November 26, 2015.
Daily Reading: Ecclesiastes 9-10.
Background Reading: Ecclesiastes 7-8.
Concepts and Connections.
Time and chance happen to all: Similar to the preachers words in the second chapter, he looks out again here and sees that the same event (death) happens to all men, regardless of how righteous they are. Though he does say that the righteous’ deeds are in the hand of God, they still will die. This is man’s lot, and it happens to the sinner and the saint alike. The preacher places a high emphasis on life here, commenting that a living dog is better than a dead lion, for the dead are forgotten and no longer share in the things that are done under the sun. It seems that a full concept of the afterlife wasn’t completely revealed to mankind at this point, as we see many times here death being referred to as Sheol, or the grave, and it seemed to have a bleak outlook (though the preacher does hint that the afterlife of the righteous will be better than that of the wicked). Thus, his wisdom in life is that we should eat and drink with joy and enjoy this life with our spouse, for we will soon die. Further, we do not know when we will die, for time and change happen to us all. It is not always the wise, strong or swift that have long life on this earth, for some will be taken unexpectedly and no one knows their time. However, the preacher does make a case that being wise is better than being a fool. He recounts a story in which the wisdom of a poor, yet wise, man delivered an entire city from a siege that was begin laid against it. Wisdom is indeed greater than weapons of war, but the preacher shows how far wickedness reaches as just one sinner destroys much good. Paul says something very similar to this in I Corinthians 5 when he is addressing a man who is living in open continual sin in the assembly.
Words of wisdom: This chapter reads somewhat similar to the book of Proverbs in that it is a grouping of wise saying, mostly dealing with the contrast between wisdom and folly. He begins by saying that folly is usually louder than wisdom, in that a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. Fools tell everyone of their folly in the streets. Calmness will divert great offenses. Notice in this chapter we actually see many sayings that are idioms today: if you dig a pit, you will fall into it (v. 8); work smarter, not harder (v. 10); and a little bird told me (v. 20). The preacher tells us that the tongue of the wise will win favor, but a fool multiplies words. He indicates that it is better to have a wise king who is the son of nobility than a young child as a king, who is inexperienced. Finally, we are again reminded to enjoy this life in eating and drinking, and live wisely while we can.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Zephaniah 1-3.
Dwell on Him.