We try to understand God's plan, but we can never know all of it; and we couldn't handle that knowledge anyway. Life is full of spiritual mystery. What can and should we do as we live through this reality?
Ecclesiastes 8:12-17 are addressed primarily to the wise employee of a despotic king. Though we are not all government employees, all of God's people can learn a wise disposition while we live under human government from these verses.
Ecclesiastes 8:1-15 is our last set of verses in the third section of this book. These verses tell us how to respond to darkness in government. Ecclesiastes 8:15 sums up the conclusion of the whole section: an exhortation to enjoy life. We should never let inequity in government distract us from living joyfully as Christians.
In Solomon's discussion of living life on purpose, we have studied a bold determination in Ecclesiastes 7:15-18. We now turn to a balanced assessment and some benign reminders.
At first reading, Ecclesiastes 7:15-18 seems to advocate being a little bit wicked. But this interpretation would not fit with the rest of Scripture. Instead, Solomon is showing that excessively applying righteousness and piling on wickedness are both dangerous. We should not come to conclusions about a person's character too quickly.
In our American church context, we are all wealthy compared to the rest of the world. So there is much for us to learn from Solomon's wisdom for wealthy people in this section of Ecclesiastes.
We are studying the third section of Ecclesiastes, which instructs us on how to rejoice in hard times. Joy is the reality of the believer who lives in the blessed will of God (Ecclesiastes 8:15). With the proper perspective, believers can enjoy all God's good gifts, but if distracted from eternal purpose, we will doubt the integrity of God and His providence.
Ecclesiastes 5:8-17 show that God is comfortable talking about politics and finance. These topics often cause tension, but we can converse confidently about what God says about each of these areas of human life.
This week, our study of Ecclesiastes moves from chapter 4's examination of oppression, competition, isolation, and position to adoration in chapter 5. While living through the difficulties of a broken world, God wants us to know His will and be refreshed when we come to worship Him. Solomon shares 3 aspects of wisdom to prepare our hearts for worship.
We are expected to pursue human wisdom and enjoy that pursuit while understanding that only God's wisdom will satisfy us in Jesus Christ.
Human wisdom robs our joy. Left to our own thinking, life doesn't make much sense. Lived with God's wisdom, life can be enjoyed.
Ecclesiastes 1:3-11 could be interpreted quite negatively. If the purpose of the book is to help us know how to live with joy, this cannot be the ultimate interpretation. This passage exemplifies 4 thought patterns that can rob our joy. Unbelievers can approach these negatively or positively. How should believers respond to these thoughts?
It's important to understand the God of wisdom before trying to understand practical living. Ecclesiastes has much to say about who God is.
Solomon's exhortation to "eat, drink, and be merry" does not mean we should live in excess, but simply that we must keep living however difficult our circumstances. God wants us to enjoy every area of life within His parameters (1 Thessalonians 4:1-2).
We have spent the first part of this year studying how to walk in a way that pleases God by living His character. The next book we will study as a church family is one that shows us how to do this.
Alva J. McClain said, "the person who knows well the first 11 chapters of the book of Romans knows more about the philosophy of human history than all the wisest historians that the world has ever seen. There is a philosophy of history here that is unmatched. It makes the historians on the earth appear like children playing with their toys." This passage simplifies what man has complicated. Paul reflects on the beauty of simplicity in salvation: humanity is composed of 2 groups of people, who both have 1 Savior. God has given our biggest difficulty the simplest solution in Jesus Christ.
Romans 11:33-36 is so rich, we are going to study it in small portions. This week, we focus on verse 33 as preparation for the rest of the passage. Paul's doxology is a hymn of praise for what God has done in salvation history. This is a natural response of a Spirit-filled, born-again Christian.
As humans, we need to understand the axioms of existence. What is the big picture? What are the fundamental presuppositions of the universe? As we read the book of Psalms, what is the underlying galvanizing reality that underpins them all?
Independence Day weekend is filled with national interest, with many looking to our government for happiness. Psalm 1, however, identifies the individual and their relationship to God's Word as the true source of happiness. Your relationship to God’s Word determines your state of being.
Have you been a victim of evildoers? We all have been touched by the presence of evil as the cumulative effect of sin in our culture. The Psalms have much to teach us about how God's people are to respond when they are touched by evil. Our time and culture is not uniquely distressing: God's people in every age have lived with the impact of evil on their lives. Psalm 37 shows David's personal response to encountering evil in his life.
On Palm Sunday, the crowd shouted "Hosanna" as Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem. The word means "Save now!" They certainly wanted a conquering king to overpower Rome at that time. But this was not God's plan. His plan of salvation went beyond human wisdom.
The issue of salvation really comes down to a question of authority. Who will I believe? By what wisdom will I live my life? King David gives his recommendation in Psalm 36. This wisdom psalm reveals secrets of life to help us navigate life as God intended. David was the king over the nation of Israel, with a powerful army at his command and many wise advisors. Furthermore, he had a privileged place in salvation history – the promised Messiah would come through his line. Yet he directs the people of Israel to look to the Lord for wisdom.
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