solomon had come to understand that all of man’s efforts to find lasting peace and contentment through worldly offerings were futile.

Not only was Solomon called to find the true meaning to life, but he also greatly desired to find peace within for his own benefit.  As our studies continue Solomon will delve into great details concerning his search for life’s purpose.

May we all come to understand that running after the offerings of this world to achieve true lasting joy is only “grasping at the wind”.  And, as we follow Solomon’s search for life’s true meaning, may we come to understanding and accept his findings by faith.  This will eliminate our need to waste our lives by testing world pursuits and allow us to wholly commit ourselves to the service of God as the only source of real joy, peace and contentment.

 

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Ecclesiastes: Chapter 1 Verses 4-11

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 3)

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

 

Eccl 1:4-11 –

“One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.  

The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.  The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.  All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.  All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.  The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 

Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.  There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.”

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

After explaining that all that this world has to offer (“under the sun”) is short lived and worthless, Solomon now gives us several examples of life cycles to prove this to his readers.

In each of these cycles, please notice that there is constant change in the midst of continual existence…

One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.  

 

Example #1 – The cycle of the human generations.

Mankind is born, matures, gives birth to the next generation, grows old and dies.  Then the cycle begins once again.  Humans constantly exist on the earth, however different men exist in each generation.

 

The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. 

Example #2 – The cycle of the sun.

The sun follows a seemingly endless daily cycle as well, it rises in the morning sets in the evening and then begins the cycle all over again the following morning only it holds a slightly different position in the sky than the day before.

 

The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.

Example #3 – The cycle of the wind.

The wind blows in a cyclical nature as well.  Based upon the seasons and type of weather that exists the wind blows from various directions.  These changes in the wind are basically consistent and cyclical with various types of change constantly taking place.

 

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. 

Example #4 – The Cycle of The Water

Water flows from the mountains through the rivers into the seas and oceans, it then evaporates in the air, falls as rain and snow onto the mountains and the cycle begins once again.

All of these cyclical examples from nature teach us the same basic truth… life and nature continue to exist in a consistent, cyclical nature that endures constant changes.  From a human standpoint, these cyclical events have no lasting purpose for its existence.

This is genuine vanity.  Much like the bubble that exists, rises to the top of the water, and then disappears, only for the next bubble to form and the cycle to start again.

 

All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 

Men have exercised much labor in attempting to understand and recognize these cycles that exist. Yet, they fall short in fully understanding the purpose behind them. They cannot explain it, although they see it take place they do not really recognize the purpose behind them.  Although they hear many theories and explanations, the truth cannot be found on earth.

  

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.  Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

Based upon human observation (limited to the earthly realm) these cycles will never cease. They will simply repeat themselves over and over again.  Likewise, many theories of their purpose are presented throughout time and yet there is no truth found among them.  They are all simply error filled guesses that are repeated and recycled and fall short of Godly truth.

Truly in the observation of these cycles, and in the explanation of them, there is nothing new under the sun.

 

There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

What is, perhaps, the saddest point about these cycles?

Because of their changing, cyclical nature, they are easily forgotten with the next cycle replacing the previous one.  No one remembers most sunrises, breezes that blow, or rain storms.

But, especially sad is that many do not remember the generation that has gone before them.  Once again, Solomon has shown to us why, if we leave our Lord out of the equation, everything is simply vain.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, without Christ, all of nature, all of the offerings of this world, all of the teachings and philosophies of man, and especially, all of our very lives are totally, thoroughly, and absolutely vain.

May the Lord graciously help us to seek fulfillment and lasting joy for our lives in Him and not “everything under the sun”.

 

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Ecclesiastes: Chapter 1 Verses 1-3

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 2)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

 

Eccl 1:1-2 – “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.  Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?”    

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

 

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 

Ecclesiastes contains for us the written words of King Solomon, as he searches for the true meaning to life.  In this book, we will be reading about the events of Solomon’s life which led him to the answer to this very difficult question, and also the answer Solomon was shown by God as his life drew to a close.

