“...God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” - 1 Peter 5:5
One of the rudimentary teachings of the Bible is God’s ability to reduce those who are full of pride. Pride is ugly and, in many ways, a root cause of all sin.
“If you see a turtle on a fence post you’d be rational to conclude it didn’t get there by itself.” - political joke
Sometimes we get too big for our britches. We believe we have arrived and we got there all on our own, by pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps! (Sorry for all the country jargon, just hard to quit!). The reality is that we are nothing without Him... we couldn’t even breath without Him!
Have you ever been in one of those frustrating situations where everyone else sees something, but you cannot seem to find it? Recently, we have been doing Where’s Waldo before bed with the boys. Nate is obsessed with seek and find of any kind, but he likes finding Waldo. If you have never seen the book before, it is a frustrating ‘game’ where you have to find specific characters on every jumbled busy page.
Religious activity without righteous actuality stinks in the nostrils of God.
A consistent theme in the Scriptures is God’s people performing the outward motions of religion but their hearts being far from God. Such is the case in Isaiah. Chapter one contains a scathing rebuke and serves as a synopsis of the book.
This 23rd book of the Bible leads us into the next major collection of books, the prophetic books. The prophetic books are divided into two major sections: Major Prophets (Isaiah-Daniel) and Minor Prophets (Hosea-Malachi). Their designation as major and minor does not have to do with their importance, but rather their size.
“If you live to be one hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.” – Winnie the Pooh
We come to the most risqué books in all the Bible, the song of songs, which is Solomon’s. In this book, we catch a glimpse of young Solomon completely infatuated with a young, poor woman. It is a book of romance, which describes a young groom and bride’s love for one another. This book was actually not allowed for younger Jews, and was considered too mature!
We are a long way off from Easter, but I am going to use an Easter illustration (After all we didn’t get to enjoy Easter this year). There is nothing more frustrating and yet enjoyable as watching a 2 year old hunt for Easter eggs! It is enjoyable because they are the cutest things... it is frustrating because they get distracted by everything! In hot pursuit of shiny candy filled eggs, a 2 year old can get distracted by bugs, sticks, rocks, their feet, and most often the CANDY. In the end, the kid that does the best is the one who with single purpose collected eggs and refused the distractions.
“I don not read advertisements. I would spend all of my time wanting things.” – Franz Kafka
I am amazed, yet not shocked, that so many in the world are in love with stuff. Not only stuff, but the money that buys stuff! There are so many who think, “if I could just have ______ I would be happy, content, and fulfilled.” Only after they have that, they then want _______, and then ______!
Ecclesiastes, the 21st book of the Bible, is a book written by Solomon. Its purpose is to give wisdom by showing the foolishness of pursuing a life without God. Through its 12 chapters, Solomon takes us on a very personal journey away from God and shows us the devastation that such a choice can make.
A key phrase in the book is, “under the sun”. This is Solomon’s way of telling us about life apart from God, or according to this world system. Life under the sun is a life in pursuit of fulfillment away from the Lord. No one had more resources to attempt this endeavor than Solomon. The man had almost a thousand wives and concubines, billions of dollars, power, fame, and position. He tried accomplishments, pleasure, and more to find fulfillment.
“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten” - Marie Antoinette
We now enter one of my favorite books, Ecclesiastes! The main idea of the book is: all is vanity except a life lived for God.
There are two major words, that appear early on in the book, and are key to understanding the plight of man without God. These two terms are what we get for a life lived “under the sun” (a life lived according to this World’s system... doing what this fallen world says will make us feel contentment and happiness)... these two terms are: vanity and vexation.