God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20 - Ecclesiastes 7-12: Solomon Says Live It Up!

Today’s Reading: Ecclesiastes 7-12

The Message

English Standard Version

Ecclesiastes, book 14, is finished today. Enjoy!

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Solomon encourages a balanced life in every way.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

A good reputation exemplifies a life worth emulating. Don't pine for the past.
Fear God and deal with all reality.
Full wisdom would drown humans. We mess everything up.
Obey your orders. No one can control everything.
Everyone dies but only the righteous have a full life.
God rejoices with our rejoicing. So make the most of life!
Young people, go for it! However, all intentions are judged by God, so develop a habit of honoring God. Everything else is vanishing smoke.
In the end, there is no better advice than this: fear God and do what He says.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Ecclesiastes presents a hard truth: the benefits of being good are not always evident.

Wisdom is a wonderful addition to a character. However, human wisdom cannot make sense of all things. Solomon, the wisest man of his time, could not answer some of the hardest questions we wrestle with today. For example, why do bad things happen to good people? Solomon's answer is disconcerting—it is unknown, so best not to devote yourself to becoming good or evil. Enjoy life without obsessing over "good" vs. "evil." Remember that all actions will eventually come to light and you will be judged based on your intentions. If you wish for everyone to know what you are doing, do it. If not, don't. However, everyone dies in the end. Being good doesn't give extra life or an easier life. It only gives an inner-peaceful life.

God takes pleasure in our pleasure.

Christians sometimes get a bad reputation (unearned mostly) of being sticks in the mud. Certainly this was true in our Puritan past; however, scripture does not suggest it and Christians now have mostly left that idea behind. Solomon clearly pushes us to live life to the fullest! Take pleasure in life! Each day is God's gift!

Young people should be encouraged to develop a habit of both praise to God and pleasure in life.

One of the main reasons many young people do not see a need for a community of Christians is because they think God takes away pleasure. I don't mean what would be destructive acts, either. Not all young people want to destroy themselves with drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, etc. Solomon encourages young people to both enjoy the pleasures of life and honor God. Be impulsive! Pursue that crazy dream! Remember, though, everything is vanishing smoke and everyone's intent must answer to God. When we read all of scripture we understand that life is not so serious that any mistake is the same as a sin.

Too much study will wear you out.

This is easy to comprehend for a student. It is also strange coming from the person who wrote most of Proverbs and has written over five thousand words in this book alone. Too much theoretical study will make a person useless in life. Go get practical knowledge! To summarize his entire book Solomon writes, "Fear God. / Do what he tells you" (12:13, The Message). Other books and/or self-help gurus make happiness sound too complicated. It will all work out for those who want to set things right with God.

Are you enjoying life or trying to live "the godly, chaste life?"

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