 

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

The word for “vanity” throughout the book of Ecclesiastes is translated from a Hebrew word that describes something that is short-lived and possesses no lasting value.  A good example of this would be an air bubble in water which quickly rises to the top and then explodes leaving nothing behind.

When words are immediately repeated it is to emphasize the words meaning.  For example “king of kings” (Dan 2:37)  emphasizes the ruling authority of Nebuchadnezzar who, at the time, was the most powerful ruler of all the kings that existed.   Also “servant of servants” (Gen 9:25) described Cain who, due to the curse placed upon him, who was condemned to hold a position of servitude beneath all of his brothers without exception.

When Solomon speaks about this world and everything in it are “vanity of vanities”, he is stating that this world and all it contains, without exception, is completely short lived and without any lasting value whatsoever.

 

What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?”   

Because this world and its offerings are thoroughly void of lasting value and purpose, Solomon then draws the logical conclusion that all our worldly labors, that which occurs under this sun, is of no profit to us.

The idea behind Solomon’s statement is very similar to the well-known saying that “we can’t take it with us”.  In other words, why should we labor to accrue that which we cannot take with us (is only temporal and it holds no lasting value for us).

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

In this opening portion of Ecclesiastes, a loving Solomon states for us the reason why Ecclesiastes is written.  It is a warning from Solomon that, hopefully, will save us all from living a life that is wasted, empty, and vain.

When our lives center upon the accumulation of wealth, power, and fame that this world has to offer, our lives have been lived in vain.  Any benefits we may receive from these offerings of the world will be short-lived and, in the end, will disappear like the bubble that exploded at the top of the water.

In our next segment of the book Solomon will continue to explain the worthlessness of this world’s offerings and the need turn our eyes from them.

May the Lord continue to bless our time in His Word as we seek to live in pursuit of that which holds lasting and eternal value for all of us.

 

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Ecclesiastes: Introduction

SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord?

 

INTRODUCTION TO OUR SERIES:

 

During the last portion of his life, King Solomon stopped and reflected on the life lessons he learned.

It is very important to know that Ecclesiastes is not a diary that is written as the events of Solomon’s life takes place.  It was written by an old man whose life has been lived, and had already learned life’s lessons. Ecclesiastes was written as Solomon looked back on his life, and recorded the events he had experienced and the lessons he had learned.  The most important of these lessons was the true purpose of life.

The writing of Ecclesiastes is an act of Solomon’s love for the citizens of Israel (and by extension, all the saints of God).  At the end of his life, he wanted to share his experiences in an attempt to help others avoid the many pitfalls that the fallen world holds for God’s people.    He wanted us to learn life’s meaning through the simple act of reading rather than be forced to   experience the many times of disappointment, sorrow, confusion and desperation that were a major part of his life.

This is why this book was given the title Ecclesiastes, which means “teacher”, “preacher”, or “one who shares knowledge”.  In Ecclesiastes, Solomon, as a loving caring mentor, is sharing his life’s knowledge with us.

This is the story of Ecclesiastes.  This is the reason why we are using Ecclesiastes as the text of this devotional series.  It is so that we can come to understand life’s true purpose, without having to waste our lives in its pursuit.

*********

One additional thought, although Solomon was known as “the wisest man on earth”, he struggled with many coming to understand many spiritual truths in his personal life, including life’s meaning.

How can this be?  How can such a wise man not understand life’s meaning? Why must he live his entire life in search of such a very important truth?  How can anyone be called wise if they do not understand the purpose of our existence on earth?  The context of his “wisdom” title can help us greatly with this….

Solomon’s original request for wisdom was very, very, specific.  He asked for wisdom to judge the people of God…

“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?”  (1Ki 3:9)

 

The Lord blessed Solomon with that specific type of wisdom, allowing him to be a righteous, discerning judge and King of Israel…

“And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.  And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt….  And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.”  (1Ki 4:29-30, 34)

 

However, in his personal life Solomon was, in many ways, ignorantly foolish in the spiritual things of God…

“But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.  

And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.  For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.  For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 

And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. 

Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.  And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. 

And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice,  And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded.”  (1Ki 11:1-10)

 

These principles can help us to understand why Solomon, in many ways the wisest man to ever live, is found wasting his life to discover life’s true purpose and meaning.

