ECCLESIASTES 10:1-12:14 | 2 CORINTHIANS 8:1-15 | PSALM 49:1-20 | PROVERBS 22:20-21
Click on the arrow below to listen to a recording of this post:
After a solid discourse concerning the vanity of all things under the sun, the Preacher resumes his preaching, but this time to offer pithy aphorisms and maxims—words that are quick to read, and hopefully easy to remember. Some that are extraordinarily quotable are as follows:
12 Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious,
but fools are consumed by their own lips.
13 At the beginning their words are folly;
at the end they are wicked madness—
14 and fools multiply words.
And if you didn’t know the consequences of sloth, the Preacher reminds:
18 Through laziness, the rafters sag;
because of idle hands, the house leaks.
And there’s some sound financial advice to be had in these lines:
2 Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight;
you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.
Also, there is encouragement to the young to enjoy the days of their life—despite the fact that it may all be for naught! The Preacher says:
9You who are young, be happy while you are young,
and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth.
And while you are enjoying your youth, be sure to remember God, says the Preacher:
1 Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth
And if that was not sufficiently clear, he wraps up his thoughts with these words:
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.
Turning now to our continued reading in the second letter of Paul to the church in Corinth, we find that Paul is speaking of the generosity of the church in Macedonia—though poor, Paul commends them to the Corinthians for their largess of heart in contributing funds to Paul’s travels, and he now asks that the Corinthians also do the same.
Paul has a most gracious way of putting this across. He says: 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
Paul is earnest in wanting to increase the general funds for the use toward the Lord’s people scattered throughout Asia Minor in the various churches that he and Titus have traveled to. Paul says to the well-to-do Corinthians: 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.
Turning next to our psalm for the day, we find the psalmist speaking on the topic of wealth. Don’t put your trust in it, he says repeatedly. His words are:
12 People, despite their wealth, do not endure;
they are like the beasts that perish.
And if ever there is a tinge of envy or jealousy that one may feel toward those faring better than yourself, take heed to these words of the Psalmist:
16 Do not be overawed when others grow rich,
when the splendor of their houses increases;
17 for they will take nothing with them when they die,
their splendor will not descend with them.
18 Though while they live they count themselves blessed—
and people praise you when you prosper—
19 they will join those who have gone before them,
who will never again see the light of life.
And one more time, he repeats the futility of wealth, not only because of the obvious cause for the dead, but also to the living if it is not accompanied with understanding. He says this:
20 People who have wealth but lack understanding
are like the beasts that perish.
Finally, in the book of Proverbs, we find our two verses to be a reference to the thirty sayings that have been set forth by Solomon, the wise king of Israel. He asks in the most straight-forward manner:
20 Have I not written thirty sayings for you,
sayings of counsel and knowledge,
21 teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth,
so that you bring back truthful reports
to those you serve?
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.