Ecclesiastes

King Solomon, the preacher, outlines the main message of his book of wisdom right at the start, “ Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?” (Chapter 1:2,3). He goes on to show that much, perhaps all, that happens on earth under the sun is cyclical. Generations of men and women come and go, the sun rises and sets, weather systems are spirals, “ wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.”

Weather system.

Then there’s the water cycle:

” All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.”

And the menstrual cycle! The cycle of the seasons, the moon, the orbits of the planets…one could go on and on!

History repeats itself, “ The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.  Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.”

His conclusion regarding the work of men under the sun is that it is all in vain and has no eternal benefit and he is correct when one only thinks of earthly work without any relation to God who is above the sun. Life without God may well be cyclical leading nowhere and with no lasting benefit but life with God is linear, leading to glory and bearing eternal fruit along the way. So jumping to the end of the book he ends, ” Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” When one does this life is not in vain, we can expect a “well done” for our stewardship and Paul expected a crown of glory which among other things comprised many of his spiritual children (I Thess. 2:19).

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Temperance in all things

 

If the athlete has to be self-controlled and temperate in all things (food, sleep, physical training) then even more so should the Christian believer be temperate in all things and keep under, nay mortify, his body of sin (sinful flesh).

 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (I Corinthians 9:24-27).

John Gill is good: Commentary (v24)

Second marriages

Malachi warns people that if they are unrepentant, divorced and remarried their worship is unacceptable to God.

 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out (the tears of the abandoned spouse and children-JK), insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant (Malachi 2;13,14). Futhermore marrying for a second time while the first spouse lives is adultery (Matthew 5:31, Romans 7:2,3) and adulterers shall not inherit the kingdom of God (I Cor.6:9). How many friends, even among professing Christians do you know in this position?

Psalm 133

I’ve often wondered why Christian love and unity was compared with Aaron’s anointing or the dew of Hermon. Here are my insights plus that of the great commentator John Gill.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” Psalm 133.

Christian love from our anointing is a public demonstration (John 13:34,35) and personal reassurance of one’s calling (I John 2:27). In Christ we are all anointed as prophets, priests and kings so as to minister to each other. Christian fellowship, like the oil, is precious and refreshing like the dew to invigorate.

“David means the superior aperture of the garment, that which we call the neck or collar band; This anointing oil was typical of the grace of the Spirit, the unction from the Holy One; which has been poured on Christ, the head of the church, without measure; and with which he has been anointed above his fellows; and from him it is communicated to all his members (I John 2:27); to every one of which is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ; and who from his fullness receive, and grace for grace: and particularly brotherly love is compared to this ointment; because of the preciousness of it, which is true of every grace; and because of the extensiveness of it, reaching to head and members, to Christ and all his saints, the meanest and lowest of them; and because of its fragrancy and sweet odour to all that are sensible of it; and because of its delightful, cheering, and refreshing nature; like ointment and perfume it rejoices the heart; yea, the worst things said, or reproofs given, in brotherly love, are like oil, pleasant and useful, ( Proverbs 27:9 ) ( Psalms 141:5) ; and is as necessary for the saints, who are all priests unto God, to offer up their spiritual sacrifices; particularly that of prayer, which should be “without wrath”, as well as without doubting; and to do all other duties of religion, which should spring from charity or love; as the anointing oil was to Aaron and his sons, in order to their officiating in the priest’s office.” John Gill

Romans 13:14

 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Romans 13:14

The first part of this verse refers to the wonderful imputed righteousness of our Saviour and then John Gill says regarding the second half that it refers to, “The body: not but that due care is to be taken of it, both for food and clothing; and for its health, and the continuance and preservation of it by all lawful methods; but not so as

to fulfil the lusts thereof;
to indulge and gratify them, by luxury and uncleanness: it is a saying of Hillell “he that increases flesh, increases worms”; the sense his commentators  give of it is, that

“he that increases by eating and drinking, until he becomes fat and fleshy, increases for himself worms in the grave:”

the design of the sentence is, that voluptuous men, who care for nothing else but the flesh, should consider, that ere long they will be a repast for worms: we should not provide, or be caterers for the flesh; and, by pampering it, stir up and satisfy its corrupt inclinations and desires.” Solemn warning-JK.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Galatians 6:7,8.

Psalm 57

Psalms 57

v2 I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me. Similar to Psalm 138:8 which says “God will perfect that which concerns me” and Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good….”. Our sovereign covenant God is doing all that is needful in our lives and giving all that is needful to live for him faithfully.( Romans 8:32, Phil.4:19)

John Gill says, v 8  Awake up, my glory
Meaning his soul, it being the most honourable, glorious, and excellent part of man; is the breath of God, of his immediate production; is a spirit incorporeal and immortal; is possessed of glorious powers and faculties; had the image of God stamped upon it, which made man the glory of God, ( 1 Corinthians 11:7 ) ; and has the image of Christ on it in regenerated persons; and is that with which God and Christ are glorified; and is, upon all accounts, of great worth and value, even of more worth than the whole world: and this sometimes in the saints is as it were asleep, and needs awaking; not in a literal sense; for it is incapable of natural sleep, being incorporeal; but in a figurative and spiritual sense, as when grace is dormant, and not in exercise; when the soul is backward to and slothful in duty, unconcerned about divine things, and lukewarm and indifferent to them; which is occasioned by prevailing corruptions and worldly cares; and sometimes it becomes dull, and heavy, and inactive, through an over pressure by sorrows and troubles, as the disciples of Christ were found sleeping for sorrow, ( Luke 22:45 ) ; which seems to have been the case of the psalmist here; he had been in great distress, his soul was bowed down, ( Psalms 57:6 ) ; he had hung his harp upon the willow, and could not sing one of the Lord’s songs in the place and circumstances he was in; but now he calls upon his soul, and arouses all the powers and faculties of it, and stirs up himself to the work of praise, just as Deborah did, ( Judges 5:12 ) ; some by his glory understand his tongue, as in ( Psalms 16:9 ) compared with ( Acts 2:26 ) ( Psalms 30:12) ; and so may design vocal singing here, as instrumental music in the next clause:

Down or up?

We are not just ageing and becoming decrepit we are progressing to glory!

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish*, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.” Psalm 16:9
“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:5. Death shall not separate us from the love of God.
* I feel these that my strength is sapping away now perhaps because of the toll of these last two operations and all I can do is shuffle along and there is no guarantee of improvement. Well I am approaching 66.