Ecclesiastes 1-6

I posted an Overview last night if you didn’t see it.

I am NOT going to preach during this post about how LIfe without the Lord will never bring us satisfaction: I will let you dig into the scriptures and hear that from HIm.


Solomon sits and investigates not just his life, but everyone’s life.   Psalm 144:4 says:

They are like a breath;
    their days are like a fleeting shadow.

Man do I feel it!  I am at a point in my life when I think I am wasting the time I have on earth.  I am 48 years old and lay in bed thinking…Wow, in 10 years I will be 58.  In 20 years…will I still be alive? Time is fleeting!  I heard a pastor once say the most important thing in your life is the “dash” on your tombstone.  1973 – ?.  The “dash” between the dates sums up your life.

Solomon sits here and investigates his dash.  “I saw”, “I realized”, I concluded”.  In the end, he summarizes in Chapter 2:15-16 that both the wise and the fool both die, life’s great equalizer.  BUT we start to see glimpses that Solomon knows the secret of the “dash” in 2:24

A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,  for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?


Chapter 3:  Time-  this IS the dash.  Solomon begins to examine that we all do have seasons in our life.  This might be a familiar chapter to read if you are old enough to have seen the first footloose.

In each verse, there is a “favorable” and an “unfavorable” but the conclusion for both comes in verse 10:

He has made everything beautiful in its time.

I have read this book several times, and I always look at it as “what is my purpose during this time”, but this year something else stood out….what is NOT my purpose.  2021 is a crazy year!  But I take comfort in this:

16 And I saw something else under the sun:

In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
    in the place of justice—wickedness was there.

17 I said to myself,

“God will bring into judgment
    both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
    a time to judge every deed.”


Chapter 4- Solomon begins with examining society.  Chapter 4:1-3 should hurt your heart it is so true.  The human race as a whole, ignoring the oppressed, makes Solomon jealous of those who were never born because they never had to witness it with their own eyes! Ouch!

Solomon examines everything.  By verse 4 he looks at our “work” and how God has designed us to work together.  He designed us to pick each other up, keep each other safe, and protect us when we are attacked.

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.


Chapter 5.  Read this carefully, money this is NOT the root of all evil. This attitude is about our heart, our attitude, towards money.

Verse 10-12 is the introduction to the “love of money”

Verse 13-17 is the effect of living an empty life when we put love first.

Verse 18-20 is the opposite.  When it is NOT,  the love of our life God will bring gladness in our heart from the profit of our heard work.


Finally, chapter 6 is our turning point for tomorrow’s read:  End with verse 9 BUT then tomorrow start at verse 10…See you tomorrow.

Ecclesiastes Overview for tomorrow

Ecclesiastes in Hebrew means Koheleth “to bring together” “to assemble” but the Greek translation is Qoheleth meaning Teacher, Preacher, Speaker, or Philosopher.  This book was written by Solomon about 1000 years before Christ.  The theme of this book is going to be very human to us:  What is the meaning of Life? What is the point of living? Is this all there is to Life?

Ecclesiastes may seem quite pessimistic at first, the word Meaningless comes up 37 times in only 12 Chapters.  There are 5 ‘Wisdom’ books in the Bible and we are about the read the last of them.

  • Job
  • Psalms
  • Proverbs
  • Song of Songs
  • Ecclesiastes.

If you have been to college you may have taken Philosophy as a course.  Philosophers are divided over the Meaning of Life.  Oh how they go round and round like it is an unsolvable question.  This book refers to Our time on this earth as “Life under the Sun”.

Here is what the author is writing about: Apart from God what is life about?  The author writes this book from experience.  He tries to find joy, satisfaction, meaning but without the Lord.  He tried science, philosophy, drinking, possessions, wealth, music, materialism, fatalism (predetermined), and Religion (legalism).

The book does not condemn any of those concepts as a part of life but to recognize that those without God will leave us feeling meaningless.  Human effort will never complete us.


  • Chapters 1-4 is Solomon’s Search
  • Chapters 5-10 is Solomon’s Sayings
  • Chapters 11-12 is Solomon’s Solution

I am extremely excited to read this Book of Wisdom.  I just know that when I am done with these 12 Chapters I will be changed.

