Ecclesiastes 7-8

Ecclesiastes 7-8

Chapter 7: Wisdom Goeth Life

In short… enjoy what you have while you can, but realize that adversity and hard times can strike at any moment. Because of this, life is short. Death is inevitable. We shouldn’t ignore it because it makes sense to plan ahead to experience God’s mercy rather than his justice. People who are too righteous and too wise are blind to their own faults. There will always be things that we don’t understand. Thinking that you have attained enough wisdom is a sure sign that you haven’t.

“Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” (Ecclesiastes 7:3)

                Sorrow can also bring some of the best knowledge, because by experience we learn.

                “For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.” (Ecclesiastes 7:12)

                You can have defence with money, but only with knowledge and wisdom can you have lasting defence from your enemies.

                “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)

                We all sin. Simple as that, don’t think you are better than others. It is like the phrase; ‘everyone sins differently’ so don’t go judging people.

                “I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness.” (Ecclesiastes 7:25)

                We need to ACTIVELY search to know the truth, don’t think you know everything. Always be open to learn. A wise man of 70 years old can still learn from a toddler, if that man wants to learn.

Chapter 8: None Have Power over Death

True wisdom comes from knowing and trusting God, not merely the way to find him. Knowing God will lead to understanding and then to sharing that knowledge with others. Even in a man could have all of the world’s wisdom, he would still know very little. No one can fully comprehend God.

“There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death; and there is no discharge in that war…” (Ecclesiastes 8:8)

If you ever think you are invincible or special, realize that we are nothing to God. We have no power over death; if it is our time… we will die.

“When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:) Then I beheld the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; thou a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.” (Ecclesiastes 8:16-17)

                God is always working, day and night! Those who seek to know God’s work will never be able to fully understand His work, and those who claim to know His work are fools.

Psalms 35-36

Psalms 35-36

Chapter 35: The Lord will Judge Thee

A Psalm of David.

                “Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul…” (Psalms 25:4)

David complains about his enemies and asks the Lord to help him in his dire situation.

He asks the Lord to bless him and to judge him for his righteousness and for his enemies to “…be ashamed and brought to confusion … that rejoice in my hurt…” (Psalms 35:26)

Chapter 36: The Fountain of Life

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord.

                The wicked have “…no fear of God before his eyes.” (Psalms 36:1)

Even though wickedness exists, those who are not wicked can find shelter and comfort with the Lord. David explains how he feels about the Lord; “Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings” (Psalms 36:6-7)

                Both of these chapters are very simple and straightforward… wickedness will never prevail and the Lord will provide protection from evil, Always!

 

Job 21-22

Job 21-22

Chapter 21: The Wicked Sometimes Prosper in this Life

Job begins his address to Zophar and his friends…

“Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on” (Job 21:3)

                Job goes on to explain that the wicked sometimes prosper in this life, Job’s crisis was fundamentally spiritual in nature, much more than being a medical crisis, an economic crisis, a social crisis, or a family crisis. His struggle was against God, and he wondered were God was in the midst of this very dark time.

Job speaks out about the wicked who prosper in this life; “They spend their days in wealth… Therefore they say unto God; depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit should we have, if we pray unto him? (Job 21:13-15)

                Sometimes the wicked do prosper in this life, but with the judgment that will be waiting for them after this life. Job asks an important question; “Ho oft is the candle of the wicked put out…” (Job 21:17). In Job’s rhetorical question, he would answer “Not often enough.” And it would do Job no satisfaction to hear that the judgment would instead come upon the wicked man’s descendants.

Job acknowledged that wickedness was never ultimately rewarded and was always punished in the end. The problem for Job was that it never seemed soon enough that wicked would drink of the wrath of the Almighty. Job suffered in the now, and many of the wicked did not.

I can’t tell you how many times I have felt this exact way… why, if I am doing good, are those who are not seem to be rewarded? It is difficult to swallow at times, but God knows what is going on and will reward the just in His own time and way.

Chapter 22: Eliphaz Accuses Job of Sinning

This begins a third (and shortened) round of debate between Job and his three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

Eliphaz begins by attacking Job’s character. Eliphaz essentially asks Job, “What good is he to God?” –  “Can a man be profitable unto God…” (Job 22:2)

Eliphaz heard all of Job’s anguished outpourings to God, and seemed to think that Job simply thought too highly of himself. He wondered why Job thought he was so special, so profitable to God and why he thought God owed him so much.

Eliphaz goes on to describe Job’s great wickedness.

“Will he reprove thee for fear of thee?” (Job 22:4) or essentially; “Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you?” Eliphaz pressed the point home to Job. Surely, the catastrophe that came upon Job (which Eliphaz lightly called a “correction”), did not come because Job feared God; it came because Job’s wickedness was great and his iniquity was without end.

Eliphaz goes on to insult Job’s intelligence, by asking him; “Is not God in the height of heaven?” (Job 22:12). Eliphaz instructed Job in the basics of theology, he thought that because Job would not admit his error, he must be fundamentally wrong in his understanding of God. So he begins with the basic idea of the might, majesty, and sovereignty of God.

Eliphaz, after having insulted the very wisdom and knowledge of Job, boldy asks him to; “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace; there good shall come unto thee… If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up…” (Job 22:21-22). This was great advice for Job, assuming that the problem was sin in Job’s life. Yet we know (on the basis of Job 1-2) that this assumption was wrong, and therefore the advice was wrong.

