Ecclesiastes 10:1-12:14; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15;
Psalm 49:1-20; Proverbs 22:20-21
In youth we run into difficulties. In old age difficulties run into us.
Eventually, if we make that far, each of us will grow old. Today, Solomon concludes his experiment with human philosophy by determining that in the end, it is best to fear God. Here is the wisest thing Solomon says in this book in Ecc. 12:1,
"Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and no longer enjoy living."Solomon begins a good description of how old age brings humility before one's Creator. As your body deteriorates and your physical eyes dim, your spiritual eyes grow sharp. One begins to see that they are not long for this world. At this point in a person's journey they begin to focus on whether or not they developed the aspect of themselves that is going to live on forever. You see, a person does not stop existing when they die, they simply change form. The energy that is the person's soul and spirit continues to exist. This is why it is important to develop your spiritual being while in your body on this earth. You are developing the part of yourself that lives forever.
Limbs that tremble with age and strong legs that grow weak serve as signposts of death. Solomon describes being fearful of falling, being white-haired and withered, dragging along without any sexual desire. As one stands at death's door, what do you have to offer the person on the other side of that door. This pictures the fact that you do not have a vibrant body to offer them. Hopefully, you have a vibrant spirit.
Solomon has tried it all. He tried wisdom and philosophy, pleasure and wealth, fatalism, religion, and finally, moralism by doing good. As he pursued these endeavors "under the sun" it was as if he was chasing the wind. All of these propositions left him believing that everything was meaningless.
So how is one to find purpose? Here is his conclusion,
"Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad." ~Ecclesiastes 12:13-14This book does not teach us about Jesus Christ, but it does teach us to fear God. If we fear God and pursue Him, we will find Jesus and salvation. This is the key to a purposeful life lived with meaning. If we have trusted Christ, when we come to death's door, we will enter through the door wearing a robe of His righteousness. His death will cover our sin. His Holy Spirit will have sanctified our lives to be sweet offerings before our Creator. Our lives will not have been meaningless. They will not have been chasing after the wind. They will have glorified our Creator, which is the chief end of man.
Do you fear God? Are you prepared to meet Him?
2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Today, Paul commends the Corinthians for the example of the Holy Spirit's gifts among them which include gifted speakers, great knowledge, enthusiasm and love for their teachers, including Paul. Now, he encourages them to show love by giving of their wealth to help those in need.
He points out that Jesus became poor so that we might become rich. He came down from the glory of heaven to live a life of poverty and simplicity. This was all done so that we could become rich with Him in heaven. Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to follow His example and not hang on to their material possessions.
He reminds them that it is a spiritual principle to give out of your wealth and when you are in need, it will be given to you. This is a healthy way to develop the spiritual person in you who will live on in eternity. This is how you exercise your spiritual muscles!
Are you exercising your spiritual muscles by helping others in need?
Wow. This psalm deals with death and eternal life. How appropriate for what we have studied today! Here is a key verse, "But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of death."
Solomon is giving wise and godly advice in the Proverbs. There is a very different tone than what is given in Ecclesiastes.
What did you notice today?