Proverbs 27-29

I was reading these and glazing over with a lack of understanding.  I actually flipped over to The Message and then researched the ones that still confused me.  Here is the read in the Message.

This one cracked me up!  I am a morning person…

14 If you wake your friend in the early morning
    by shouting “Rise and shine!”
It will sound to him
    more like a curse than a blessing.

BTW,  my husband wrote verse 15 and 16 in your Bible!

BUT I want you to stop and just marinate in a familiar verse:

As iron sharpens iron,
so one person sharpens another.

This is the Proverb I use the most.  I don’t have many friends,  but the few that I do I chose wisely.  This verse is not about having someone in my life that makes me a better Christian, it is about both of us becoming better Christians because of each other.  I have a really close friend, and when I need sharpening she is the iron I go to.  She will not tell me what I want to hear, she will tell me what I need to hear.


Proverbs 28 and 29: Anyone care to share any thoughts?

 

Proverbs 25-26

Chapters 25—26 contain proverbs that are mainly comparisons. The keywords in these chapters are “like … so.”  A group of scholars who served during King Hezekiah’s reign (715-686 B.C.) added to the collection of Solomon’s Proverbs. These men lived about 250 years after Solomon.

Proverbs 25- The beginning of the Proverbs relates to those in a higher position.  Maybe you can think of this at your job, with the government, in church, etc.    I like to think we all are a leader position in something.   God will search our hearts and our motives.  The one verse that really stuck out to me is:

Remove the dross from the silver,
and a silversmith can produce a vessel;

When silver is refined, it is put to extreme heat.  The dross is the “scum” or the waste that floats to the top that gets discarded.

DROSS FROM SILVER – RioSpeaks

It is in the fire that God not only separates people, but it also refines us on the inside.  Stop for a minute and think about the seasons in your life that you have come out of a situation closer to God.  I am guessing it was a time when you were struggling and needed him.    After he removed the dross what was left: A vessel for Him to fill!  Something He can USE!

Wallace Sterling Silver Water Pitcher

Click here if you want to see 100 scriptures related to the refiners’ fire. 

These proverbs talk about avoiding self-promotion, public disgrace (and I know you think this does not apply to you…our minds go to Politicians) but your social media presence…Does it Glorify God?  Does it throw stones or stir up controversy?  I still love the WWJD.  If Jesus had a Facebook would He post that?  Man, I have read some of the stuff I have posted in “emotion” and thought “What was I thinking, they will never reach out to me if I hosted a Bible Study now!”

I know this post is super late but I want to talk about this one.  It is VERY easy to read a Scripture OUT OF CONTEXT!  I just did it!!!  Here it is:

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
    if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and the Lord will reward you.

I read this as “kill them with kindness…don’t worry, God will handle the punishment or consequence”.  So this bothered me.  Do you want to know what this means!!!  In ancient times, when someone’s fire would go out, a neighbor who had a good fire would give him some hot coals out of love to help him get his fire going.  They would carry the coals in a bucket on their head.  I am sure this was uncomfortable (being loved by an enemy is uncomfortable) BUT what is the end result??  You helped them get their fire back!!

So like the Proverb from Will Smith, the Prince of Bel Air” “are you stoking their fire, or pissing on it” (sorry, but true).  I have to get back to the Bible BUT when I was seeking Christianity…I had one neighbor giving me hot coals and another neighbor putting it out by beating me up with scripture.  Let’s be careful.


Proverbs 26: Mercy!  So much.  These are “deep” and I really want some of them to resinate so I pulled some of them in a “lighter version” to give us something to think about:

Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool;
you’ll only look foolish yourself.

Putting a fool in a place of honor
is like setting a mud brick on a marble column.

15 A shiftless sluggard puts his fork in the pie,
    but is too lazy to lift it to his mouth.

17 You grab a mad dog by the ears
    when you butt into a quarrel that’s none of your business.

20 When you run out of wood, the fire goes out;
    when the gossip ends, the quarrel dies down.

22 Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
    do you want junk like that in your belly?

Clearly, I can post them all!!

Click here to read this chapter in the Message.  Post one in comments that poked you in the rib!!