*******

 

THE OUTLINE OF OUR STUDY:

 

  1. The Background To Solomon’s Search
    1. Chapter 1
      1. Life Without The Lord (vs 1-3)
      2. Nothing New Under The Sun (vs 4-11)
      3. Solomon’s Pursuit (vs 12-18)
  2. The Search Begins (Solomon’s Conclusions From A Human Perspective)
    1. Chapter 2
      1. The Vanity Of Worldly Pleasures (vs 1-3)
      2. The Vanity Of Human Labors (vs 4-11)
      3. The Vanity Of Worldly Wisdom (vs 12-17)
      4. The Vanity Of Responsible (frugal & wise) Living – 1 (vs 18-23)
      5. The Vanity Of Responsible (frugal & wise) Living -2 (vs 24-26)
    2. Chapter 3
      1. A Time For Every Circumstance Of Life (vs 1-15)
      2. No Difference Between A Man And Animal (vs 16-22)
    3. Chapter 4
      1. It Is Better To Be Dead Than Alive (vs 1-3)
      2. No Difference Between The Wise And The Fool (vs 4-16)
    4. Chapter 5
      1. The Vanity Of Vows (vs 1-7)
      2. The Vanity Of Riches (vs 8-17)
      3. Enjoyment In This Life Is God’s Portion To Man – 1 (vs 18-20)
    5. Chapter 6
      1. Enjoyment In This Life Is God’s Portion To Man – 2 (vs 1-2)
      2. Life Is Filled With Times of Desire and Unfulfillment (vs 3-10)
      3. There Is No Lasting Good In This Life (vs 11-12)
    6. Chapter 7
      1. Choose Humility Over Pride (vs 1-10)
      2. The Proofs Of The Value Of Godly Wisdom (vs 11-23)
      3. The Search For Godly Wisdom (vs 24-29)
    7. Chapter 8
      1. Submit To Higher Authority (vs 1-5)
      2. Man Does Not Control Their Life Nor Their Destiny (vs 6-15)
      3. Man Cannot Understand the Workings Of God (vs 16-17)
    8. Chapter 9
      1. The Righteous and The Wicked Share Life’s Events In Common (vs 1-3)
      2. Life Is Better Than Death (vs 4-12)
      3. The Excellence And Rejection Of Godly Wisdom (vs 13-18)
    9. Chapter 10
      1. The Dangers Of Foolishness (vs 1-15)
      2. Ruling Well (vs 16-17)
      3. The Dangers Of Slothfulness (vs 18)
      4. The Value Of Money (vs 19)
      5. The Need For Willful Submission To Higher Authorities (vs 20)
    10. Chapter 11
      1. Sowing Our Seed For Others Benefit (vs 1-6)
      2. The Inevitability Of The Dark Days Of Life (vs 7-8)
      3. Instructions To Youth To Enjoy Life (vs 9-10)
    11. Chapter 12
      1. Instructions To Youth To Serve Lord While Young (vs 1-7)
      2. All Is Vanity (vs 8)
  3. The Conclusion Drawn From The Search
      1. The Importance Of The Preacher’s Teachings (vs 9 -12)
      2. The Whole Of Man – The Lessons To Be Learned (vs 13-14)

 

Folks, as we being our study tomorrow, may the Lord help us to come to a clear understanding of the meaning of life and the necessity of fulfilling His purposes for us…

1Ti 6:12  “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

 

 

 

 

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Ground Hog Day Devotional

SIH STSTA ICON“Are We Spiritual Groundhogs?”
(GroundHog Day Devotional 2016)

Our modern day Groundhog Day observance is a tradition that has existed, in several different forms, throughout several centuries.

Many people believe that Groundhog Day finds its roots in an observance called “the Feast of Lights” which was celebrated in the beginning of February centuries before Christ. It was a day set aside by pagans (probably the druids originated it) to worship of the sun which would begin to gain strength and warm the earth in the Spring and Summer seasons.

