As Ecclesiastes enters its home stretch, Solomon offers several final observations about things that we should know, and matters that we cannot know.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
As Solomon continues searching through various activities and life experiences in his quest for wisdom and understanding, he frequently issues one of two verdicts: either something is considered to be a good worth pursuing or else it is deemed a worthless vanity.
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Solomon is known for being wise, of course. What comes through in Ecclesiastes 7 is that he is also very experienced. Many of his sayings are distilled from the years he has spent observing life. As he remarks, "In my vain life I have seen everything..." (vs. 15).
I wonder if Solomon was talking about himself in Ecclesiastes 6? Tradition tells us that Ecclesiastes is the product of his old age, whereas Proverbs was written in his middle age and the Song of Solomon in his youth. If this is the case, then perhaps we have here the observations of a man frustrated about his impending mortality and the inevitability of his leave-taking of the world.
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Monday, December 21, 2015
Part of wisdom's benefit comes from the insight it gives us into which state of affairs may be better for us. Whenever we get a chance to make choices regarding our situation, we do well to do so with wisdom. In Ecclesiastes 4, Solomon offers his opinion on several matters about what is better.
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Twin themes emerge from Psalm 99: God is king, and He is mighty. The psalm even begins, "The Lord is king; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned among the cherubim; let the earth quake!" From there, we continue to hear both of God's great and awesome name, as well as His royal reign over His people Israel. Both acts of power and justice are recounted as emblematic of the Lord's nature. The psalm concludes with the imperative, "Extol the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy" (vs. 9).
Friday, December 18, 2015
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Proverbs 30 is ascribed to Agur, son of Jakeh. Who was Agur? After researching it, I discovered that there are many theories, from Agur being a nomadic wise man who lived between Israel and Babylon to the name merely being a code word for Solomon. Basically, however, nobody has any real evidence so it all remains speculation! Whoever he is, however, Agur does have some very interesting insights to share!
Sunday, December 13, 2015
Saturday, December 12, 2015
Friday, December 11, 2015
With all the teachings against wickedness and foolishness we find in Proverbs, you may wonder why anyone would ever choose to go down that path. There are so many warnings against evil, why do people still sin? Proverbs says that even though the wicked may prosper for a time, they will find out that, in the end, crime does not pay.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
It is one thing to revere the proverbs and look upon them as the revealed Word of God. It is another to deploy them properly in the right context. After all, "a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver" (25:11).
Beginning in chapter 25, we see a subtle shift in the tone and format of the proverbs. The chapter begins, "These are other proverbs of Solomon that the officials of King Hezekiah of Judah copied" (vs. 1). Compiled by a later king, these recorded words of Solomon have a slightly different feel than what went before. For instance, we find a lot of similes.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Monday, December 7, 2015
Sunday, December 6, 2015
Friday, December 4, 2015
One of Solomon's themes in Proverbs is the relationship between parents and their children. When the children are wise and good, the household is happy. But parents that raise a fool will find themselves filled with heartache and misery.
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Ever heard the expression, "There is a God, and you're not Him?" While not officially one of Solomon's proverbs, that saying does complement one of themes in his book. Many proverbs indicate that, although we often presume that we are the ones in charge, God has actually reserved for Himself the ability to call the shots. We call this concept "sovereignty."
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
My son Daniel is currently in his junior year at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. One of the campus features is a long "binary" sidewalk made up of 1s and 0s. It actually spells out a message if you know the code. In a binary language, everything is reduced to one of two possible states: off or on, yes or no, 1 or 0, black or white. The proverbs of Solomon reveal that he often viewed the world in such binary terms, divided between the righteous and the wicked.
There are dozens of proverbs to be found in chapter 11, but I'd like to focus on two verses that stood out to me: "Some give freely, yet grow all the richer; others withhold what is due, and only suffer want. A generous person will be enriched, and the one who gives water will get water" (vs. 24-25).