Other Reading: Ecclesiastes 1
I had planned to read through my Bible this year, but then I realized the Lord was directing me to instead do more Bible study. To take topics, or even whole books of the Bible and study them more than I have ever before.
I’m really excited about it. The book of the Bible I’m studying first (in addition to the Proverbs 31 series still in progress here at Not Without My Morning Coffee) is Ecclesiastes. There is also a word the Lord has pressed upon my heart, which I will not mention at this time, but it will be appearing more on this blog in the days and months to come.
Ecclesiastes isn’t a book I’ve spent a lot of time in, but it has caught my attention now.
The first chapter talks much of vanity (nows a good time for you to read Ecclesiastes 1), going from one thing to the next, never being satisfied. It reminded me much of this passage from the book of James.
James 1:5-8 Amplified
If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides].
It’s good to be unsatisfied when you are looking at your relationship with the Lord. You always want to go deeper. But if you are constantly going from one thing to the next without being led by the Lord, always unsatisfied with your car, house, career, whatever it may be, then you need to have a look at your heart. What is motivating you? Those dissatisfactions can lead down a dangerous path if you do not have your ear to Heaven, and our desires matched to the Father’s.
1 Timothy 6:10 Amplified
For the love of money [that is, the greedy desire for it and the willingness to gain it unethically] is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves [through and through] with many sorrows.
Paul says in the book of Philippians how he learned to be content no matter what.
Philippians 4:10-14 HCSB
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it. I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. Still, you did well by sharing with me in my hardship.
Also, take a look at this scripture from Exodus.
Exodus 16:18 HCSB
When they measured it by quarts, the person who gathered a lot had no surplus, and the person who gathered a little had no shortage. Each gathered as much as he needed to eat.
It’s so easy to get side tracked and think of ourselves only… to think about building our own empire when we are called to seek God’s Kingdom first.
I’ve really only talked about one small part of the first chapter of Ecclesiastes, there is so much to be grasped. When I read about the King’s heart, how grieved and weary he was, it makes me wonder if he was grieved by himself, by his people (or both)… but it’s obvious that his heart was troubled by the desires for things that caused them to be all over the place, seeking vanity instead of wisdom. Things that are futile rather than eternal.
You know, this year has started out a bit rough for our family. Just a lot of sickness, nothing serious, but annoying and painful, one thing after the other, several emergency visits. I never really paid much attention to my kidney until the past few weeks. But now, yes kidney, I know you’re there, thank you for settling down and now we can get back to life. But this study it’s a good reminder to be thankful, because there is always… yes ALWAYS, something to be thankful for.
As my dad says, “Cheer up, things could be worse, so sure enough I cheered up things got worse”… (that was funny, laugh here). But my dad also says that when it seems there is nothing else to be thankful, be thankful for your salvation. Nothing can take that away from you. What Jesus did on the cross for you, nothing can change that. Of course there’s likely many, many more things you can think of to be thankful for.
The second portion of Ecclesiastes goes deeper into the topic of wisdom… but I’ll leave that for another day.
Be sure to read Ecclesiastes chapter 1. I’ll leave you with an excerpt.