Saturday, July 2, 2022

Beginning or End?


Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz
Our immediate response to the Title question should be “Jesus is the Alpha AND the Omega.” He is the first, and He is the last; the beginning and the end. The Bible declares it several times, so why the question?

Solomon focuses in this chapter on what might be called opposites, and often the undesirable things in life come up first: Mourning rather than joy; sorrow rather than laughter. Sadness, mourning, and sorrow position us closer to bigger questions, more detailed heart searching, and crying out to God for help. Those that are joyful and comfortable often don’t find a need for God’s answers, but those in dire straits are asking questions that only God can answer!

With all that Solomon has written in the earlier chapters of this book, his insights in Chapter 7 are right on target. As Believers, we often hear that it is through the difficult times and trials when the Believer will grow in faith more than when he is at peace. If you have been a Christian for any length of time, your own experiences will bear this out. Such are the lessons we reminded of from King Solomon today.

This seems contrary to what we thought Christianity was when we first believed: New life, our needs provided, and good things in the future are powerful things to draw us to Christ. And then the Lord teaches us through His Word, and through our life circumstances. In hindsight, it is a journey that few of us would trade away, but it’s not likely what we expected when we first heard of the wonderful works of Jesus. Mystery and the unknown surround the beginning, but in the end our knowledge will be full. He will reveal all the mysteries to us.

Relinquishing human wisdom and adopting God’s, Solomon seems less fickle, less troubled and sad, more steadfast and aligned with the Father of us all.
“For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” ~ Proverbs 2:6

Today's Audio Message:
Ecclesiastes 7:1-29 - "Beginning or End?"


The author of the book of Ecclesiastes looked for the meaning of life in many vain pursuits. He describes the feeling of emptiness he felt: “Meaningless! Meaningless! . . . Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). King Solomon had wealth beyond measure, wisdom beyond any man of his time or ours, hundreds of women, palaces and gardens that were the envy of kingdoms, the best food and wine, and every form of entertainment available. He said at one point that anything his heart wanted, he pursued (Ecclesiastes 2:10). Yet he summed up life “under the sun”—life lived as though all there is to life is what we can see with our eyes and experience with our senses—as meaningless. What explains this void? God created us for something beyond what we can experience in the here-and-now. Solomon said of God, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In our hearts we are aware that the “here-and-now” is not all there is.

In chapter 7 of Ecclesiastes, Solomon explains for us what makes for "better living" in this vain world.  
This chapter, as much of Ecclesiastes, reflects "the two ways" of life.

Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Looking back at the first six chapters of Ecclesiastes, the Preacher (Solomon) has shared with us his search for meaning in this life (1:1-2:24) and observations gleaned during the course of his search (3:1-6:12). He has repeated his conclusions time and again.. * Life "under the sun" is vanity - 1:2,14; 2:11 * Yet there is good that one can do, provided one is blessed by God - 2:24-26; 5:18-20.

In the remaining six chapters of Ecclesiastes, the Preacher shares his counsel through a mixture of proverbs and narration. He imparts wisdom designed to make the most of life "under the sun". In other words, while life under the sun is "vanity", how then should we live? 
Proverbs 9:10 - "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."
Proverbs 8:13 - "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."

The first half of chapter seven offers "counsel for better living" with a series of comparisons. For example, honor is better than luxury, your day of death is better than your day of birth, a funeral is better than a party, etc. His estimation of what is better may often sound strange, but it comes from who has learned from both experience as well as inspiration (1-14). The second half of the chapter offers "counsel for balanced living." There are challenging and difficult statements which should be understood in their context, and in the context of the Bible as a whole. It appears the Preacher is mainly warning against extremism, and against the presumption that one can find the answer to every question in life (15-29).


WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV

WhitestoneCF Media - Web TV