Day 164 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Ecclesiastes.
Ecclesiastes 5 & 6 – Because life and all that is needed for it are from the Lord, we remain humble before Him: in worship, listening to His Word in planning, speaking, and dreaming of what we will do with our lives, to honor Him. While our public worship should be celebratory, it is also filled with “reverence and awe” (Hebrews 12:28) as well as humility before the holiness of the exalted Lord and Lamb (Revelation 4–5).
Mention of “the house of God” (i.e., the temple) reminds us of Jesus’ judgment (Matthew 21:13; 23:38; 24:2) and replacement (Matthew 12:6; 26:61; 27:40, 51) of the temple. Jesus is the final temple. He is that toward which the temple buildings always pointed. In Him we meet with God, a communion that the temple was created to facilitate. Through Jesus’ death, we have a perfect and permanent sacrifice and intercessor for our sins (Hebrews 7:23–28), as well as the gift of the Spirit who dwells within all Believers (Ephesians 2:13–22).
The admonition to “let your words be few” in prayer because “God is in heaven and you are on earth” fits well with Jesus’ teaching on prayer (Matthew 6:5, 7) and His example prayer—the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9–13), an extremely short prayer addressed to “our Father in heaven.” Such prayer depends upon the grace of God, and does not seek to gain grace or to leverage God by the merit of the eloquence or length of our prayers.
Verses 10–17 are a return to a recurring theme of Ecclesiastes: the riches of this world will not satisfy. Heap up your marbles and you will not only want more, you will also fear that the heap makes them all the more likely to roll away.
Jesus warned about the deceitfulness of riches (Matthew 6:24; 13:22; Luke 12:15) and futility of greed (Matthew 19:22–24; Luke 12:16–20). Moreover, He admonished us to be “rich toward God” (Luke 12:21), to seek first His kingdom (Luke 12:31), and to trust and thank God for provision (Matthew 6:19–33). Following Jesus (1 Timothy 6:3), Paul speaks of the dangers of the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10) and the uncertainty of riches, and he charges wealthy Believers to “set their hopes . . . on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).
How does knowing that you are the temple of God, both individually and when gathered as the Church, help you understand the closeness of God to you?
Ecclesiastes 7 – Because of the futility of the world, the counterintuitive is the wisest approach—trusting God over circumstances and appearances. Such wisdom provides more protection than money, and it preserves life (and sanity) when this broken world makes no sense. Such brokenness can make our final days of pain seem more desirable than the day of our birth into this troubled existence. But this wisdom ultimately concludes that it is not within our knowledge or experience to make sense of what God does on an earthly plane.
Jesus gave severe warnings about words (Matthew 5:22; 12:37). We must ask God for the wisdom (James 1:5) to be “slow to speak” (James 1:19) and quick to tame our tongues before we destroy others (James 3:3–10).
Ecclesiastes affirms the Bible’s view of sin (Romans 3:9–10; Mark 7:20–23). We celebrate Jesus as the exception—“who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15)—and we rejoice in that “for our sake [God] made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
How do you celebrate Jesus being the “exception” Who saves you from your futility?
Ecclesiastes 8 – This is the third mention in Ecclesiastes (cf. 3:14; 5:7; 7:18; 12:13) of the central concept of Wisdom Literature: the fear of God. This phrase refers to an attitude of submission to, respect for, dependence on, and worship of the Lord. Therefore, the fear of God and following His word are the two inseparable components of genuine faith—“the obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5; 16:26). Put differently, Ecclesiastes anticipates the right reaction to the gospel of righteousness: that the just shall live by faith (Romans 1:16–17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).
How does all that Jesus has done for you lead you to reverent worship?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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