| Ecclesiastes 7:10 NASB|
Ecclesiastes 7:10 NASB
10 Do not say, Why is it that the former days were better than these?
For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.
This verse seems to be inserted here in the middle of other topics and one is left wondering why it is placed here? Regardless where it is placed, its message is powerful.
When I am given to reminiscing, comparing the old vs the modern, I always feel a check in my spirit because of this verse. As one ages the differences one sees in life now vs years ago is stark, maddening. The NT teaches us that things will get worse towards the end. John, the Revelator, had a similar message to the churches "remember from whence you are fallen..." So, to make this observation must not be wrong. So, then what is Solomon saying?
When we look back, recall life as it appeared years ago, we really do not know what went on in the hearts of people. People were skilled hypocrites, putting on a religious front leading people to think they were godly when they were corrupt at the core. People had a persona to protect and their sins were swept under the carpet, so to speak. Many lived a double lifestyle.
I remember as a young woman when I first heard of an evangelist who molested a young girl, impregnating her and the results - other then a pregnancy. (Actually, Catherine Marshal shared a similar story in her book "Christy". While I know it is a work of fiction, I am aware these things did happen in real life.) And I was shocked.
Now, since I know this to be the reality, this is knowledge.
Wisdom dictates that I refrain from saying, and believing, that life was better back then.
Since this is the case, it forces the individual to live in the here and now and make decisions based on the Holy Spirit's leading NOW; not based on what appeared to have served us well in the past.
When I think of this I am always reminded of Moses. Twice he got water from the rock for the Israelites. The first time he was told to strike the rock. Exo. 17:6. Since he was told to do so the first time, he proceeded to do so the second time in violation to God's command to speak. God is very particular that we follow him - now - absolutely, regardless of our past. What worked back then may not now.
Yes, LORD....we do need you to teach us to recognize your voice when you speak....
| 2011/6/22 11:33||Profile|
| Re: Ecclesiastes 7:10 NASB|
Thank you, Ginnyrose...I have been guilty COUNTLESS times of lamenting to my children about "the good old days". But really the good old days were no better - things were just more "covered up". The Lord has brought this verse to my mind many times as well. I am blessed by your Ecclesiastes series...
| 2011/6/22 12:51||Profile|
| Re: |
I have been guilty COUNTLESS times of lamenting to my children about "the good old days".
Join the crowd - it is crowded...
EDIT: I love the book of Ecclesiastes - ranks as among my favorite OT books. It is so practical, blunt, to the point. Teaches profound truths about life and how we fit into the scheme of it. My goal in this series is to awaken others to the richness included therein.
| 2011/6/23 17:09||Profile|
| Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 NASB|
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 NASB
13 Consider the work of God,
For who is able to straighten what He has bent?
14 In the day of prosperity be happy,
But in the day of adversity consider
God has made the one as well as the other
So that man will not discover anything that will be after him
What all does the work of God include?
1. Bent things
OH, really? Yup...
God bents things? Says so.
God blesses people with prosperity? We like this.
God responsible for adversity? Yes, madam/sir.
Why so? to remove the predictability of life.
When God chooses to bend things it brings with it adversity. And it does no good to fight it. We may complain, rail against God for allowing it but who wins then? You? not at all. But the devil sure will.
When we find life unpredictable - and who doesn't - we learn first hand about the importance of learning to trust the LORD because even our best laid plans can, and do, go awry.
And this is where God wants us: to teach us the uncertainty of our best laid plans, the unreliability of strong people, the fragility of the best secure systems in the world. God wants us to trust him unconditionally. If we do so, the situations one finds himself in will be regarded by us as a tool God is using to teach us.
Are we up to it?
| 2011/6/23 17:25||Profile|
| Ecclesiastes 7:15-18 NASB|
Ecclesiastes 7:15-18 NASB
15 I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness.
16 Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?
17 Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time?
18 It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.
This is perhaps the most difficult portion in Ecclesiastes to understand..."Do not be excessively wicked" sounds like it is ok to be a little wicked. But I will share what it teaches me.
The topic here deals with righteousness and wickedness: being right or wrong.
Being righteous does not promise a person that life will be easy - in fact it will likely evoke opposition and maybe persecution. One does not pursue righteousness with God as a means to prolong his life. It may kill you in the prime of life.