1 Kings 9, 2 Chronicles 8

Our reading today is a short read today so I want you to read it very carefully.  How do these 2 chapters differ?  Remember the Chronicles author,  Ezra,  was a priest (and a pretty conservative one) so his concentration is going to be the duties of the priests, the sacrifices, the feasts…really he is always going to be Temple centered.

Solomon’s splendor was the Temple…after that, it kind of goes downhill.  I know we keep rereading this but it is so important:

Deuteronomy 17:

The King

14 When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” 15 be sure to appoint over you a king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your fellow Israelites. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not an Israelite. 16 The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” 17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold.

18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.


In today’s read, we get the big “IF”… ”Then” statement:

But if you or your descendants turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you[and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. This temple will become a heap of rubble. 

Son of a Nutcracker!  You know I am shaking my head  (I was going to write SMH but my husband isn’t as cool as I am and would not know it meant that).


Solomon was a King of Peace and through his willingness to work with his neighbors AND marry their daughters he enlarged the Kingdom while he reigns.  Solomon knows this is wrong because she can’t even live near the Ark because her pagan rituals would be too close to the Presence of the Lord so he builds her a place distant from it.

Picture

Umm but remember he was supposed to read his Bible, I mean the Laws daily so that he would follow God’s words carefully.  If he had,  he may have seen this:

Deuteronomy 7

When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

It is worth the 7 minutes of your day to reread at least 1 Kings to see all the detail.  Click here

So when you read today you can see he really was ignoring God on a lot of things!  (feel free to ask yourself if you are a Solomon)


2 Chronicles:- I know it has been a while but did you have some memory recall when you read this-

12 On the altar of the Lord that he had built in front of the portico, Solomon sacrificed burnt offerings to the Lord, 13 according to the daily requirement for offerings commanded by Moses for the Sabbaths, the New Moons and the three annual festivals—the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. 

Isn’t is cool that we know what the Bible is talking about! (sort of 🤪)

Psalm 134, 146, 147, 148, 149, and 150

Psalm 134-Now that the Temple is dedicated, this is a Psalm for the Priests. Priests were on duty 24 hours a day at the temple. They served as guards, and they also offered sacrifices and carried out other functions during the daylight hours. The psalmist called on them to praise God even at night.

Click here for a song 🎶


Psalm 146

Psalms 146—150 are the last Hallel (‘praise’) collection.  These psalms were used at some point as a part of the daily prayers in the synagogue worship. They all start and end with the same verse “Praise the Lord” (“Hallelujah!”).

Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.

We as humans need to depend and trust on other men, we should avoid the temptation to trust in human beings entirely or even primarily. God is worthy of our absolute trust.


Psalm 147- I think songwriters just sit in the Psalms all day!  When I read them I can’t help but think of songs:

He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.

Here is the song in my head…Click here 🎶


Psalm 148- “Praise” appears 13 times in the 14 verses of this psalm. This psalm combines the themes of wisdom, creation, and praise.

The whole creation should praise God because He is the Creator of all. The “horn” God raised up—is Jesus Christ, the descendant of David. Follow this psalm through Genesis 1. You will see it 😁

Genesis 1:1 BDC: Is the earth only 6,000 to 10,000 years old? Are ...


Psalm 149-This psalm is a reminder, to us who are believers, that praising God does not just involve praising Him with our lips. It must also include obeying Him with our lives.  Every time I see “New Song”, this song goes through my head.

Click here.  🎶


150- The conclusion of the Praise Psalms!

Which verse in 150 did you underline (physically or in our head if you read electronically).

 

2 Chronicles 6-7 and Psalm 136

Very similar to the read from yesterday so I will keep this brief.  Solomon’s prayer is one of the most important prayers in the Old Testament.  In his prayer, Solomon explained the significance of God coming to dwell in His temple. God had come to empower, to have fellowship, and to judge, if necessary.  God was present among His people, and He would hear their prayers when they obediently called out to Him.

Solomon specified seven specific situations in which he asked the Lord to intervene in answer to prayer.

  1. when the people swore an oath in the temple (v. 22-23)
  2. suffered defeat and exile from an enemy (v. 24-25)
  3. lacked rain (v. 26-27)
  4. when they experienced disease or other disasters (v. 28-31)
  5. when foreigners would come to pray toward the temple (v. 32-33)
  6. when Israel was at war (v. 34-35)
  7. when Israel was in captivity due to sin (v. 36-39).

