Week 27, Day 4 in the LEB

Jul 5, 2017

Podcast: Play in new window (Duration: 13:27 — 4.41 MB)
The reading for today is Ecclesiastes 7-9; Psalm 46; 2 Timothy 3.

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

Ecclesiastes 7

A good name is better than precious ointment,
    and the day of death is better than the day of one’s birth.
Better to go to the house of mourning
    than to go to the house of feasting,
for death is the end of every person,
    and the living should take it to his heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
    for by sadness of countenance the heart is made good.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
    but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
Better to listen to the rebuke of the wise
    than for a man to listen to the song of fools.
Like the sound of thorns under a pot,
    so also the laughter of fools.
This also is vanity!

Surely oppression makes a fool of the wise,
    and a bribe corrupts the heart.
The end of a matter is better than its beginning;
    better to be slow to anger than hot-headed.
Do not be quick in your spirit to anger,
    for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
Do not say, "Why were the former days better than these?"
    For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
Wisdom is good with an inheritance;
    it benefits the living.
For wisdom offers protection like money offers protection.
    But knowledge has an advantage—wisdom restores life to its possessor.

Consider the work of God.
    For who is able to make straight what he made crooked?
In the day of prosperity, rejoice!
    But in the day of adversity, consider!
For God made one in place of another
    so that mortals cannot find out what will happen in the future.

I have seen all these things in my vain life:
    Sometimes a righteous man perishes in spite of his righteousness,
        and sometimes a wicked man lives a long life in spite of his evil.
Do not be excessively righteous,
    and do not act excessively wise, lest you destroy yourself.
Do not act excessively wicked,
    and do not be a fool, lest you die before your time.
It is good to take hold of the one and also must not let go of the other;
    for whoever fears God will hold both of them secure.

Wisdom gives more strength to the wise
    than ten rulers who are in the city.
Surely there is no one righteous on the earth
    who continually does good and never sins.
Do not pay attention to everything people say,
    lest you hear your own servant curse you.
For your heart knows
    that you also have cursed others many times.

All this I have tested with wisdom. I said, "I will be wise!" but it was beyond my grasp. Whatever is—it is far beyond comprehension. Who can discover it?

I set my mind to try to seek wisdom and the plan, and to know that wickedness is foolishness and that folly is delusion. I myself found that more bitter than death is the woman who is a trap, whose heart is a snare, and whose hands are bonds. The one who pleases God escapes from her, but the sinner is caught by her. "Look! I found this," said the Teacher, "while trying to find how the plan fits together. What my heart sought, I did not find. Although I found one righteous man among one thousand, I did not find one upright woman among all these. Look! This alone I found: God made mankind upright, but they have devised many schemes."

Ecclesiastes 8

Who is like the sage?
    Who knows the interpretation of a thing?
A man’s wisdom makes his face shine,
    and the hardness of his face is changed.
Keep the command of the king
    because of your oath to God.
Do not be terrified of his presence!
    Go at once and do not delay when a matter is unpleasant,
for he can do anything that he desires.
Since the word of the king is supreme,
    no one can say to him, "What are you doing?"
Whoever obeys his command will not suffer disaster.
    The wise mind knows the proper time and the right procedure.
For there is a proper time and right procedure for every matter,
    even though the trouble of man weighs heavy upon him.

Surely no one knows what will be,
    so who can tell anyone what will happen?
Just as no one can control the wind to restrain the wind,
    so also no one can control the day of his death.
Just as no one is discharged in time of war,
    so wickedness will not deliver the wicked.

I saw all this as I applied my heart to all the deeds done under the sun: sometimes those in authority harm others. Meanwhile, I saw the wicked being honorably buried, but those who came and went from the holy place were forgotten in the city, even though they had done so. This also is vanity!

Because sentence against an evil deed is not carried out quickly, the heart of humans fills up within them to do evil. Although the sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I also know that it will be good for those who fear God—because they fear his presence. But it will not go well with the wicked, and they will not prolong their days, like the shadow; because there is no fearing God’s presence. There is a vanity that happens on earth: sometimes the righteous suffer what the wicked deserve, and sometimes the wicked receive what the righteous deserve. I said, "This also is vanity!"

