Monday, May 28, 2012

Ecclesiastes: "The Secret To Life"

 (Ecclesiastes 1: "What is the Good Life?")
(Ecclesiastes 5 and 6: "Shadows that Cover the Land")
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  ECCLESIASTES 11

      Sorry I haven’t written in a while.  I tend not to write when life is good.  After I “gave up” last time, something settled inside me.  I recently realized there have been a couple cool changes in me.
    I don’t live in fear. I don’t understand the wind, but I still sail and do business on the seas.  I  prepare for the unexpected  - I send boats out 8 different directions so if storms sink one, the other still go on.
     I don’t know when it will rain, but I don’t stop planting.  I just plant at different times.    
     I don’t understand how babies are formed in the womb, but I still father children.
     I don’t understand how you work any better now than I did then, but that’s okay.  Wind, rain, and life are better in your hands than mine.

     Life is sweet. I have finally stopped looking to this world to give my life meaning, and have started looking to God. I’m learning to appreciate the good years I have had, while not forgetting I had some bad years too – and I will have more of both.
     Nothing has fundamentally changed about the world.  I could still complain like I did before.  I have changed.  And that makes all the difference, come hebel or high water.
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 ECCLESIASTES 12

I heard someone sing recently, "The secret of life is a good cup of coffee…a beautiful woman…martinis…relaxing…nothin’ at all. There ain’t no secret and you don’t get your money back.”  I've spent my life looking for the secret, and she's right: you don't get your money back, and there is no "secret." But some things are worth far more the money, and there is clear way in which to live life well. 

     Live boldly. You won't be young forever;  your youth is fun, but it’s a vapor. Make the most of your youth and vitality. Be bold; if something looks good to you, pursue it. Don’t live in fear! But…. know also that at some point you will have to answer to God for every last bit of what you do, so choose wisely.    

    Fear God. Commit yourself to love, serve, and be in awe of Him while you are still have energy and enthusiasm. If you do this, you will live a meaningful life;  the life you build will cast a long shadow. You will never fear anything else. You will not fear the future, or uncertainty, or loneliness, or poverty, or boredom. None of them can control you.

    Revere God, because if you don’t, you will revere something else that does not deserve your worship. 
     If you revere God, you won’t misuse the joy of pleasure.  I thought happiness was the answer for a while, but the addictions of overindulgence don’t deserve our worship.      
     If you revere God, you won’t misunderstand the refinement of adversity.  I thought being sobered by the harshness of life was the answer, but the furnace of pain does not deserve our worship. 
    Only God deserves our reverence and worship.

    Keep His commandments.  That which we fear and revere will control us, for better or worse.  God’s commandments are good and true (Thanks, Dad, for writing some good stuff on this in your psalms).  The more they guide your life, the better off you will be.
It’s fun to be happy, but that’s not our goal.
It’s nice to be wealthy, but that won’t save us.
It’s great to popular, or entertained, but that’s only temporary.
It’s important to be sobered by the shortness of life, but it’s not meant to control us.

    If we enjoy whatever gifts we have been given, and we fear and love God, and we keep His commandments.  This is the good life.

Fear God…Revere Him…Obey His commands. 

That is the secret to life.   
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(Click here for some final thoughts on Ecclesiastes)
“And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Dueteronomy 10:12)

“Dear friends, let's cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit by becoming mature in our holy fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)

2 comments:

  1. KImberli BindschatelAugust 14, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Did you skip from 5&6 to 11&12, or did I miss some? can't find them...

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  2. Kim, this series comes from a sermon I gave condensing Ecclesiastes into one 35 minute block. I tried to be faithful to the focus and tone of Solomon, but I also had to cut, condense and combine quite a bit. The content of those missing chapters leaks into some of the other posts. It's no replacement for the original :) Maybe now that I don't have to condense it into half an hour, I should revisit this series...

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