Tag Archives: Ecclesiastes

Paths Crossed

Recently, I had to travel through my old stomping grounds. As I drove on by, I remembered some things of old. It was nice to reminisce a little; however, as I continued onward, I rejoiced in the now. There are moments that our paths will cross over our past. We may find ourselves seeing those we once spent a lot of time with in school, or perhaps we head back home to where we “grew up.” When we do this, it doesn’t mean we return to the past. Paths cross, but we can never return to the way things once were.

When I look around, I often see people trying to get back something they lost—something they once had in the past that is now missed. Consider how much money is spent on hair loss treatments and facelifts. Many people try to get back their youth. Others try to live in their high school glory days. But visiting your old high school doesn’t mean you are to return to that time. We look back and remember what God has done. The paths cross for us to see what He has done. To remember. To give Him glory.

Today, we recognize that He is doing a new thing. He is creative and He is making all things new. As He is leading you to something new, don’t cling to the past. If you are grabbing for something from the “good ‘ole days,” you will miss what God has for you now! Today, embrace the right now! Remember, you have been changed. You have been pruned. You have been made new. You cannot return to the old days. Seek His will for this day.

“Do not say, ‘Why is it that the former days were better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.” – Ecclesiastes 7:10 [NASB]

 

Advertisements

Multiplied Words

The Bible talks a lot about those who talk a lot. I have spent a lot of time studying some of the verses about talking a lot because I talk a lot. We are told to be “slow to speak” (James 1:19). We read that, “Too much talk leads to sin.” (Proverbs 10:19). Keeping one’s mouth shut comes from one considered to be “a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:28). The Bible also says that “mere talk leads to poverty” (Proverbs 14:23).

Today’s verse speaks about a fool who multiples words. It also reminds us that no man knows what is going to come. The issue we can see in this verse is that the person is not simply speaking a lot, but the person is a foolish person. Why is the person a foolish person? The only thing we can read into from this verse is that the person is a fool because he is speaking about something that he cannot understand or foresee. Maybe he is a fool for other reasons, but this is the one reason addressed.

We all know that person who is a “know-it-all” type of person. We are called to be humble and speak truth. Often I find myself in the middle of a conversation I know little about so I keep quiet or speak minimally. I don’t know much about pop culture. I don’t know a great deal about sports. It would be foolish for me to start up a full on conversation about these topics. But to the fool mentioned in this verse, he will ramble on and on trying to make it appear like he knows what is going on, like he knows what is to come. This person may talk a lot because he likes the sound of his voice or he is trying to be important in another’s eyes. He may be trying to puff himself up. At times, listeners may even be tempted to believe what the person is saying and possibly be led astray. This person will keep talking even if they no longer know what they are saying is true. This is a bad habit and certainly is a pathway straight to sin (Proverbs 10:19). To avoid being this fool, speak only what is true, and work on your listening skills. You learn a lot more from listening. Be quick to listen (James 1:19).

“A fool multiplies words, though no man knows what is to be, and who can tell him what will be after him?” – Ecclesiastes 10:14 [ESV]

Grain on the Waters

In Ecclesiastes, we read about casting our bread on waters. In doing so, it will be found after many days. We are also advised to not stand around observing the wind instead of sowing the seed. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the Bible gives us great wisdom for handling money and making investments.

The bread that is cast on waters, is actually grain. Note that the word waters or seas—this is important. This means that it is not that you are casting your grain in one place, but that you are spreading things out. This means you don’t put all your apples in one basket. Practically living this out means you have a budget that includes not only your general life bills (housing, utilities, transportation, etc.), but room for giving and room for saving. It also means you shouldn’t simply save for one thing, but rather save in different ways. For me, I follow what Dave Ramsey teaches in his Financial Peace University, which is a biblically based teaching. There is emergency fund, vacation saving, car saving, etc. Giving is the same way. On top of the church tithe, we are blessed to be a blessing in other ways. This may include supporting other ministries, fundraisers, and even blessing someone you personally know who is in need.

Notice this passage speaks about tossing out this grain upon the waters (remember multiple areas) and not hold back waiting to see if there’s a sure thing. This doesn’t mean that you are carelessly tossing money in the air and watching it fly away. This means you are trusting God with your money, with all your investments. If you continue reading, note that the passage mentions the work of God who makes everything. Solomon proceeds to advise us to sow in the morning and evening, that we do not know what is going to prosper. We simply trust God. Today, cast your bread upon the waters. If you are not in control of your money, you won’t want to cast it. If that is the case, dig deeper into what God’s Word teaches about money. Check into more information about Dave Ramsey material. Remember, we aren’t meant to cling—we are to cast. Peace is available my friends.

“Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth. If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth, and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie. He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” – Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 [ESV]

For more info about Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, check out his website.

You Don’t Know

“Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.” – Job 10:8-12 [NIV]

You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me.” – Job 30:21

“You have become cruel (NLT) – basically saying God changed toward him.

1) God does not change

Malachi 3:6a says, “I am the LORD, and I do not change.” (NIV)

Job realized that God was gracious, kind, and his Creator

But thinks God changed because of his situation.

2) God does not think like us

“’My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the LORD. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.’” – Isaiah 55:8 [NLT]

“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” – Psalm 139:16 [NASB]

3) We cannot understand everything

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11 [NLT]

“I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.” – Ecclesiastes 8:17 [NLT]

“God’s riches, wisdom, and knowledge are so deep that it is impossible to explain his decisions or to understand his ways.” – Romans 11:33 [GW]

“Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.” – Ecclesiastes 11:5 [NLT]

4) Ask – Show me Your ways

Moses said to God, “If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that this nation is your very own people.” – Exodus 33:13 [NLT]

“Now show me Your glory” (v. 18)

I want to KNOW YOU

I want to SEE YOU

I want to BE IN YOUR PRESENCE

Psalm 103:7, the Psalmist writes,

He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.” [NASB]

God’s ways must be MADE KNOWN.

  • He MADE KNOWN them to Moses
    • Ways – Intimate Relationship
    • Know God (Hosea 6:6)
  • To the Israelites He taught them by His actions, but his words were concealed. The relationship wasn’t the deep relationship like that He had with Moses.
    • Works – Observation – What God does
    • Parting Red Sea / Water from Rock / Walls of Jericho

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

– Jeremiah 29:13 [NASB]

Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” – James 4:8a [NLT]
“I long to look on the face of the One that I love
Long to stay in Your presence, it’s where I belong”

(Jesus Culture “Show Me Your Glory”)

Download You Don’t Know Outline

Hard-Pressed Relief Outline

Hard-Pressed Relief

2 Corinthians 8:13-14 – “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.” (ESV) BURDEN & EASE

If one member of the body suffers – all suffer – 1 Corinthians 12:26

Burden causes fatigue, struggle, drowning—become overwhelmed & even angry

Yet we are to “Serve with gladness” – Psalm 100:2

  • Delegation – You Cannot Do Everything
  1. Jethro & Moses (Exodus 18)
  2. Seven chosen for distribution including Stephen & Philip (Acts 6)
    1. Good reputation / Full of Spirit / Full of wisdom
    2. Know gifts / don’t serve in all areas – serve where you can give your all
    3. Not burdened that others may live at ease. Remember Exodus 16:18 – Manna was gathered and there was “nothing left over” and there was “no lack.” Each one gathered as much as they could eat.
  • Recognize Burden – Take Note When You Are Drowning & Speak Up
    1. Moses says: “I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me” [Numbers 11:14 ESV]
    2. “Gather for me seventy of the elders… and I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.” [v. 16-17 ESV]
    3. Two is Better Than One [Ecclesiastes 4:9-12] – “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a three-fold cord is not quickly broken.”(ESV)
  • Jesus Above All
    1. Guard the Gospel [2 Timothy 1:12-14] “Which is why I suffer as I do. But I’m not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what he has entrusted to me. Following the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” (ESV)
    2. Keep aware not to take away from another’s walk. Equip. Empower.

Ephesians 4:15-16 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (ESV)

Download Hard-Pressed Relief Outline from Dropbox

As Empty as Wind

We read in Isaiah that the idols are “empty as the wind.” When we think of wind, you don’t see anything there. It’s this movement of air. You can’t see it. The only reason you can tell the air is moving is because you see trees dancing in the wind or lightweight objects like leaves are carried by the strength of the wind. Or perhaps you feel the air blowing on your skin or through your hair.

The Bible says that idols are “foolish, worthless things.” When we think of idols, we often think of the man-made items that the people in biblical times worshiped. We read about different gods they worshiped that were made of wood or other materials and looked like an animal. But man-made idols can be anything that takes the place of God.

Ecclesiastes speaks of chasing the wind. Solomon writes of everything being meaningless. But what does that mean? Is everything meaningless? Is life meaningless? Not at all. Solomon understood that meaning could only be found in God.  The idols we have on this earth—for some people it is money, a career, family, a particular person, gambling, etc—are all foolish, worthless things that cannot do a thing for us. With Jesus Christ we find meaning. There is no emptiness; there is only fullness. He satisfies completely. He makes whole. He completes.

