Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June 18, 2012 … Chasing the Wind

Bloggers's Note: Yesterday, because of a set of circumstances beyond my control, I didn't get the devotional I did yesterday morning posted here. Therefore, I will be posting two of my devotionals today (6/19). If you're reading along with me here, please forgive this personal glitch in the discipline of my posting schedule. … wrb

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Ecclesiastes, Chapters 1-6 [NIV] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Ecclesiastes 1: 12-14 :[NIV] … 12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Highlight Passage #2: Ecclesiastes 2: 9-11, 26 :[NIV] … 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. 10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. … 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. … 26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 
Highlight Passage #3: Ecclesiastes 3: 14-15 :[NIV] … 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. … 15 Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account. 
Highlight Passage #4: Ecclesiastes 4: 4; 16 :[NIV] … 4 And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person's envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. . … 16 There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 
Highlight Passage #5: Ecclesiastes 5: 16 :[NIV] … 16 This too [i.e., toiling for wealth] is a grievous evil: As everyone comes, so they depart, and what do they gain, since they toil for the wind?
Highlight Passage #6: Ecclesiastes 6: 9 :[NIV] … 9 Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  

Reference Passage #1: Romans 8: 28 :[NKJV] … All things work together for those who love the Lord and who are the called according to His purpose.
Reference Passage #2: 1st John 2: 15-16 :[NKJV] … 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.  

My Journal for Today: Whew! Today’s chronological reading assignment was rather rigorous – all of Chapters 1-6 of the Book of Ecclesiastes, … Solomon’s later-life journal on the meaning of our existence from his own life experiences. And the first six chapters are rather grim upon surface reading.

And as I read this morning, one phrase kept repeating itself through these chapters, which I’ve emboldened and underlined above in the highlighted passages, which write of “… chasing after the wind.” This is Solomon’s repetitive discovery about his own life. I read earlier this year in my devotionals that when Solomon became king, he asked God for wisdom (2nd Chronicles 1:7-12), and he became the wisest man in the world (1st Kings 4:29-34). … BUT … here we are, years later, and Solomon has discovered much about life, which he now wants to be our “teacher” (which he even labels himself early in Ecclesiastes), telling us that life can be “chasing after the wind” if we let our HUMAN wisdom be our guide rather than a pursuing Godly wisdom.

God gave Solomon all the wisdom a human could every want or use; but Solomon did not use it for God’s glory; and he chose to ignore God’s teaching in the Book of the Law or from the lessons life taught him along the way. And King Solomon, supposedly the wisest man who ever lived (other than Jesus, of course), found out that life was merely “chasing after the wind” when man pursued what men normally pursue … and that is education, position, power, recognition, and wealth, … all of which are merely “chasing after the wind.”

Ironically, at the time Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes, he had already written, in Proverbs 3: 5-6, to lean not on one’s own understand and to trust in the Lord with ALL of one’s heart. But apparently that lesson went unheeded in Solomon’s life; and he quit pursuing God’s way of living and went down his own way. And so, here in Ecclesiastes, he wants to be “the teacher,” helping those who come after him to avoid “chasing after the wind” and pursuing the only way in life that is meaningful and that is to know God and pursue HIS WAY through life.

My friends, life doesn’t have to be meaningless or “chasing after the wind.” As I was reading and meditating through the first six chapters of Solomon’s reflections today, two Scripture passages bubbled up in my consciousness; and they are listed above as references. The first tells us that all things in life – for the Christian – can be “teachers.” If all of life is for our good, and it is; then even the tough stuff or what we see as “bad stuff” can help to guide us through life and avoid “chasing after the winds” of life.

And the second passage, from 1st John, helps to us red-flag and avoid what led Solomon to chase after the winds of life. Solomon got off track because he followed after “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life;” and these, according to God’s truth in 1st John 2, are those things which Satan uses to call us to chase after the winds and to find ourselves where Solomon found himself as he was writing, as “the teacher,” the book of Ecclesiastes.

I hope we all glean the lessons Solomon is teaching us as our “teacher” in this book; and we apply them to our lives so that we avoid “chasing after the wind.”  

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I chase after You and Your truth. Amen

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