ECCLESIASTES 4:1-6:12 | 2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-7:7 | PSALM 47:1-9 | PROVERBS 22:16
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The preacher in Ecclesiastes is contemplating the state of mankind, and cannot see anything of value in it. He calls all exercises of life and living a “chasing of the wind.” This is a most dismal view indeed. So grave is his disappointment in the nature of human affairs, that he thinks not being born would be more prized than both life and death than being alive and coming upon the realization that all is in vain. He says:
3 But better than both
is the one who has never been born,
who has not seen the evil
that is done under the sun.
Yet, he does have some words of advice to the living. He says this:
2 Do not be quick with your mouth,
do not be hasty in your heart
to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven
and you are on earth,
so let your words be few.
3 A dream comes when there are many cares,
and many words mark the speech of a fool.
And while he has much to say about the futility of every human endeavor, he does have a few specific things to say on what he considers to be good. These are indeed words of wisdom.
Regarding the satisfaction of a life well-lived, Solomon says through the words of the Preacher: 18 This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.
Turning now to our reading of Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth, we find a warning against idolatry, and although the scripture being quoted by Paul was originally set forth for the Jewish people, in the new covenant under Christ, it applies to both Jew and Gentile alike.
Paul says,16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Paul goes on to speak of the great joy that he has in the church, and especially from the good reports that he has received of them through Titus, one of Paul’s fellow-believers and workers. Paul says to them: He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever.
Next, we turn to our psalm for the day and find the psalmist offering up words of praise to a God who is not only the God of the Jewish people, but God over all the nations. He says:
8 God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.
9 The nobles of the nations assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God;
he is greatly exalted.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs which is food for thought for the day:
16 One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth
and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.