So I recommend enjoyment. For there is nothing better for man under the sun than to eat and to drink and to rejoice. This will accompany him in his toil the days of his life that God gives to him under the sun.

I applied my mind to know wisdom and to understand the business that is done on earth—how neither day nor night one’s eyes see sleep. Then I saw all the work of God—man is not able to discover the work that is done under the sun. Although man may toil in seeking, he cannot find it. Even if a wise man claims that he knows it, he cannot find it.

Ecclesiastes 9

So all this I laid to my heart, and I concluded that the righteous and the wise, as well as their deeds, are in the hand of God. So no one knows anything that will come to them, whether it will be love or hatred. The same fate comes to everyone:

to the righteous and to the wicked,
    to the good and to the wicked,
to the clean and to the unclean,
    to those who sacrifice and to those who do not sacrifice.
As with the good man, so also to the sinner;
    as with those who swear an oath, so also those who fear oaths.
This is the injustice that is done under the sun:
    the same fate comes to everyone.
Also the hearts of humans are full of evil;
    delusion is in their hearts during their lives, and then they die.

Whoever is joined to all the living has hope. After all, even a live dog is better than a dead lion! For the living know that they will die, but the dead do not know anything. They no longer have a reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. What they loved and hated, as well as what they desired, has already perished. They no longer have any share in what is done under the sun.

Go—eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart! For God already has approved your deeds. Always be clothed in white garments, and never let your head lack oil! Enjoy life with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which he gives you under the sun, because this is your lot in life and in the toil with which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do—do it with all your might; for in Sheol—where you are going—no one works, plans, knows, or thinks about anything.

I looked again and saw under the sun that the race does not belong to the swift, the battle does not belong to the mighty, food does not belong to the wise, wealth does not belong to the intelligent, and success does not belong to the skillful, for time and chance befalls all of them. For man does not know his time. Just as fish are caught in a cruel net and like birds who are seized in a snare, so also humans are ensnared at a cruel time when it falls suddenly upon them.

I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. There was a small city with few people in it. A great king came and besieged it, building great siege works against it. Now, a poor wise man was found in it, and he delivered the city by his wisdom. So I concluded that wisdom is better than might, yet the wisdom of the poor is despised, and his words are not heard.

The words of the wise are heard in peace
    more than the shouting of a ruler is heard among the fools.
Wisdom is better than weapons of war,
    but one sinner destroys much good.

Psalm 46

For the music director. Of the sons of Korah.

According to Alamoth. A song.

God is our refuge and strength,
a very sufficient help in troubles.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth change,
and though the mountains totter into the midst of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though mountains shake with its surging water. Selah
There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God,
the holiest of the dwellings of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her;
she will not be made to totter.
God will help her at daybreak.
Nations roar, kingdoms shake;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
Yahweh of hosts is with us;
our high stronghold is the God of Jacob. Selah
Come, see the works of Yahweh,
who has placed desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and cuts off the spear.
The wagons of war he burns with fire.
Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations;
I will be exalted in the earth.
Yahweh of Hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our high stronghold.

2 Timothy 3

But know this, that in the last days difficult times will come, for people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, hardhearted, irreconcilable, slanderous, without self-control, savage, with no interest for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God, maintaining a form of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid these people. For from these are those who slip into houses and captivate foolish women loaded down with sins, led by various kinds of desires, always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these oppose the truth, people corrupted in mind, disqualified concerning the faith. But they will not progress to a greater extent, for their folly will be quite evident to everyone, as also the folly of those two was.

But you have faithfully followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, and sufferings that happened to me in Antioch, in Iconium, and in Lystra, what sort of persecutions I endured, and the Lord delivered me from all of them. And indeed, all those who want to live in a godly manner in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil people and imposters will progress to the worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you continue in the things which you have learned and are convinced of, because you know from whom you learned them, and that from childhood you have known the holy writings that are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, in order that the person of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.