 

Job 13-14

Job 13-14

Chapter 13: I will trust the Lord

Job complains against his friends who claim to have superior knowledge, to his friends and more especially Zophar, the situation seemed so simple; therefore Job must be somewhat ignorant to see what they believed was so easy to see.

Job did not understand any of his situations and felt that God was against him, not for him (as in Job 9:28 and 10:16-17). At the same time, he could still exclaim: yet I will trust Him. Job goes on to ask God to tell him if sin is indeed the cause of his suffering.

Chapter 14: Shall man live again?

                “If a man die, shall he live again? (Job 14:14) 

Job didn’t know much about the condition of man after death, but he supposed – perhaps hoped – that it was better than his current misery. Job testified of the short and fraility of life, the certainty of death and of a resurrection that would occur later… Yet Job’s general uncertainty is reflected in his question, “If a man die, shall he live again?”

I can’t think of a better place, then the Book of Mormon to answer Jobs and everyone’s questions… what happens after death?

“Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.

And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.

And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.

Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.” (Alma 40:11-14, The Book of Mormon)          

 

1 Samuel 25-26

1 Samuel 25-26

Chapter 25: David Marries Abigail

This chapter starts off by tell us that Samuel has died. David goes to the Desert of Maon where he meets a man who lives there named Nabal and his wife Abigail. Nabal is a ugly, disgusting mean man and his wife was intelligent and beautiful. Think Beauty and the Beast or Shrek and Fionna. David and his men go to Nabal and ask him for a hand out, Nabal is a very wealthy man and David and his army have been protecting his property. Nabal, being the mean guy he is deals with the men unfavorably.

This upsets David’s men and they decide to teach Nabal a lesson! Afterall David has only been nice to him, how dare Nabal do that! So 400 of David’s men gather together to go and kill Nabal.

But while they are coming towards the house of Nabal, Abigail loads up a donkey with food and heads out to meet them. Abigail gets down and bows before David and begs him to not do anything to Nabal, because he is a fool. David agrees and accepts what she brought as a gift.

Abigail returns home in peace to find her husband drunk and living like a king. She decides to wait until the next morning when he is sober to tell him what had happened. Nabal, when he finds out freezes up and becomes like a stone for 10 days, before the Lord takes his life. David hears about this and sends servants to ask Abigail to be his wife, she agrees.

Chapter 26: David Spares Saul’s Life

Saul had just repented of trying to kill David, but Saul had lost his mind again and was back on the hunt to kill David. The Ziphites come to Saul and report that David is in the Desert of Ziph, so Saul sends his army out to get him, and they send out scouts to confirm that he was there.

One night, Saul’s army is all fast asleep. David and Abishai sneek into the camp and go to where Saul is sleeping. There they take Saul’s spear and jug of water and head up to a hill within shouting distance to taunt Abner, the leader of Saul’s army. He yells to Abner and asks him why he did not protect his king, by letting someone into the camp without stopping him and as proof he asks Abner to verify where the king’s spear and jug of water are.

Saul must have woken up by now, and steps into the conversation. David asks Saul why he is trying to hurt him, when he has done nothing wrong. Saul repents and tells David he won’t try to kill him again. David returns his spear and jug of water and Saul heads home!

1 Samuel 23-24

1 Samuel 23-24

Chapter 23: David Continues to Flee

David hears that a placed called Keliah is being attacked by the Philistines and David inquires of the Lord as to what he should do. The Lord tells David to go and save Keliah. David tells his men to prepare for battle and they tell him that they are too scared to fight. David inquires a second time and gets the same answer, so he tells his men that they must go. So they go, and they inflict massive damage and casualties! Saul hears that David is going to a heavily fortified city named Keliah and thinks that this is a sign from God that he will put him in prison for him. So Saul goes and prepares to siege the city.

David however hears about this and decides to inquire of the Lord. The Lord tells them that YES Saul is coming and that the people of Keliah will give David to Saul. David and his men leave the city in droves, and make it so Saul changes his search from Keliah to David directly. David, with the help of God evades Saul.

While David is at Horesh in the desert of Ziph he learns that Saul was coming out to take his life and that his son Jonathan tells David to not be afraid for his father will not lay a hand on him. In fact David and Saul make a pact, that David will become the king of Israel and that Jonathan would be his second in command. After this pact is made, Jonathan heads home and David stays at Horesh.

Both Saul and Jonathan know that David will become king! The Ziphites approach Saul and offer to hand over David, but Saul rejects their offer until they come up with a more solid offer, because Saul knows David too well! He knows that if he can evade him, he can easily evade the Ziphites. David is hiding in the Desert of Maon and Saul is hot on his trail. However the Lord intervenes again! While Saul is chasing David and his men, a messenger comes and tells Saul that the Philistines were being attacked and they needed reinforcements. This slows down Saul.

Chapter 24: David Saves Saul’s Life

This chapter picks up where the last one left off. Saul is still pursuing David, but goes into a cave to relieve him. While he is in there, he doesn’t realize that David and his men are also hiding in the same cave!

Instead of killing Saul, David sneaks up to Saul and cuts a corner off of his robe and keeps his men from attacking him. Saul leaves the cave and David calls out to him. David explains that he is crazy to think that he was deceiving him or trying to harm the king. He shows the corner he cut off of his robe, to prove to Saul that he could have killed him, but he did not! David even calls Saul his king.

Saul weeps out and tells Saul that he has done wrong and should not have tried to kill him, calling David more righteous then himself.