As time progressed, The Feast of Lights was gradually brought into the Catholic church and celebrated under the title Candlemas Day. The candle is the chief point that unified the two observances. Candles are used by Catholics to picture Christ as the light of the world, whereas to those who were pagan, the lit candle can represent the light and heat of the sun.

The Catholic holiday of the Candlemas is observed on February 2nd. It is set aside to celebrate Mary’s purification at the temple following Christ’s birth. In this celebration, many candles are lit and used during the worship service. In prior times, Candlemas also was believed to predict the coming weather. If the day of Candlemas was a bright sun shiny day, it was believed that more winter was yet to come. However, if the day was overcast it was believed that Spring was just around the corner.

This celebration of the Candlemas was brought into the secular world as Groundhog Day. Our modern day tradition holds that on February 2nd the groundhog arises from its winter hibernation, comes out of its hole and looks for his shadow.

If it is a sunny day and he sees his shadow, he believes it is an indication there will be six more weeks of winter weather and so he proceeds back down his hole to continue his time of slumber. However if, on a cloudy day, he doesn’t see his shadow he then believes that spring weather has arrived and comes out of his hole and prepares to enjoy the mild weather that will come to pass.

For much more information about the origin and observance of GroundHog Day please see the following links:
http://www.groundhog.org/about/history/
http://projectbritain.com/year/candlemas.html
http://wildhunt.org/2015/02/earthspirits-a-feast-of-lights-aims-to-drive-the-winter-away.html

For the Christian, we all should recognize the heathen origin of the celebration, but also recognize the great opportunity it gives us to share Christ with others. As Christians who possess the truths of God, we have the privilege, and responsibility, to use this worldly celebration as an opportunity to bring honor and glory to our Lord. How can we do this? We do this by using the public attention placed on this day, as a tool to present the truths of God’s Word to the celebrants without believing in, or partaking in, the pagan worship surrounding it.

That is what this devotional is all about. It is using a secular celebration as an opportunity to present God’s Word to a lost and dying world…

 

THE SCRIPTURE:

Joh 8:12 – “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

2Co 4:6 – ”For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

THE STUDY:

The Groundhog Day celebration centers on the groundhog’s reaction to the sunlight. The tradition says, if the sun is shining brightly the groundhog’s shadow will appear and the groundhog will go back into his hole for another six weeks. However, if it is a cloudy day blocking the sun, then the groundhog will remain above ground and enjoy the spring season that has begun.

Much like the groundhog who comes into contact with the sun, most of us have come into contact with God’s Word which clearly reveals to us the light of knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…

2Co 4:6 – ”For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

The question that lies before us is “How do we react in the presence of the light of Christ that has shined upon us?

The Word of God directly addresses the consequences of embracing the light of Christ and making it a living part of our lives…

Joh 8:12 – “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Let’s take a very quick look at what this passage teaches to us about our reaction to the light of the knowledge of Christ that we have received…

I am the light of the world: he that followeth me…

If we chose to follow Christ, the light of the world, we will gain two wonderful gifts that are worth more than all the world’s riches put together.

he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,

First of all, by stepping into the light of Christ, we will receive liberation from the bondage of sin in our life.

Christ is the One who has died on the cross to secure our forgiveness and deliverance from our sins. As we submit to Christ as Lord of our life, and turn from our sins and place our faith in Him, we will “not walk in darkness”. This means that we will no longer live a lifestyle that is dominated by sin and rebellion against Him. He will grant us liberation from sin’s power in our life. Someday, He will deliver us from the presence of sin in our life by taking us home to be with Him at our death or His second coming.

he that followeth me… shall have the light of life.

The second blessing we will receive is the blessing of spiritual life in Him. Folks, as a part of fallen, sinful mankind, due to our sinful condition, we are born in a state of alienation from God. The Bible describes this as being “spiritually dead”. When we willingly turn from our sins and turn to Jesus, by faith, He promises to spiritual life which includes being brought into fellowship with God and knowing we will spend an eternity in His presence this is possessing Christ, the “light of life”.

The question before us is this… what is our reaction to this light of the knowledge of Christ that we receive?