How is this applicable today?  Dear Lord…Please intervene when…

  1. when we make an oath in church(v. 22-23)
  2. suffered defeat from an enemy (v. 24-25)
  3. lacked rain (needs) (v. 26-27)
  4. when we experience disease or other disasters (v. 28-31)
  5. when lost people come to pray for you (v. 32-33)
  6. when we are at war (v. 34-35)
  7. when America will be defeated by our enemeies due to sin (v. 36-39).

The biggest difference between the 2 prayers is the insert from Psalm 132 into the prayer:

40 “Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

41 “Now arise, Lord God, and come to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
May your priests, Lord God, be clothed with salvation,
may your faithful people rejoice in your goodness.
42 Lord God, do not reject your anointed one.
Remember the great love promised to David your servant.”


You know me by now, I see the “If” and I KNOW this can’t be good!!!

Chapter 7 ends with:

19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”

Listen, if I get started on this topic, this post will be longer than the Bible.  If this is your first time reading- SPOILER ALERT- It WILL happen.


Don’t forget to read the Psalm, if I hadn’t posted the song yesterday…I would have totally posted it today.

His love endures forever.

Mercy, or loyal love, is one of the most prominent attributes of God’s character. By His very nature, He shows unstoppable, limitless, everlasting mercy, even to those who don’t deserve it.

“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy” (Micah 7:18).

1 Kings 8 and 2 Chronicles 5

1 Kings 8:

In the first paragraph you can establish the Who, What, Where, When, (we get to the Why later).

Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Zion, the City of David. All the Israelites came together to King Solomon at the time of the festival in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month.

The WHEN is so cool.  This is a HUGE moment and Solomon chose the month of Ethamin, the seventh month.   Ethamin means “ever-flowing streams,” “enduring” “strong” “everlasting” The name of the month gets changed after the captivity to Tishri or Tishrei. The word “Tishrei” comes from the Syrian “tishrin,” and it means “beginning” or “commencement”.  How fitting for this moment (little geeky info for you).

What do you see? The Feast of Tabernacles. This was one of the feasts that the Mosaic Law specified that all Israelite males must attend (Lev. 23:33-36). This feast was a commemoration of the Lord’s faithfulness during the wilderness wanderings. It looked back to their slavery in Egypt and forward to their Promised Land. The bringing of the ark into the temple symbolized the fulfillment of that hope. Solomon waited for this feast in order to celebrate the dedication of the temple. This festival would bring everyone to the tabernacle (now the temple) to celebrate all week. This is a fantastic day with a spectacular crowd to see the dedication of the temple as the Glory of God fills it.

The ark has been in the Tabernacle this whole time at the house of Obed-edom.  David brought it there after the Philistines had captured it and returned it (2 Sam. 6:17).  The Levites properly brought the Ark into the Temple.

When did Jerusalem become the Capital of Israel? - Ancient Questions

“When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.”

The “shekinah” cloud, means “to dwell”.  It symbolized his presence among the people.  The same word was used when he filled the tabernacle in Exodus 40.

Solomon addressed the people regarding his father’s heart wanting to build the temple, but he was not allowed since he was a king of war, not peace.  God raised up Solomon to do that, as He had promised. He has a large crowd for the festival and he is restating the Davidic Covenant BUT I am also thinking he is letting them know he is king.  A king takes his rightful place after his throne is built (we read about that yesterday):


Solomon’s Prayer was AMAZING!!!  It is the longest prayer in the Bible.  It begins with:

Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.

He did not confuse God’s presence with God Himself. (I think we need to think about that in our own lives)

27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!

When Solomon prayed his requests were specific.  In Leviticus and Deuteronomy God spoke of Blessing if they followed the law and consequences for disobedience. Solomon specifically addressed each consequence in his prayer.  However, he uses the word WHEN not If.  (Must be the Wisdom speaking)

7 Petitions:

  • When anyone wrongs their neighbor…judge between the innocent and the guilty
  • When your people are defeated, sin, turn their back to you…forgive them
  • When there is a drought…teach them what is right
  • When there is a famine, plague, natural disasters….know their hearts when they call out
  • When a foreigner comes to you (Gentiles)…may all the people know you
  • When we go to war…uphold the cause of your people
  • My favorite: 46 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near; ….(and when they repent)…forgive them and bring them back.

