Blogger's Note: I know I'm "jumping the gun" a bit by posting on Thursday night rather than as I usually do daily by posting my devotional in the mornings. But I'm at a Christian conference in Washington, DC (very powerful BTW); and tomorrow AM we'll be starting our conference day in prayer at 5am (4am my normal body time). So, I've done my devotional here on Thur. night and am posting it here. Thanks for the flexibility of reading this a bit out of my usual time schedule.
Study from God’s Word… Ecclesiastes 1: 1 – 11; Eccl. 6: 10-12; Eccl. 3: 18 – 22; Eccl. 2: 12 – 16; Eccl. 9: 1-12; Eccl. 8: 16-17; … Passage for Reflection: Ecclesiastes 1: 1 – 2 … NIV 1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: 2 "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."
Ecclesiastes 1: 1 – 2 [NKJV] … 1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2 “ Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “ Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
My Journal for Today: I find great meaning and hope in reading and studying the book of Ecclesiastes, either written or dictated by Solomon later in his life or a book dedicated to Solomon’s later-life realizations and philosophies by some God-inspired Scribe. No matter the true author; Ecclesiastes is, and has become, part of our “Scripture,” and it is part of the Old Testament wisdom literature from God which we can use to guide our lives.
I find such personal hope from reading and learning in the Book, the title of which, “Ecclesiastes,” means in Hebrew, “The Teacher” or “The Preacher.” And studying this Book becomes a lesson from God in the meaning of life, especially directed from (or to) a man who has learned a great deal from making a lot of mistakes in life. And that’s certainly me!
I blew off 22 years, living a life of “vanity,” being captured into my own patterns of disobedience and sinful living; and here I am, as was Solomon, later in his life, realizing that only a life lived for God and in obedience to God’s word can ultimately have impact on the world for God and His kingdom. It’s not that I wouldn’t have lived in heaven eternally if I had died on April 14th, 1983, the day after I received Christ as my Savior and Lord. No, if that had happened, like the thief dying on the cross and surrendering to Jesus on the day of Christ’s crucifixion, I would have been ushered into heaven to be with my Savior forever, but my life would have had – and has had – much more power by surrendering to God in obedience and living in humility according to His word [it the living out of Romans 12: 1-2].
And Solomon may have come to the realization that his life could have been so much more if he, like his father, David, had, earlier in life, come to live out those later years of his life in obedience and surrender to God’s ways rather than having lived a squandered life of selfishness and sinful disobedience.
Life doesn’t have to be all “vanity.” It can be a life lived for Christ with fruitful purpose and design (see John 15: 1-8 and Galatians 5: 19 – 25). But we, as Solomon ultimately declared at the end of Ecclesiastes, must live lives in surrender to God and His purpose rather than lives squandered in selfishness and sin.
We choose; and God supplies the grace for us to finish strong. (see 2nd Cor. 12: 9-10).
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to finish strong! Amen