Will we act like the groundhog and run from the light, hurrying back down into the “hole” of sin’s bondage? Will we deny our need of salvation from our sins to continue in spiritual sleep of death?

Or, will we step into the light of the knowledge of Christ by embracing it? Will we turn from a life of disobedience and sinful darkness, to a new life in the light of Christ by placing our trust in Him and His work and submitting to Him as Lord of our life?

How we react to the light of Christ is by far the most important decision we have, or will ever make… for it holds eternal consequences for us.

Questions, Comments, or Suggestions? Email me at: rob.barkman@settledinheaven.org

http://www.settledinheaven.org
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“For We Are But Of Yesterday”

SIH STSTA ICON(The SIH 2016 New Year’s Devotional)

With the coming of each New Year, we are reminded of the quickly passing time and shortness of the physical life that we possess.

For some, the concept of a short lifespan on earth is a thing of dread and fear. They possess dread because they know that the pleasures, possessions and relationships of this world will quickly pass away; and fear, due to confusion and uncertainty about, and an unpreparedness for, a coming afterlife.

However, in comparison, there are those who recognize that life is only temporal and will be followed by an eternal existence that will offer a much better existence. These have prepared for its coming and joyously await its arrival.

As we come face to face with another New Year, I just wanted to take a few moments to review the Biblical teachings on the temporal nature of life on earth and the great need to prepare for a coming afterlife while the opportunity still exists for each one of us.

THE SCRIPTURE:

(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:) (Job 8:9 KJV)

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (Jas 4:14 KJV)

THE STUDY:

Job, in our text, describes the quickness of the passing of our life as “we are but of yesterday”. In other words, Job is simply saying that, as we look back to the past events of our life, from birth onward, they seem to have just taken place “yesterday”. How very true this is!

On this New Year’s Day, stop and think about the past events of the previous year. For most of us, these events seem like they took place just yesterday.

Now, stop and think about some of your major life events that have taken place throughout your lifetime: births and deaths; sicknesses; new jobs and residences; anniversaries and graduations; and, for the Christian, the moment the Lord brought you unto Himself, trusting in Him for salvation. As you think about all these events, do they not seem to have taken place just a short while ago? For many of us, even the events of life that took place 30, 40, or even 50 years ago, now seem to be fresh in our minds and hearts, as if only a few days have passed.

Job even goes further in emphasizing the brevity of life when he says… “our days upon earth are a shadow”. See also: (Job 7:6, 9:25, 14:2; Psa 78:39, 89:47, 102:11; Isa 40:6).

Understanding the two basic characteristics of a shadow help us to understand what Job was trying to teach us. First of all, a shadow lasts only a short period of time, much like our life in comparison with the eternity that is to follow. Secondly, a shadow is constantly changing (due to movement of the person casting the shadow and the orbiting of the sun)… this pictures for us our temporal life and the many changes that take place on a day by day basis.

Job is bringing to our minds a very basic principle of living that we experience with every new day… Because our lives are uncertain and experience changes every single day, we do not know what each new day will hold for us. James even implies that because our lives are brief, uncertain, and changing, we cannot be sure if we will live yet another day…

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (Jas 4:14 KJV) see also (Proverbs 27:1, 1 Sam 20:3)

Folks, looking back over this last year, we all know people who have passed on unexpectedly. Whether it be by accident, sickness, or the actions of another, every day people pass on before us suddenly with absolutely no prior warning. Perhaps, they expected to celebrate the coming of this New Year along with us but, sadly, they are no longer with us. In this fallen, sinful world unexpected deaths are a very common occurrence.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

With the passing of this, and every New Year, we are reminded of the changing, fleeting nature of our lives. The most important aspect of these life principles is the need to take advantage of the time we have been given on earth and use it wisely.

