Ecclesiastes 2 – Vanity of Self-Indulgence

Solomon was one of the wealthiest of the ancient kings. Part of his wealth came from a fleet of ships that traded in ivory; gold, and other valuables (1 Kings 9:26-28)

Solomon was one of the wealthiest of the ancient kings. Part of his wealth came from a fleet of ships that traded in ivory; gold, and other valuables (1 Kings 9:26-28)

Still trying to satisfy his insatiable craving for knowledge, answers, and that which he cannot know, Solomon turns to pleasure; and he has the great wealth to do so with a vengeance.  One of the richest men alive at the time, the king had collected gold and silver in great quantities.  He says that he denied himself nothing – whatever he wanted, he came to possess it.  He indulged himself with wine for distraction, but says that he kept his wisdom.  He had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).  He built great structures and houses, planted vineyards for himself. obtained large herds and flocks of livestock.  And with his wealth, he acquired many slaves.  None of the possessions nor the pleasures did more than temporarily amuse him because none of them possessed the lasting quality he was looking for.

He then realized that even his great wisdom was all for nothing.  In the end, he will end up the same as any fool, and no better.  Everything that happened to the fool would eventually happen to him as well.  Nothing “under the sun” mattered to him.  His only hope was that all of the work that he did to build an empire would be passed on to his heirs.  Then he realized that he had no assurance that even this would be so.  The kingship could be passed on to one that was not of his house, and along with it, all that he himself had worked for.  The ultimate irony, he realized, was that the person to whom it went could himself be a fool.   All of it, he repeated, was “striving after wind.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com

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Ecclesiastes 1 – The Words of the Preacher

Jerusalem, Solomon's quarries

Jerusalem, Solomon’s quarries

Clearly Solomon, the writer identifies himself as the son of David, king of Israel, and someone who has “acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me.”  By also identifying himself as “the preacher” Solomon obviously knows that his words will be used for learning and instruction, and certainly intends them as such.  In fact, some have speculated that he may actually have directly addressed an assembly of some sort with some of these teachings.

The same man who wrote many proverbs extolling the value of work and the foolishness of being lazy says in verse 3 “What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” In fact, many verses here talk about things “under the sun,” which is the key to understanding here.  All the work that we accomplish here “under the sun” will one day pass away, unlike the earth, the sun itself, the wind and the sea, all of which remain constant.  No matter how grand man’s accomplishments here may be, they will not matter when this life is over.

Even his quest for wisdom, he says, is “striving after wind” because “in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.”  What he learned in the end is that there is much that man simply cannot know while “under the sun,” and those truths are the only things that really matter.  All else is but vapor…

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

January 2013 Reading Schedule Posted!

A big thank you to all who have read this blog during 2012!  While this blog is certainly not ever going to be the most popular WordPress “hangout,” we did just receive some statistics that are encouraging.  For example, the post on Peter’s rescue in Acts 12 received 652 views in one day. Not what we expected in the first year!  Thank you!

Here is the link to the 2013 reading schedule for January (January 2013 Reading Schedule).  In 2013, this blog will focus on the “Wisdom Literature” with a unique approach to Proverbs, Psalms, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Job, and as a special was to end 2013 the last week in December, the Book of James (often referred to as the “Proverbs of the New Testament”).  The first two weeks (beginning tomorrow 01/01/2013) we will read the first 9 chapters of Proverbs.  Theses chapters introduce the book, and what we actually know as “proverbs” do not really begin until chapter 10.

Psalm 1, Verse 1 and 2 in Biblia Hebraica Stut...

Psalm 1, Verse 1 and 2 in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After those two weeks, we will settle into a schedule that adds variety to the five days per week of reading these books.  Each Monday in the first half of the year, we will read 8 verses of the longest chapter in the entire Bible – the 119th Psalm (with other, shorter Psalms included on many of those days).  This is a great Psalm that praises God and His word; and it is very rich in inspiration.  We will take a second look at these verses (and other Psalms) in the second half of the year from a fresh perspective. On Tuesdays, we will be reading from Proverbs with a similar approach.

On Wednesdays, we will be reading what are commonly called “lament” Psalms.  These are tremendously valuable in helping us with learning to call upon the Lord when life becomes very difficult, and even as tragedy and pain come our way.  Thursdays, we will read from the Book of Job, and on Fridays, we will be reading from other Psalms.

We will take a break at the end of June through July, and read through Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon in their entirety, gaining much value learning about life, service to God, and the relationship of husbands and wives to each other.  Then we will resume the previously outlined schedule.

We are looking forward to what promises to be a very rewarding experience in God’s word in 2013!

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Sneak Preview of 2013! \ Week 49 summary posted

What a year it’s been pointing to the cross!  We started this blog in January with a Bible reading plan that caught our interest, and went from the creation in Genesis all the way to the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus the Christ – one chapter a day, five days per week.  As we finish the year with the Scriptures pointing the way to His return and our salvation, we hope you have grown and benefited as much as we have from God’s word this year!

Cross-003But, alas the year is soon ending; and the question of what this blog will be focused on in 2013 must now be answered.  Well, fortunately, we recently figured that out.  A very different reading plan has come to our attention that is just too hard to resist.  As of this writing, the designers of this plan (again, not us) are working on the finishing touches of the schedule – which will be ready by the end of the year.  What we can tell you right now is that next year’s reading schedule for this blog will be focused on what is commonly called “The Wisdom Literature,” or sometimes “The Poetry and Wisdom Books of the Bible!”

More details to come before January, but we are excited about a year of an in-depth look into Psalms, Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, the Book of Job and, as an added bonus, the Book of James!  The latter is not included in the list of “Wisdom books” normally, but it is often called the “Proverbs of the New Testament;” and we think it is a fabulous choice to end the year with in 2013!

So that brings us to the subject of the approaching date of December 21, 2012 and that pesky Mayan calendar.  We were recently treated to a very well-written article on that very subject.  Please enjoy it at the following link in its title – “What does the Bible say about the Mayan Calendar and Doomsday on December 21?”

Summing Up

Each weekend, I am now posting a small PDF of one week of chapter summaries (on the website’s “Summaries” page), current to the beginning of the previous week.  I have posted the summary for Week 49 (December Week 1) of the schedule I am following.  This short PDF document contains condensed comments about Ephesians 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, with hyperlinks to the ESV version of each chapter for listening or reading, and joins the summaries for other weeks already posted there.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.