1888.) Ecclesiastes 8

Ecclesiastes 8 (New Living Translation)

 1 How wonderful to be wise,
to analyze and interpret things.
Wisdom lights up a person’s face,
softening its harshness.

Obedience to the King

He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.

–St. Augustine

To be a king and wear a crown is a thing more glorious to them that see it than it is pleasant to them that bear it.

–Queen Elizabeth I

The King is dead. Long live the King.

–a traditional proclamation made following the accession of a new monarch 

2 Obey the king since you vowed to God that you would. 3 Don’t try to avoid doing your duty, and don’t stand with those who plot evil, for the king can do whatever he wants. 4 His command is backed by great power. No one can resist or question it. 5 Those who obey him will not be punished. Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right, 6for there is a time and a way for everything, even when a person is in trouble. 7 Indeed, how can people avoid what they don’t know is going to happen? 8 None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle. And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue the wicked.

The Wicked and the Righteous

Eccle8 wicked righteous

9 I have thought deeply about all that goes on here under the sun, where people have the power to hurt each other. 10 I have seen wicked people buried with honor. Yet they were the very ones who frequented the Temple and are now praised in the same city where they committed their crimes! This, too, is meaningless.

Yes, I have seen that, too — men who were hard, cruel men, remembered after their deaths for their goodness — ?? 

Shakespeare saw it a different way (from Julius Caesar, Act 3, scene ii):  “The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.” And we have seen that, too.

11 When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong. 12 But even though a person sins a hundred times and still lives a long time, I know that those who fear God will be better off. 13The wicked will not prosper, for they do not fear God. Their days will never grow long like the evening shadows. 14 And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless!

15 So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.

Eccle8 eat drink

The Teacher sees so clearly that life is meaningless. All he can say is that we should make the best of a bad situation and enjoy life as much as we can . . .

16 In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. 17 I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.

Eccle8 my thoughts higher

. . . yet here is another perspective:  that God is doing something beyond our understanding. Ah, Teacher, this is an idea worth pursuing!

 _________________________

Music:

In 1773, William Cowper experienced a nervous breakdown.  His mind was telling him that he was condemned to hell for all of eternity.  In his mental sickness he thought God was telling him to take his own life, so he called a taxi and asked to be taken to the Thames River where he intended to end it all.  A thick fog fell about them that evening and the taxi driver drove about lost until he finally stopped to allow Cowper out.  When Cowper stepped out of the taxi he found himself standing at his own doorstep.  He believed God had sent the fog to spare him. Sometime later he wrote the hymn that contains the phrase so often used by Christians today who seek to understand the ways of God:  God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.

HERE  — Lori Sealy has taken Cowper’s famous poem/hymn, written a new melody and added a couple of her own bridges.  I hope you enjoy it!

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace.
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

God moves in a mysterious way that’s often not my own
His wisdom guides each path I take, His mercy leads me home.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain.
God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain.

God moves in a mysterious way that’s often not my own.
His wisdom guides each path I take, His mercy leads me home.
Help me to trust when I don’t understand
Grant me the peace of resting in your plan.

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace.
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blind unbelief . . .     http://i.ytimg.com/vi/2pTEboDF090/0.jpg
crown.  http://gallery.yopriceville.com/var/albums/Free-Clipart-Pictures/Crowns-PNG/Red_King_Crown_PNG_Clipart_Picture.png?m=1399672800
The thoughts of the righteous.   http://www.jarofquotes.com/img/quotes/f7d231711d490bcbf845df42c7eb6096.jpg
Eat, drink, and be merry.   http://www.twotwentyone.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/eat-drink-merry-multicolor-8×10.jpg
Isaiah 55:8-9.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/0d/2a/cf/0d2acfdbaf5f302c83b9fb48bd6b1825.jpg
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