September 4

Ecclesiastes 7:1–9:18

Wow – there’s a TON of truthful wisdom in the section of Ecclesiastes. Reading through it reminds me of the Proverbs, where almos every verse seems to be a sermon in a sentence.

The importance of a good name (Ecclesiastes 7:1) – speaks of my character, is it Christlike? Am I faithful? Do I keep my word? Is my name associated with good? It takes time to earn a good name.

Most people would rather go to a feast than a funeral, but the truth is, funerals are better for us – it forces us to face the fact…one day I will die. Am I ready?

We hate it (our flesh does) but it’s good to be corrected. If we take it to heart we’ll grow. It’s better to sit in a Bible study and have someone point out our errors, than it is to hear enjoyable music that has no meaning or message that benefits.

Ecclesiastes 7:5 (NKJV) “It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools.”

Beware of anger (it’s one letter shy of danger) (Ecclesiastes 7:9).

…and on, and on, and on, how life is filled with ups and downs. How we need not pay attention to everything everyone says about us, how God made us “upright” but we’ve fallen from grace. How we need to fear God and don’t think for a moment that just because it takes time, we won’t reap what we’ve sown. 

I’ll be the first to admit what Solomon says, that “one thing happens to all,” meaning that we all go through tough times, believers and nonbelievers, “good” and “bad” people suffer or succeed, but the difference is that believers go through it with God, allowing Him to care and carry us through. (Big difference)

I love Solomon’s counsel to live joyfully with the wife of my youth all the days of my life (Ecclesiastes 9:9) (I just take away the word “vain” – I disagree with him on that point).

And yes, whatever we do in life, let’s do it with all of our hearts (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Will people remember us after we die? (Ecclesiastes 9:13-15). Will they remember the good we did? I’m not too sure about that, but this shouldn’t be our concern. Let’s do good while we can, let’s make a difference in the here-and-now, and let’s do our best to please God in both life and death.  

So many points to ponder in this section. What stood out to you? May we grow in wisdom:

Ecclesiastes 7:12b (NKJV) “…wisdom gives life to those who have it…”

2 Corinthians 7:8-16

When Paul initially sent the letter he had regrets – it was very corrective. But after seeing the results – that it brought about genuine repentance, his regrets faded away. I’m reminded of that passage in: 

Proverbs 27:6 (NKJV) “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

It’s every pastor’s dream, that the friends he loves and wounds, would not simply cry because they were caught, but that they would shed genuine tears of repentance, cleansing the soul and bringing about true change.

Paul had boasted to Titus about the Corinthians…and now he’s ecstatic that his words proved to be true!

Did you notice how often the word “comfort” is found in this chapter?

May God comfort you with the good news that He really is working in the hearts of our loved ones.

Psalm 48:1-14

This Psalm is all about God and His city – the city of God – Jerusalem!

“In the city of our God…” (Psalm 48:1, 8)

“The city of the great King…” (Psalm 48:2)

“The city of the LORD of Hosts…” (Psalm 48:8)

Of course in that city, living right there along with the King are the citizens of the Kingdom. Such a beautiful reference to Israel’s Jerusalem, and Heaven’s Jerusalem. God will defend Jerusalem and establish it – forever! If you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, take note, our future city of residence will be Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:10 (NKJV) “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.”

I’ll never forget visiting Israel, and the first time I saw Jerusalem, it brought tears to my eyes. It has a special place in my heart. It all points to a God who loves us so much that He wants to live with us, to be with us. He’s chosen to be gracious to us, and guide us all the way home…to that city of God – “Jerusalem.”

Psalm 48:14 (NKJV) “For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.”

Proverbs 22:17-19

Proverbs 22:17-19 (NKJV) “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge; 18 For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips, 19 So that your trust may be in the Lord; I have instructed you today, even you.”

To incline our ear is to pay close attention. We’ve probably all been guilty of reading the material but not truly soaking it in – we even do that with the Bible sometimes. No – – let’s incline our ears and apply it to our hearts. When I’m done reading the Bible it should change me and the way I behave. If I’m wiling to apply the Bible, I’ll be blessed (pleased) and I’ll even share it with others, for it will be fixed on my lips.

This type of approach to the Word of God reveals my “approach” to God. Do I trust Him? Do I read and heed God’s instruction? Time will tell.

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.

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