On the other hand one sees the ungodly and observes how life seems to be so pleasant and easy - assuming they do follow a moral code (and many do, or at least portions of one).
Now then, is it ok to let go of this sticky point that gets me in trouble to save my hide? to make life easier? Then one has to ask: is this point a matter of conviction based on the Word, or a matter of opinion based on personal preferences? Preferences can always be compromised without sacrificing conviction.
(At times it is hard to distinguish personal preferences from conviction. For many they can be so entwined that its possessor cannot tell the difference.)
Then there is perfectionism vs excellence - big difference between the two. Perfectionism is never satisfied; it appears to be excellence wrapped up in pride. The perfectionist is never satisfied but the person who pursues excellence is. This is how I would understand v. 16.
In our community we have a couple churches who used to excommunicate members very quickly. Then it was noticed how these people would go out into the depths of sin. Their mindset was that since I am going to hell, anyways, I am really going to live it up, enjoy the pleasures of sin to the max. And they did. But when they do come back to the LORD they had so terrible much baggage to deal with...Yes, excessive wickedness will kill.
In the end, realize your options, the advantages and disadvantages. You can live for self and prolong your life - if you follow a moral code. You can also live for the LORD and die young. But be sure you are not foolish in hanging onto to things that do endanger you life that have no eternal value in itself. Be objective and keen to the teaching of the Holy Spirit in these touchy matters as well as all of life.
How do y'all understand this passage?
| 2011/6/24 11:10||Profile|
| Ecclesiastes 7:19-29 NASB|
Ecclesiastes 7:19-29 NASB
19 Wisdom strengthens a wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.
20 Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.
21 Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you.
22 For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.
23 I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, I will be wise, but it was far from me.
24 What has been is remote and exceedingly mysterious. Who can discover it?
25I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness.
26 And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.
27 Behold, I have discovered this, says the Preacher, adding one thing to another to find an explanation,
28 which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these.
29 Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.
Solomon makes the observation that wisdom strengthens a wise man more then ten rulers - a very strong statement. This could be the motivation for him to work to plumb its depths. Having said this his conclusion in 1:17 was that it is striving after wind...how is that? one cannot catch wind... So, to fully understand it, be controlled by it always is elusive? still, as a wise man he worked to to always be wise...consider his observations here in 7:19-29.
1. There is no righteous man that continually does good and never sins.
2. Do not take seriously everything you hear. If you do, people will mistrust you because you will be making decisions based on faulty information. (My interpretation.)
3. History's lessons are incomplete in teaching wisdom.
4. Researching the answers to life is elusive.
5. One cannot look to man for absolute answers. (Philosophy is faulty.)
6. The worst thing that can happen to a man is to be ensnared by a devious woman.
7. That God made man to be upright but he looks for ways to walk away from it.
Man just just not have it within himself to be wise at all times, does he? Good ego buster... So, then, what is the solution? Let us continue, the answer is forthcoming - the problem is not without a solution.
| 2011/6/27 9:56||Profile|
| Ecclesiastes 8:1-9 NASB|
Ecclesiastes 8:1-9 NASB
1 Who is like the wise man and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A mans wisdom illumines him and causes his stern face to beam.
2 I say, Keep the command of the king because of the oath before God.
3 Do not be in a hurry to leave him. Do not join in an evil matter, for he will do whatever he pleases.
4 Since the word of the king is authoritative, who will say to him, What are you doing?
5He who keeps a royal command experiences no trouble, for a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure.
6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight, though a mans trouble is heavy upon him.
7 If no one knows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen?
8 No man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind, or authority over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and evil will not deliver those who practice it.
9 All this I have seen and applied my mind to every deed that has been done under the sun wherein a man has exercised authority over another man to his hurt.
Authority. How does one relate to authority? to those who weld power over us? The NT uses the word 'submit'. Here in the OT it shares details on how this can be done and the results of the failure to do so. Let us take a look.
How do I relate to authority?
1. Keep a cheerful face. One that looks pickled, angry is one that communicates distrust. You want this authority figure to mistrust you?
2. Submit to the Authority because he is placed there by God.
3. When in his presence, do not rush him. v3. You need to learn how he functions, his will. This is essential in getting along. v5. He will do as he pleases regardless of you.
