Saturday, 22 July 2023
“…For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?”
This also is vanity and a grave misfortune. - Ecclesiastes 4: 8
The Author, King Solomon desired to spare the future generations the bitterness of learning through their own experiences that life is meaningless apart from God. From our reading today, we can gather the right perspectives on a few issues the author takes up.
· Oppression and Deliverance: Vs.1-3 speak about oppression of men, the power oppressors wield, and the lack of help, deliverance or comfort the oppressed receive. So the writer concludes that the dead were better off than the living or better still not to be born to see suffering. Many feel and think like that when afflicted. We often draw our own conclusions when we cannot understand certain situations we go through. We forget the word of God which says that in this life we will have trials (John 16:33). The hope of a Christian is that God sees our afflictions and He is our deliverer and comforter! “My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation…” (Psalm 62:5-7)
· Perspectives of Work (Vs.4-8) Here we see 3 approaches to work: i) one whose work and ambitions are motivated by the envy of others ii) one who refuses to work hard iii) a workaholic. In all three we find the end results: i) one in the futility of purpose ii) the other in utmost laziness iii) in the foolishness of isolation. So writer concludes its better to have little with peace of mind than strive for more chasing the wind. If we understand that there will always be others who have it better than us in life, we will learn to appreciate and enjoy what we have. That’s being content! It takes off the stress of comparative achievement and instead we can have the joy of accomplishment within the capabilities that God has blessed us with. 1 Timothy 6:6-9 says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it……... Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
· Value of Friendship (Vs.9-12) The writer illustrates the value of friendship by stating the benefits of two walking in unity and if you can find a third one who is in agreement, then you are assured help in times of trouble. But if you are alone and one who doesn’t make friends, when you stumble and fall, there will be no one to help. Proverbs 18:24: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” To those of us who have Jesus as the closet Friend, there is nothing to fear! How are we His friends? Jesus says in John 15:12 & 14: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you…. You are my friends if you do what I command.”
Enjoying what you have is the benefit that God has given all men in common. May it lead all to find the true Giver of all good things and find joy in God alone!
THINK ON: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)