Week 27, Day 3 in the LEB

Jul 4, 2017

Podcast: Play in new window (Duration: 11:14 — 3.17 MB)
The reading for today is Ecclesiastes 4-6; Psalm 125; 2 Timothy 2.

Scripture quotations are from the Lexham English Bible. Copyright 2012 Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software.

Ecclesiastes 4

I looked again, and I saw all the oppression that occurs under the sun.

I saw the tears of the oppressed—
    no one comforts them!
Those who oppress them are powerful—
    no one can comfort them!
So I deemed the dead who have already died
    more fortunate than the living who are still alive.
But better off than both of them is the one who has not yet been born
    and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.

I also realized that all of the toil and all of the skillful work that is done—it is envy between one man and another. This also is vanity and chasing wind!

The fool refuses to work with his hands,
    so he has nothing to eat except his own skin!
Better is one handful with peace
    than two fists full with toil and chasing wind.

I turned again and saw another vanity under the sun. Sometimes a man is all alone with no companion; he also has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eye is not satisfied with wealth. He laments, "For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?" This also is vanity—it is an unhappy business!

Two are better than the one, for they enjoy a better reward for their toil. For if one falls, his companion may help him up. But pity the one who falls and there is no one to help him up. Also if two lie together, they can keep each other warm. But how can one person be warm? Although an assailant may overpower one person, two may withstand him. A threefold cord is not easily broken!

A poor but wise youth is better than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to receive advice. For he came out of the prison house to reign, since he was born poor in his kingdom. I saw all the living who move about under the sun with the youth; the second who will stand in his place. There is no end to all the people, to all who were before him. Yet the later generation will not rejoice in him, for this also is vanity and chasing wind!

Ecclesiastes 5

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God;
    draw near to listen rather than to offer a sacrifice of fools,
        for they do not know that they are doing evil.
Do not be rash with your mouth,
    and do not let your heart be quick to utter a word before God.
For God is in heaven, and you are on earth;
    therefore, let your words be few.
For a dream comes with many cares,
    and the voice of a fool with many words.
When you make a vow to God,
    do not delay in fulfilling it,
for he takes no pleasure in fools.
    Fulfill what you vow!
It is better that you not vow
    than that you vow and not fulfill it.
Do not let your mouth lead your flesh into sin,
    and do not tell the messenger that it was a mistake.
Why anger God at your words,
    so that he destroys the work of your hands?
For with many dreams come vanities and numerous words.
    Therefore, fear God!

Do not be surprised if you see the poor being oppressed with violence
    or do not see justice and righteousness in the province.
For one official is watched by a higher official,
    and there are even higher officials over them!
The produce of the land is exploited by everyone;
    even the king profits from the field of the poor!

Whoever loves money is not satisfied with money,
    and whoever loves wealth is not satisfied with profit.
This also is vanity!
When prosperity increases,
    those who consume it increase.
So its owner gains nothing,
    except to see his wealth before it is spent.
The sleep of the laborer is pleasant, whether he eats little or much,
    but the wealth of the rich man does not allow him to rest.

There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: wealth hoarded by its owner to his harm. That wealth was lost in a bad venture. Although he has borne a child, he has nothing to leave to him. Just as he came from his mother’s womb naked, he will depart just as he came; he will take nothing with him for his toil. This also is a grievous illness. Exactly as he came, so he will go. What profit does he gain for all his toil for the wind? Also, he eats in darkness all his days; he is frustrated in much sickness and resentment.

Look! I have discovered what is good and fitting: to eat and to drink and to enjoy all the fruit of the toil with which one toils under the sun during the number of the days of his life that God gives to him—for this is his lot. This indeed is a gift of God: everyone to whom God gives wealth and possessions, he also empowers him to enjoy them, to accept his lot, and to rejoice in the fruit of his toil. For he does not remember the brief days of his life, for God keeps his heart preoccupied with enjoyment of life.

Ecclesiastes 6

Here is another misfortune that I have seen under the sun, and it is prevalent among humankind. God gives a man wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires; yet God does not enable him to enjoy it—instead someone else ends up enjoying it. This is vanity—indeed, it is a grievous ill!

Even if a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years so that the days of his years are many, if his heart is not satisfied with his prosperity and he does not receive a proper burial, I deem the stillborn better than him. For he comes into vanity and departs into darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness. He has neither seen nor known the sun, yet he has more rest than him. Even if a man lives a thousand years twice, if he does not enjoy prosperity, both suffer the same fate!

All of a man’s toil is for his mouth—
    yet his appetite is never satisfied.
So do the wise really have an advantage over fools?
    Can the poor really gain anything by knowing how to act in front of others?
Better to be content with what your eyes see
    than for your soul to constantly crave more.
This also is vanity and chasing wind!

Whatever is—it was already determined,
    what will be—it has already been decided.
As for man, he cannot argue
    against what is more powerful than him.
Increasing words only multiplies futility,
    how does that profit anyone?

For who knows what is good for a man in his life during the few days of his fleeting life, which are fleeting as a shadow? For who can tell anyone what will happen in the future under the sun?

Psalm 125

A song of ascents.

Those who trust in Yahweh
are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved,
but abides forever.
As mountains are round about Jerusalem,
so Yahweh is round about his people,
from now until forever.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
on the land of the righteous,
lest the righteous stretch out
their hands to do wickedness.
Do good, O Yahweh, to the good,
and to those upright in their hearts.
But regarding those who turn aside to their crooked ways,
Yahweh will lead them away with the evildoers.
Peace be upon Israel.

2 Timothy 2

You, therefore, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these things to faithful people who will be competent to teach others also. Suffer together with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one who serves as a soldier is entangled in the activities of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him. And also if anyone competes he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The farmer who works hard must be the first to receive a share of the crops. Consider what I am saying, for the Lord will grant you understanding in all these things.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David according to my gospel, in connection with which I suffer misfortune to the point of imprisonment as a criminal, but the word of God is not bound. Because of this, I endure all things for the sake of the chosen, in order that they also may obtain salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy:

For if we died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are unfaithful, he remains faithful—he cannot deny himself.

Remind people of these things, solemnly urging them before the Lord not to dispute about words. This is in no way beneficial and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Make every effort to present yourself approved to God, a worker having no need to be ashamed, guiding the word of truth along a straight path. But avoid pointless chatter, for it will progress to greater ungodliness, and their message will spread like gangrene, among whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have deviated concerning the truth by saying the resurrection has already taken place, and they are upsetting the faith of some. However, the solid foundation of God stands firm, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are his," and "Everyone who names the name of the Lord must abstain from unrighteousness."

Now in a great house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also wooden and earthenware ones, some of which are for honorable use, and some of which are for ordinary use. Therefore, if someone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

But flee from youthful desires, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, in company with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart. But avoid foolish and uninformed controversies, because you know that they produce quarrels. And the slave of the Lord must not quarrel, but be kind toward everyone, skillful in teaching, tolerant, correcting those who are opposed with gentleness, seeing whether perhaps God may grant them repentance to a knowledge of the truth, and they will come to their senses again and escape from the trap of the devil, being held captive by him to do his will.