4. Do not get involved in any evil deed because Authority has the power to respond to it and get you into trouble.
5. Do not question the authority of the powers that be.
6. You will save yourself a lot of grief by submitting to Authority.
7. Things take time. Procedures must be followed. When you are in trouble this perspective is lost to the emotions.
8. Authority does not know everything, either.
Limitations of Authority
1. There are limits.
2. Authority cannot prevent death.
3. In a conflict, Authority cannot remove you from it and the ensuing battle.
4. When in trouble Authority cannot save you from its consequences.
How do I regard Authority figures over me? Solomon says that to disregard it brings a body to hurt...
| 2011/6/28 9:36||Profile|
| Ecclesiastes8:10-15 NASB|
10 So then, I have seen the wicked buried, those who used to go in and out from the holy place, and they are soon forgotten in the city where they did thus. This too is futility.
11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.
12 Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly.
13 But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God.
14 There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility.
15 So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.
The life of an evil person is contrasted with the righteous one.
Consider the life of the evil person:
1. Both live and die, and are buried. And their memory is son begotten. v10
2. An evil person's deeds may go unchecked and he will persist in his wickedness
3. An evil person just might lengthen his days. v11
4. It will not be well for the evil person. v. 13
5. Evil folks may experience ease of life. v14
The Righteous person:
1. Lives and dies and will soon be forgotten
2. It will be well for those who fear God openly (note this word: openly)
3. Life will not be fair for the righteous. He will experience adversity.
4. Life may not be predictable for the righteous.
So, then, how can life for the righteous still be superior to the wicked man's? Is it because he has the capacity to enjoy life at the present? He can enjoy the blessings that come his way, every moment - appreciate it? Does Trust not free one from worry and relax a body, enabling a person to enjoy life at the moment? even in the face of adversity? Does adversity not expose a person to an opportunity for God to step in and show himself for who he is: demonstrate his power, his might and love?
| 2011/6/29 9:32||Profile|
| Re: Ecclesiastes8:10-15 NASB|
More comment concerning:
11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.
This verse informs us how important it is to confront evil when it is committed. For many of us it includes the discipline of children when they disobey. "Just wait until daddy gets home" is not wise. Moms need to take a stand against disobedience immediately, not postpone it until dad gets home.
On the social level, when evil men are not restrained it will only encourage more evil because they have eluded justice: they become bolder and more wicked with time. Some could use this verse to justify the need to hurry the process in which the offender will face the judge/jury.
| 2011/6/29 9:38||Profile|
| Ecclesiastes 8:16-9:1 NASB|
Ecclesiastes 8:16-9:1 NASB
16 When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth (even though one should never sleep day or night),
17 and I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, I know, he cannot discover.
1 For I have taken all this to my heart and explain it that righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God. Man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him.
In this portion Solomon cuts to the heart of the matter.
Solomon's goal was learn all he could about life, about nature around him. And he did a very impressive job. Consider the testimony he left:
1Kings 4:30-34 NASB
30 Solomons wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.
31 For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations.
32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.
33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish.
34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.
When he says that he was wiser then others, it is no idle boast, but a fact.
In any case, when he studied and learned all he could about life, whether it be human nature, or plants, animals or birds or...he had one conclusion: it is impossible to know it all. And even if man were to try to learn it all, it is a gesture doomed to failure.
Solomon attributed the creation to the Work of God. Let us think about this a bit: if one can know everything there is to know, then that would mean man has the capability of knowing as much as God. Sounds to me like God made things to confound man, to impress upon him his own limitations. Once man realizes this fact, we can only fall on our face and say like Thomas, "Oh, my Lord and my God!"
Since man is finite, man cannot accurately predict the future, not even tomorrow. We do not know whether we will encounter love or hatred.
It is not when we encounter the unexpected that we usually trip up because we are taken by surprise, and our responses are spontaneous, which comes from the heart? Ooohhh, kind of demonstrates what we are at heart, does it not?
All of our life is in the hand of God. Since this is the case, we do well to cooperate with this all-powerful God. Man has never fought God successfully and never will. He will always fail. Always.
(NOTE: about the way the physical world works. Whenever man invents something, it is subject to break downs, will eventually wear out and become useless and/or obsolete. Then man has to improve or discard previous instruments. God, on the other hand made his creation to multiply, like with like, generations after generations. Even mutations are similar from which them come from. God never had to reinvent, redesign anything..Awesome! This is MY GOD! Hallelujah!)
| 2011/6/30 10:50||Profile|