What is the wisest possible use of our time? It is living our lives in preparation for the eternity that is to come. Because our physical lives and the world in which we live are temporal in nature, only that which is done for eternity’s sake will be of lasting value…
“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1Jn 2:17 KJV)

So how do we live for eternity? For the lost it means by coming to an understanding of the true God, our condition before Him, and our need of faith in Him, and the eternal blessings that await the people of God:

1. The Lord Jehovah is the true God over all men. God the Son, Jesus, is the only One through whom we can gain access to God the Father. (Psa 83:18, John 14:6; 1 John 5:20)

2. All men have committed sin and stand before God as guilty, unable to save themselves through their works of righteousness. (Rom 3:23, Rom 3:19, Titus 3:5)

3. It is by grace through the God-given gifts of repentance and faith that a sinful man can receive forgiveness and salvation from the punishment of their sins (Acts 3:19, Acts 11:18, Eph 2:5-8. 1 Thess 1:10).

4. The newly forgiven individual is adopted into God’s family, made a citizen of the eternal, spiritual nation of Israel, and made heirs of an eternal existence with God. This forgiveness, and the blessings that accompany forgiveness, are eternal in nature, can never be lost, based upon the completed work of Christ on the cross (Gals 4:5, Eph 2:19, Roms 8:16-17, Heb 10:10).

For the saved, it means to take advantage of the opportunities we have to show Christ to others around us, by living a Christ-like life through our words, actions, and lifestyles. (Roms 8:28-30, Eph 1:4)

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“A Christian’s Guide To Having A Merry Christmas”

SIH STSTA ICON(Or, Three Steps To Have A Blessed, Satisfying, Christmas Season)

 

Have you ever had an empty feeling on December 26th?   You know, after Christmas Day has passed and you look back at all the planning that had taken place… all the work that had been done, and all the money that had been spent… you realize that the day had flown by without any lasting results. Now all you have left is an empty feeling, weariness, and a half years’ worth of debt.

We can all understand why in many cases, this is the lot of a lost and dying world. For those who have never experienced God’s grace in their lives, not recognizing Jesus as their Lord and Savior, it only makes sense that the Christmas holidays are like any holiday for them. Christmas is simply another opportunity for them to become anxious, frustrated and wasteful, looking for fleshly satisfaction. It is no wonder their holiday is empty and void of true happiness while filled with frustration, weariness, anxiety and debt.

But things should be different for us as Christians.   The Christmas holiday is a time set apart by the world to celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior.   The Christmas holiday reminds us of the greatest display of God’s love being shown to mankind… the sending of His Son to this world to live, and be sacrificed, for our sake.

Christmas is not only a time for Christians to joyously recall God’s wondrous love, but also it holds many opportunities to reach others for Christ. The world is much more receptive to the message of Christ and his work during the Christmas season than any other time of the year… what a wonderful opportunity for each of God’s people to reach others for Christ through their words, deeds and lifestyle!

But sadly, in spite of all these reasons for joy and happiness, Christmas can end up being a time of sadness, frustration and emptiness for Christians as well as the lost. These things should not be so. Hence, the Word gives us the three keys to finding true joy, peace and spiritual satisfaction…

 

THE SCRIPTURE:

Luk 2:14 KJV – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

 

THE STUDY:

In our text for this Bible study (Luke 2:14), it is very important that we understand its context.  Our text contains a portion of the very first angelic message that was given by God following the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ, in Bethlehem (Luke 2:7-12).  Also, please notice our text is a message delivered by “a multitude of heavenly hosts” whose intent was to bring praise to the Only True God (Luke 2:13).

Within the message of these heavenly host…  Luke 2:14 KJV – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”… we find three basic principles that are given to all of God’s people. Within these three principles, we find the very purpose and foundation of Christ’s ministry, as well as the keys to Christian’s celebrating Christ’s birth in a God-honoring way.

The three principles are:

  1. “Glory to God in the highest” – God being appreciated, glorified and served in everything that is done.
  2. “on earth peace” – Harmony, quietness, rest between God and men.
  3. “good will toward men”– Unselfish desires for prosperity and blessing for others.

Folks, with the coming of Christ to the earth, God was not only glorifying Himself, but He was also opening up the pathway for men to receive these blessings of peace and goodwill.  This pathway would be revealed through the teachings of Christ, and would be secured through the work of Christ on the cross.

