Today’s Texts – Ecclesiastes 11, 12, 2 Chronicles 9:29-31.
Highlights: The book of Ecclesiastes concludes with a strong statement about the true meaning of life. Then we read about the death of Solomon and how his son Rehoboam becomes the new king.
Much of Ecclesiastes sounds depressing. See for a good example Ecclesiastes 11:7-8. What do you find helpful in a statement like that? Why is it good to acknowledge the realities of life such as sorrow and death?
Solomon’s quest for the meaning of life continues. He has established that the world cannot satisfy and has transitioned into an “advice” stage. Some of this sounds alot like his other book, Proverbs. Some of his topics are wisdom, respect for rulers and powerful people even though you may not agree with them, and laziness. Again he recommends enjoying the simple pleasures of life such as eating, drinking, family, worthwhile labor, etc.
Practical wisdom is far superior to foolish living but ultimately does not guarantee a long, happy life. What are some things that could happen even to someone who lives a very prudent careful life? 8:14, 9:11; 9:15-16.
Today’s Reading: Ecclesiastes 5-7.
Highlights: Solomon continues his report on his quest to discover the true meaning of life. He reflects on the existence of inequities such as oppression, injustice, and personal adversity. A major topic in these chapters is man’s futile attempt to find meaning in materialism.
This section seems to reflect more on man’s relationship with God. Chapter 5 begins with a warning about being humble in our relationships with God and chapter 7 teaches us to seek the deeper lessons of life that make our heart better: “the house of morning” is better than the “house of feasting”, “sorrow is better than laughter”, etc.
The teaching in Ecclesiastes regarding money and the things it can buy (5:10-6:9) is so relevant today! Chapter 6: 7 says “All the labor of man is for his mouth, And yet the soul is not satisfied.” Why are material things unable to bring us true satisfaction? What are some reasons in today’s reading?
Today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 1-4
Highlights: What is the meaning of life? The book of Ecclesiastes documents Solomon’s personal quest to discover the meaning of life. Solomon’s qualifications to be a philosopher are his wisdom and his position which enables him to try everything life has to offer. His conclusion is that “under the sun” all is meaningless – life is filled with problems, inequities, momentary thrills that leave one unsatisfied – and then you die. Twice in these early chapters (2:24, 3:12) he says there is nothing better than to eat and drink and do good. The book begins to suggest in these early chapters and will ultimately conclude later that the true meaning of life is only found in trusting God.
What are some of the specific problems in life that he identifies in the first 4 chapters?
Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 11
Highlights: This is a sad chapter. Chapter 11 tells us of Solomon’s downfall. We see a bizarre love for foreign women that leads him to have a 700 wives and 300 concubines. His wives turn his heart away from serving God. He introduces idolatry into the nation. As punishment God tells qSolomon the kingdom will be taken from him. Enemies rise up against Solomon, most notably Jeroboam who will later take 10 tribes for himself. God’s respect for David prevents a total loss of the Kingdom (David’s family will retain 2 tribes) and will delay the division till after Solomon is dead.
God had warned about foriegn women “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods”. That is exactly what he did and that is exactly what happened. He doesn’t seem to practice what he preached in the book of Proverb’s about trusting in God and he doesn’t seem very wise. How do you explain the great fall of Solomon?
Today’s Text: Psalm 127, Song of Solomon.
Psalm 127 is a beautiful testimony to a solid home built on the foundation of God’s truth.
Then we have one of the most unique books in the Bible. On the surface it appears to be a love story which is very graphic in describing the romantic feelings and physical passions of men and women. There is some debate over how the Song of Solomon should be interpreted. Some see it as an Allegory of man’s relationship with God.
I think you have to admit that it is a surprising form of literature for the inspired word of God.The book closes with this statement of the great gift that human love can be: “Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it”.
Why do you think God gave us the Song of Solomon in our Bibles?
Today’s Text: Proverbs 29, 30, 31
Highlights of today’s reading: Proverbs 29 ends the wise sayings of Solomon. Chapter 30 contains the words of Agur. Chapter 31 contains the words of King Lemuel.
For the most part Proverbs was written from the perspective of a father speaking to his son (the expression “my son” is found 23 times). Young men especially should read it and apply its wisdom. The book also says much about the behavior of women and interestingly the book closes with a lengthy, beautiful praise of the godly woman.
In the beginning of chapter 31 what two things was King Lemuel warned about by his mother? Instead of pursuing these what was he told to pursue?
Today’s Reading – Proverbs 26, 27, 28
Highlights: We have 2 more days in Proverbs. Some of the topics in today’s reading are fools, laziness , gossip and meddling in the affairs of others, pride, turning from sin, etc. Fools are a big topic, especially in chapter 26, but 26:12 says “do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Note the references to pride in these chapters.
“Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:6. 7). It is unpleasant to address sin in the lives of others and it should always be done with humility. What does 28:23 say about the man who has the courage to do this?
Today’s reading: Proverbs 23, 24, 25
Highlights – More practical wisdom. In today’s reading are thoughts about adversity and loving our enemies, more about wealth, disciplining children, and laziness. There is advice about keeping a matter private when you learn something negative about your neighbor (25:8-10), similar to what Jesus taught in Matthew 18:15.
Today’s reading contains an extended warning about wine (23:29-35). What is Solomon’s point? What had he said about it in 20:1?
Today’s Reading: Proverbs 20, 21, 22
Highlights: Again, several topics here. Wine, a contentious wife, raising children, attitudes toward the poor, etc.
The Proverbs are very practical. As you read through any chapter in Proverbs it is likely that you will see a teaching about something that is going on in your life at that time.
Nothing tests us in more ways than what Jackson Browne called “the happy idiot’s struggle for the legal tender”. What are some of the lessons taught about integrity in business and work ethics? (For examples see 20:4, 20:10, 20:13, 20:17, 20:21, 20:23, 21:5-6, 22:13).