This Week’s Readings
Monday, June 18: Ecclesiastes 1-4
Tuesday, June 19: Ecclesiastes 5-8
Wednesday, June 20: Ecclesiastes 9-12
Thursday, June 21: Song of Solomon 1-4
Friday, June 22: Song of Solomon 5-8
Next week we will read the Gospel of John.
The overall year’s plan is here.
Now Ecclesiastes becomes a lot like Proverbs and is full of advice. If you’ve never memorized any verses out of Ecclesiastes before, now is you chance to do so. A lot of the proverbs and instructions in Ecclesiastes are well worth remembering.
Have you ever been told to keep your words few when you pray? That is the instruction verse 2. Prayer should be two way communication with God.
Many Christians have no experience with this kind of prayer. They simply offer up petitions to God, sometimes with thanksgiving as well. However, to purposely keep your words few in the presence of God and purposefully listen, this is the instruction of Solomon and the Holy Spirit. After all, if you can be talking or God can be talking, who should get first priority?
If you have no experience with this kind of prayer, don’t give up on the first day. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him (Heb. 11:6). Finding out how to hear God and how to be still before God (Ps. 46:10) is part of diligently seeking him.
I don’t mean that you will hear a voice or that you will be able to recount words. However, you should be able to enter his presence with thanksgiving and praise (Ps. 100) and with confidence because of the blood of Jesus Christ (Heb. 4:16). As you diligently seek him in this way, you will begin to learn to listen not just in prayer but all the time, and you will learn to recognize the voice of the Shepherd of your soul.
Solomon asks questions that he himself answers in the book of Proverbs. "What advantage does a wise man have over a fool?" Read Proverbs, it deals with that subject over and over again.
Solomon is still working through a thought process that is pretty depressing. (This is not the chapter I was recommending memorizing!) However, it is a process that builds to chapter 12.
This is the sort of chapter I was talking about memorizing.
Solomon’s words about feasting and pleasure versus mourning and sorrow are very true. I heard Barry McGuire sing a song once that expressed Solomon’s thoughts very pertinently:
I walked a mile with Gladness
She chattered all the way
But nary a thing learned I
For all she had to say
I walked a mile with Sadness
Nary a word said she
But oh the things I learned from her
When sorrow walked with me
The rest of this chapter is very thought-provoking. It’s ironic that Solomon talks about the snares, nets, and chains of a woman’s heart and hands since his wives were his downfall.
Read this chapter’s words remembering that inspiration is spiritual, and you, being born again, are spiritual as well. God has things to say through words like this that are figurative and that we should look for as spiritual beings.
Solomon’ laments are true … for the natural man. Much of what he has to say explains why Jesus came to die and rise again, triumphing over death and delivering us from our sins, and we have read today that everyone sins.
From a natural, human standpoint, there is much futility and striving after wind. What profit is there in all we do? Just try to labor and enjoy your few years upon this earth.
But Jesus has made us children of God, partakers of immortality. God can make us full of joy with his presence, and his right hand will give us pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16:11).
An eternal perspective allows us to live in joy and hope, especially when we have already received a deposit on our eternal inheritance, that deposit being the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14).