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Christ, Himself, during His life on earth accomplished all three of these goals perfectly…

  1. God’s glory was revealed in Christ’s life –

Joh 17:4 KJV – “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”

  1. Peace between God and Man was secured through Christ’s work –

Eph 2:14 KJV – “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;”

  1. Unselfish desires for the good of others was shown by The Father’s giving of Christ to the world –

John 3:16 KJV – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

God the Father’s goals in sending Christ was perfectly accomplished… He was glorified, His way of peace was given, and His goodwill was shown to man.   Christ, during His life accomplished these goals, and in doing so, set the perfect example for each one of us to follow.

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When we understand that these were the three goals that God had in mind when He sent Christ to this earth, it only makes sense that these should be the same goals for us, as Christians as we celebrate Christ’s coming. This allows God’s people to actively participate in accomplishing what God intended to take place at Christ’s first coming.

If this is the case, by us striving to fulfill these three goals during our Christmas celebration, we are actively fulfilling God’s will for our lives, and accomplishing much for the cause of Christ.  We are glorifying Him while helping others to come to Christ and grow in God’s grace, reaping eternal rewards for ourselves.  What a  wonderful legacy and spiritual accomplishment for each one of us to leave behind,  as each Christmas holiday comes and goes and our lifetime passes as “a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14 KJV).

 

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So how do we fulfill these three principles during our Christmas celebrations?

  1. God’s glory revealed – We are to judge everything we do during the Christmas holiday through the lens of God’s glory.

As we make our plans and proceed through our holiday may we always ask these two simple questions…

“Does this plan, or activity, bring honor and glory to my Lord?”

“How can my words, or actions, during this activity be used of the Lord to bring honor and glory to His name?”

We are then to proceed with our activities motivated by a singleness of heart to glorify God in our lives…

1 Cor 10:31 KJV – “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

 

 

 

  1. Peace secured between God and Man – During this holiday season, may we be particularly aware of the opportunities open to us to share the gospel message with the lost around us. In doing so, we are giving them the opportunity to accept Christ as their Savior which works peace between God and the lost.

But also, during this time of year we need to be working towards peace between ourselves and others around us.  Are we holding any grudges?  Have we harmed someone with apologizing to them?  Have we somehow caused friction to take place between others?  Is anyone at enmity with us not due to anything we have done?

If so, it is during this time of year that we should be working towards mending those fences.  Many times, simply an apology will do, in other cases, or actively seeking to make amends of a situation or forgiveness on our part will be necessary to bring a healing to these wounds.  If we truly desire to honor the Father’s goal in sending Christ to the earth, we are to do whatever is necessary, when possible, to work reconciliation between ourselves and those with who we suffer division.

Ephesians 4:32 – “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

 

 

 

  1. Unselfish desires for good of others above self – Finally, during this season, we will be blessed with many opportunities to help others by humbling ourselves and, at our personal expense, to meet their needs. The basis of our help should not be limited to those who “deserve” our help, those who “appreciate” our help, nor those who we are “responsible” to help.  Our giving of sacrificial help towards others should be a reflection of our Lord’s sacrifice of himself for us who gave himself for those who did not deserve it, nor did they appreciate it.

Luk 20:13-15 KJV – “Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.   But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.  So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?” 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, by seeking to do the will of God, and use the first coming of Christ in the way that God has desired, we cannot help but feel as if we have accomplished much during the holiday season.   Glorifying God, working peace with those who are estranged from us, and sacrificially helping others who are in need, and setting a Godly example for our family and friends, are great accomplishments in deed.  All of these not only result in temporal gain, but more important they hold great spiritual rewards for God’s people in the world that is to come.

When we are graced by God, allowed to accomplish these goals this holiday season, and Christmas comes to a close, we will be able to look back and see that we have accomplished great things in His name.  Suddenly all the gifts, decorations, social gatherings and other things of this world will take a new, much less significant meaning in our lives.  There will be no reason for frustrations, emptiness, and sadness, for we can know that we have sought to bring about God’s purposes for Christ’s coming… His eternal glory, peace on earth, and goodwill towards all men.

Come to think about it, why not celebrate the first coming of Christ during every day of the year?  We can do this by seeking to fulfill these 3 goals everyday of our lives!

 

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