Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ecclesiastes 5 & 6 - Chasing After Wind

LINK: Ecclesiastes 5 & 6

BACKGROUND

Some commentators think this is an "interlude" in Solomon's argument, but it is a very important part of his argument! First, he wisely warned us to approach God with reverence and be ready ("to draw nigh with the desire") to hear (obey) rather than offering the sacrifice of a fool. The essence of Old Testament ritual was obedience and not a hasty sacrifice (Remember Samuel's rebuke to Saul in 1 Samuel 15:2?) or vow. Perhaps Solomon was looking back in reflection at the end of his life at his own disobedience (see 1 Kings 11 regarding his foreign wives).

Second, he warned against corruption in government and the need for honest and organized authority. The gist of these verses can be summed up in this quote by Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887, "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Next, he covered the futility of loving money because it cannot bring satisfaction or solve your problems. "The human heart was made to be satisfied only with God" (Warren Wiersbe). Solomon argued that increased money for a person whose heart is in the wrong place only leads to increased anxiety and not increased pleasures. Also, a person cannot take it with them. He enters the world with nothing and leaves with nothing!

In Ecclesiastes 6, Solomon concluded his assertions on the meaninglessness of riches by giving some practical advice summed up by Warren Wiersbe in this way:
Nobody can truly enjoy the gifts of God apart from the God who gives the gifts. To enjoy the gifts without the Giver is idolatry, and this can never satisfy the human heart. Enjoyment without God is merely entertainment, and it doesn't satisfy. But enjoyment with God is enrichment and it brings true joy and satisfaction. (Be satisfied)

REFLECTION (written in 2009)

As I meditated on this, I recalled a conversation several years ago with a recently married man whose sole goal in life was to become a "Christian millionaire." He did not have any plans to use his money for God's glory, he just wanted to be rich. Period.

Fast forward twenty years. Even though he has tried, he did not become a millionaire. In fact, it has become quite the opposite despite his fruitless pursuit of wealth and "chasing after wind." How very sad. Sadder still that he ended up having an affair and leaving his wife. 

I want to chase after things that last into eternity and are burning on God's heart. Tonight, I spent two hours with three other people who are passionate about God's glory spreading throughout the whole earth. They are all taking the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement class! The article in the book called "Apostolic Passion" really hit us. I hope you enjoy it too!

APPLICATION

Read "Apostolic Passion" and let me know what you think!

PRAYER

Lord, we want to run hard after You and not chase after wind. Show us where we are chasing after things that are meaningless. Help us to know that any gift we receive in this world is material to bring You glory. We ask this in Jesus' name, Amen.
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