The aged Solomon has seen much heartache over the years of his life, and for the most part, it’s turned him into a pessimistic person.
Our heart DOES ache when we consider all the oppressed in this world – but for Solomon to say that it would be better if one never existed, eliminates the possibility of love we can experience in a relationship with God.
Solomon goes on to write his observations about life in general, some are simple facts, others are words of counsel.
I’ve always loved Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and I’ve applied it to marriage over the years, but the preceding statement in Ecclesiastes 4:8 mentions a son or sibling as a companion. Ultimately, none of us should ever be alone. Cultivate friendships, hold on to your family, and yes, cherish your marriage…and don’t forget that “threefold cord,” – God is the glue and most important “Person” in any relationship.
Solomon advises us to walk prudently when we go to church service, to draw near to hear God’s Word (Ecclesiastes 5:1) great counsel.
We need to be careful not to say anything rash with our lips – Solomon especially highlights any rash vows that might be uttered before God.
As you read between the lines a little, it seems to me that Solomon is saying it’s better to be a simple middle-class worker, a laborer whose sleep is sweet, and whose soul is satisfied, than it is to be that rich person who loves silver and “stuff,” – for that person will never be satisfied (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
2 Corinthians 6:14–7:7
Another issue pressing on Paul’s heart was his warning to the church not to be unequally yoked. A yoke is when you have two animals connected – carrying or pulling a load together. This is applicable to a best-friend, or a business partnership, but it is most frequently seen in dating and marriage. If you’re a Christian, please, please make absolutely sure that you don’t enter in to any of these types of relationships with a non-believer. The most important part of your life is God, so imagine the horror of spending the rest of your life with someone who doesn’t share that part (the most important part) of your life. There will be no fellowship, no communion, what will happen to your children? The truth is that a non-believer might even turn you away from the Lord. My friend, please, be so careful – make SURE they’re a Christian – don’t chance it. And don’t get trapped in “missionary dating.” That person might go to church with you and pretend to be a Christian, only to get your hand in marriage, but then, after you’re married the true colors will show; you may live the rest of your life in the realm of regret.
Continuing on with a conclusion from chapter 6, Paul wants the Corinthians to claim those beautiful promises – that God would dwell among them, that God would be their people, that God would be their Father. If these are the bountiful blessings of the Christian life, our response should be exactly what we read in 2 Corinthians 7:1 – “…let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness,” let us truly be holy – how? With a healthy fear of God!
This letter finds Paul frequently defending his ministry, appealing to the people that he was genuinely called by God – that he truly cared. In spite of the lies that had been spread about him, the truth is, they hadn’t wronged, cheated, or corrupted anyone. This is very important. Ministers one day will give an account of how they treated people, how they spent God’s money, and how they handled and lived God’s Word. Paul wasn’t trying to condemn the Corinthians; he and his team loved the Corinthians to the point that they even had them in their hearts – to die and live together (2 Corinthians 7:3) – wow! I’ve always said, “A shepherd’s work can never be done without a shepherd’s heart.”
Remember, Paul had sent Titus with a harsh letter of correction, and he wasn’t sure how the Corinthians would receive it. The great Apostle Paul was troubled, worried, conflicted, and we even read at the end of v. 5 that “…inside were fears.” I’m almost ashamed to say it, but it’s true, I can relate to those feelings (emotions) as a pastor. You wonder how “so-and-so” is doing, and it weighs heavy on your heart. You do your best to give them the Word and you wonder what the “results” will be.
In this case, Paul was comforted by God, for when Titus came, he arrived with good news, that the Corinthians were not only receptive to the letter, but they were earnest, they mourned over their sins, and they were even zealous for Paul. It wasn’t that Paul wanted to be esteemed, per se, it’s just that Paul wanted so much to maintain that relationship he had with them because he cared about their walks with God.
As a pastor I learn so much from Paul…and how he cared for the people.
Psalm 47 emphasizes the fact that God is the King over all the earth, and as King He will rule the earth. It just so happens that this King also loves us (Psalm 47:4), He will defeat those who oppose us (Psalm 47:3), we can therefore clap and SHOUT with a voice of triumph (Psalm 47:1).
Have you ever shouted out loud…with a voice of triumph?
Do you know this about the Lord our God who is over ALL the earth?
Do you know this about God who loves you dearly and gives you the victory, even in suffering? (Romans 8:37)
Do you understand how you stand?
Psalm 47:7 (NKJV) “For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with understanding.”
Proverbs 22:16 (NKJV) “He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty.”
Here we once again see God’s passion for justice, His heart for the poor, and His warning to the wealthy wicked.
Why would rich people do such things? For more riches…the eyes of man are never satisfied.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.