GOOD MORNING SIBLINGS!
Today's readings are Ecclesiastes 5-8
Rabbit Trails I'm going to dive right into a few verses that stood out to me.
🌿Ecclesiastes 5:1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.
This takes me aback every time I read it and causes me to examine two things in myself:
1. What is my attitude when I approach YHWH? Am I mindful of who He is or am I speaking to Him as if He’s a genie, here to grant my wishes? Am I seeking His wisdom or am I simply hoping to convince Him to do work in my life according to my desires? He is God, sovereign, creator of all the universe, and I am honored to be able to speak to Him. Am I in a place in my life where I am seeking to obey Him or am I in a place where I am treating Him as if His purpose is to do my bidding?
2. Am I living my life in such a way that I am one of these people? "The sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they are doing evil." This clearly tells us that there will be people offering up sacrifices (in areas of their lives or literally) in a way that is evil in YHWH’s eyes and yet they will not realize it. They will be in the house of God thinking they are doing right by Him while actually doing what He considers to be evil.
🌿Ecclesiasties 5:4 When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.
We tend to make promises to the Father when we need something and then when He provides what we need, we tell ourselves that our promise isn’t important and fall back on the whole “He knows my heart” thing. 💔I’m reminded, as a parent, how important it is to me that my children follow through when they give me their word they are going to do something. I want to be able to trust them. And that brings me to this thought:
The Father is faithful to us - but are we to be faithful to Him?
🌿Ecc 5:10-12 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.
Probably most of us have dreamed of wealth. We've dreamed of fame and all that goes with it. The Bible tells us that is emptiness, and it is. I've been in that world for a time and I've seen the underbelly of it. Back in my television days I used to travel all over the country to do tv. I met some well known people, ended up on some really popular shows, did a season of a network show and had opportunities for a few other endeavors that I easily passed on. I had seen the underbelly of it. I've seen the emptiness it can bring. I've seen the separation that often becomes necessary in order to reside in that world. For many, it becomes a hunger that can never be satisfied. You just hunger more and more but never find the peace. It's a dream the world offers up and some of those who chase it end up chasing the world. I met some wonderful people. But some of the conversations I had with folks who were caught up in that will remain with me my entire life. The look in their eyes and the weary sag of their shoulders. Emptiness. Pain. Don't love it. Don't long for it. Don't think it is an easier or better life. It is none of those things. Live in the blessings you have, cherish His peace in your heart and His wisdom in your life. Whether you have little or much on any given day, keep your eyes on Him and you will know contentment and your heart and soul will reside in His Shalom.
🌿I love Ecc 7:21 “Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.” This is important when it comes to praise as well as insult. We have to guard ourselves when having praise heaped on us and when insults are hurled at us. Everything we are, everything we have, everything we have accomplished is by the grace of the Father and just as we shouldn’t let others cut into that cloak of love He has surrounded us with, we also must be careful not to step outside of it and believe we, ourselves, have brought about the blessings in our lives. There is a great quote that I heard years ago, when I got my first book deal, and it has stayed close to my heart - but it goes right in line with this Bible verse:
“Don’t let the praise go to your head or the criticism go to your heart.”
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!