“See, they are all foolish, worthless things. All your idols are as empty as the wind.” – Isaiah 41:29 [NLT]

 

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

A Great Tragedy

We all have different images that come to mind when we hear the phrase “tragedy.” In Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote that “a great tragedy” was that people who would “work wisely with knowledge and skill” would end up leaving the fruits of their labor to someone else, “someone who hasn’t worked for it.” Imagine your job. You invest your whole life excelling and doing great things for your area of business. Then one day, all the reward for that hard work goes to someone else who was not around for all those late nights you put in at the office. Imagine working hard since you were of age to work, but then having it all taken from you to get a bed at the county nursing home. To many people, these examples are to them “a great tragedy.”

What we need to always remember is that we are only here temporarily. We are not here building a huge dynasty for ourselves, but rather, we are here to fulfill the purpose our Lord has planned for our lives. We each have a purpose—we each are significant and have a great contribution to make to the world. It is a great tragedy to work so hard and for it to seem meaningless. But it’s a greater tragedy when we do not know our true purpose in life—when we do not have a relationship with Christ.

We have a choice. We can work hard to have this “great tragedy” or we can work hard serving the Lord with joy. We can work hard to build up something here on earth or we can work hard so that God gets the glory He alone deserves. We will all face this great tragedy and it is a great tragedy—but we will receive something so much better than anything we could have here on earth. Let us continue to serve the Lord with joy, awaiting this beautiful, “great tragedy.”

“Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn’t worked for it. This, too, is meaningless, a great tragedy.” – Ecclesiastes 2:21 [NLT]

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

With Ears Open

People like to talk. I know I talk a lot, sometimes more than I should. Solomon advised that when we “enter the house of God” we are to do two things. We are to keep our ears open and we are to keep our mouth shut. If we are not entering the house of God with ears to listen, why are we even there? We are to approach the Lord for wisdom, for guidance, to seek His will for our lives.

At the same time, Solomon says that we need to keep our mouths shut. Why? Because we tend to approach God and tell Him what we want—what our plan is for our lives. But that’s not necessarily what God wants for our lives. If we are too busy telling God what we want Him to do, we are not focused on listening to Him tell us what we were made to do, what is our purpose—the plan for our life.

Today consider how you enter the house of God. Consider how you read and study your Bible. Do you have your ears open? Do you have your mouth shut? Are you listening for what God has to say or are you using your mouth to interject with your instructions?

“As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.” – Ecclesiastes 5:1 [NLT]

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

Sharpen the Blade

I remember an old pair of scissors I owned. I loved those scissors but as time moved on they did not work like they once did because the blades were dull. When cutting a piece of meat, you want to pick a good knife. You want to be able to cut through the piece swiftly rather than sawing the thing till it looks like a mess. Most people have knife sharpeners for that reason.

Solomon mentioned the extra strength that is needed to cut with something like a dull ax. More energy is needed when a blade is dull. He made it clear –“Sharpen the blade.” He further states that wisdom helps you to succeed. So how do we sharpen our blades? How do we get this wisdom that will help us to succeed?

I try to sharpen my blade daily because each day brings us new challenges, new temptations, new situations. We need to be able to stand firm. We need our blade sharp. Read your Bible. Be intentional about it. In the morning, the first thing I do before my feet hit the floor is read my morning devotional. It is as if to say, “No thank you devil. My day is for God. I’m going to have a God day.” Then I spend my lunch with God and His Word. I sit alone and eat some fruit, and then I turn to the Word. Finally, in the evening before I turn in for the night, I grab my Bible once again. Sharpen your blade so you can stand firm.

“Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.” – Ecclesiastes 10:10 [NLT]

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo

Perfect Weather

Have you ever given an excuse that you were waiting for the right moment to do something? Solomon wrote that “farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.” And because “they watch every cloud, they never harvest.” If you do not get started with something, how will you ever get to the finish line?

When it comes to what God is calling you to do, if He says it is time to get started, we cannot sit and wait for the “perfect weather.” We all are weak and are only able to accomplish what we were created to do through God’s strength. Yes we must wait for God, but when He’s telling us to move forward, it is time. We should not be sitting around waiting for something else to happen for us to move. We shouldn’t say we are not ready because God says we are ready—through Christ we are ready.

Today do not sit around watching every cloud. There is work to be done. We need to plant so we can later harvest. If we wait around for the perfect time, we will find that there is no perfect time than the time God has chosen. He has a beautiful plan—trust it!

“Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.” – Ecclesiastes 11:4 [NLT]

FearNot Logo EDITED FINAL square logo