2 Chronicles:

After reading Chronicles, I thought: “If Chris Tomlin was the entertainment for the Festival, what would the encore song be”.  I know you thought about it too!!

 

1 Kings 7, 2 Chronicles 4

Extra Credit Question at the bottom

So the pinnacle of Solomon’s reign was the Temple.  However, after the 7-year construction of the Temple, Solomon decided to build his Palace which was so massive it took 13 years.  We already saw the offerings and donations that funded the Temple.  Now, who is going to pay for the Palace??  Hmmmm.  This might become an issue.  Money always is.  In the meantime, let’s compare the two.

Solomon's Temple vs. Palace | Quick view bible, Bible knowledge ...

 

Here is a great visual so that you can see size difference between the Temple and the Palace. 😭

 

Solomon's Palace Model | The Temple. View from the northeast ...


Extra Credit Question:  One of the pictures has a compass rose on it.

  1. What direction was the entrance of the Temple?
  2. Why did it face that direction? (Two possible good answers here: 1 from our discussions the other from the video yesterday)

For those not in a first-time read-through: Extra extra credit– how is the funding of the palace going to bite the Hebrews in the butt?  (Very theological wording 😂😂)

1 Kings 5-6, 2 Chron 2-3

Quick recap: David wanted to build a permanent structure for the Lord.  God’s dwelling place was currently in Gibeon and the construction was a Tabernacle, make of wood, cloth, and animal skins so that it could travel with the Israelites.  The blueprint for construction was given to Moses directly from God.  However, God said he would choose the place where his Temple would be established.  Mount Moriah was the very place Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac and a substitute was offered to save his life.  This spot was the Gospel from the very beginning.  David purchased this land, which is a threshing floor (a threshing floor is where farmers separated the wheat from the chaff), a perfect visual of the Gospel: separating the saved from the lost.

God told David he had blood on his hands and could not be the one to build the Temple BUT the son I (God) anointed King, will be a King of Peace,  and he will build the Temple: Solomon.  David, in the meantime, spent the rest of his days gathering resources for Temple Construction.


2 Chronicles 5:

“The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods. But who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? Who then am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him?”

Watch this video so that you can visualize the Temple.  But before you do here are some facts:

  • The labor force: 186,000 
    • 30,000 men workers (in 10,000 at a time rotations)
    • 70,000 laborers
    • 80,000 stone cutters
    • 3,600 foreman
  • The Temple Blueprint was the Tabernacle- enlarged
  • The size was doubled (15ft by 45ft TO 30ft by 90ft)
  • Height was tripled (15 ft to 45 ft)
    • The next temple will be larger (what do I mean next Temple?? What happens to this one?? You will have to read to find out)
  • The materials for the structure was (today’s value) were $11,000,000 (that’s million!)
  • It was 2700 sq ft (about the size of a home these days)
    • that’s $4,000 per sq foot
  • Later we will read about furnishings and such (instruments, courtyards, pillars, priest clothes) $$$ The TOTAL to build this Temple is $140,381,000,000 (that’s BILLION!)
  • Took 7 1/2 years to complete

“The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods.


OK, now you can watch video:

Click here for a short visual Video

OR

Click here: Here is a video with an EXCELLENT description!  (Brew some coffee and watch this if you have time)



That’s all I planned on posting but if you wanted more feel free to read on.

Extra Information:

Hiram reigned from about 980-947.  His reign overlapped David’s by about nine years and Solomon’s by about 24.  Tyre was an important Mediterranean seaport in Phoenicia north of Israel. Sidon, another, more important Phoenician port city at this time, stood a few miles north of Tyre.

Tyre and Sidon (With images) | Bible mapping, Bible, Daily bible study

The fact that Hiram cooperated with and even acknowledged the Lord (v. 7) shows how God brought blessing to Gentiles as well as to the Israelites through David and Solomon. The treaty between Israel and Phoenicia resulted in peace for many years.

Proverbs 16:7 said:

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way,
    he causes their enemies to make peace with them.


When you read Chronicles REMEMBER the purpose of it and that it was written from a Priest perspective. 😁