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Here’s the Truth. Can you Handle it? Day 1

The words of the wise are like goads, their collected saying like firmly embedded nails—given by one Shepherd.
Ecclesiastes 12:11

Lately I have been hearing voices—actually, just one voice. Although much it is saying is somewhat familiar, its relevance in the context of my life has come as a surprise. Or maybe I should say it this way: this voice and these words have acquired a new depth and appreciation because of where I am in my life’s journey.

The speaker is King Solomon, the third king of Israel, as he speaks out of the pages of the book of Ecclesiastes.

2 Timothy 3;16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking correcting and training in righteousness…”. In other words, if it is found in the Bible, God has put it there for a purpose. But, let’s face it, some books of the Bible seem more “useful” than others. The Old Testament book of Esther is an inspiring story, but God’s name is never mentioned. 3 John seems more like a postcard than a letter. And then there is Ecclesiastes…

Some will tell us that Ecclesiastes is a dark book written by a man who had seen it all, and done it all and come to the end of his life, depressed and disillusioned. The golden boy who began his life with everything—wealth, wisdom, position and power-- finished his race as a hollow shell. Is Ecclesiastes, then, just the reflections of a bitter old man? Is the only useful aspect of this book as a negative example?

Put Solomon in the older but wiser category, if you wish, but remember what Solomon called himself: The Teacher. Solomon’s resources and opportunities were unparalleled in the history of the world (“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.” 2:10). The purpose of Ecclesiastes was not to mourn what might have been, but to teach timeless lessons about life.

We who live in 21st century western culture are marinated in a materialistic mindset. Often our activities, thoughts, even prayers, circle around what is happening “under the sun.” We are also a culture who denies ourselves nothing our eyes desire and (often sadly) what pleasures our heart.

Solomon knew something about immediate gratification. His intention in Ecclesiastes is not only to tell us about his life, but to tell us about the outcome of his choices. The lessons are there for those who are willing to sit under his teaching.

Nancy Shirah                

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