OceanSide church of Christ
Read devotionals for August 2018
September 1, 2018
Ecclesiastes 3:16 – And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
Thought: One thing Solomon saw as he experimented with life was a perverted justice system. “The place of judgment” was supposed to be a place of fairness and equity, a place where righteousness was dispensed. What he found was wickedness and iniquity. Justice was perverted. The wicked were set free. The innocent were punished. In some judicial systems today, not much has changed.
I Samuel 8:1-3
September 2, 2018
Ecclesiastes 3:17 – I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
Thought: Judicially, there is one truth that all should remember. God shall judge the righteous and the wicked. One day, there will be a final judgment. The one who will sit upon the judgment seat will not be a man full of evil and iniquity. It will be God who is holy and righteous. He will sift through all the evidence and render his verdict and sentence. Both will be perfect, and both will be final.
September 3, 2018
Ecclesiastes 3:18 – I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
Thought: Man is supposed to be the highest order of God’s creation. He has been created in the image of God. He has a mind and a conscience. Yet, instead of acting like one created in the image of God, he often acts like the beast of the field. This is often seen in the realm of justice and equity. Men treat other men like animals. They feed upon one another. Instead of acting like God, their actions are often godless. Solomon wished for God to open the eyes of man to their ungodly condition.
II Peter 2:12
September 4, 2018
Ecclesiastes 3:19 – For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath, so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
Thought: Solomon’s thoughts sink lower in this verse. Previously, he noted that all men are alike because all die. Now he compares men with animals. Animals eventually die just like men do. “…as the one dieth, so dieth the other…” If man is just an animal, then he is not really any different from other animals. What does it matter if a man has preeminence over the beast if nothing really distinguishes them from one another, if the end is simply death to all? Again, all would be vanity.
September 5, 2018
Ecclesiastes 3:20 – All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
Thought: In many ways men and beasts are different. Their end, however, is the same. Both men and beasts die. Men and beasts engage in different activities while living, but both die. Men and beasts produce different things, but both die. Men and beasts live in much different ways, but both die. What, then, is the glory in being a man? What benefit does a man really have over a beast? Both die. It is sad that some in our world see men and beasts as equals. In fact, insects, fish, birds, and beasts are sometimes exalted over man in some cases. Some truly believe that all we are is dust.
September 6, 2018
Ecclesiastes 3:21 – Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
Thought: Solomon here makes a clear distinction between man and beast. Yes, both men and beasts die, but the animal’s spirit goes downward and man’s spirit goeth upward. Animals cease to exist. Man continues to live in realms eternal. Some men, however, do not live with this knowledge. Thus, Solomon asks: “Who knoweth?” Those who have this knowledge live much differently than those who do not. Does your life reflect the knowledge that “the spirit of man goeth upward”?
September 7, 2018
Ecclesiastes 3:22 – Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?
Thought: Solomon’s thoughts have been centered upon the fact that men die. All men die. They die just as the animals. If this is the end of man, then it is easy to come to believe “that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works.” He can rejoice in amassing a fortune. He can rejoice in building grand structures. He can rejoice in establishing profitable businesses. He can rejoice in possessing the luxuries of life. Shouldn’t he rejoice in these things? “For who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?”
September 8, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:1 – So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of the oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
Thought: Solomon’s experiment now looks at human relationships. What he saw within them was oppression. The oppressed were tyrannized by the powerful. Sadly, they had no comforter. Their tears were not dried up. Their hearts were not made glad. Their oppression was not made lighter. “They had no comforter.”
September 9, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:2 – Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.
Thought: We must keep in mind that Solomon is experimenting with life. He is looking for that which brings meaning and purpose to life. So far all he has found is vanity. Thus, he praises the dead more than the living. The dead have ceased from their vain activities. They are no longer aware of the “hopelessness” of life. The living, on the other hand, are experiencing it. Thus, Solomon concludes that it is better to be dead than alive. Some reach this point today. Their thinking gives way to suicide.
September 10, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:3 – Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
Thought: Solomon compared the dead with the living in the previous verse. He now compares the dead with those yet to be born. His conclusion is the same. It is better to be dead than to be one who has not yet been. Those who are yet to be born must still come to earth and experience the vanity that is here. It is not a matter of “if” they will experience it. It is a matter of “when” they will experience it. Because of this, Solomon concluded that being dead is better than being yet to be.
September 11, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:4 – Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbor. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
Thought: As Solomon examined the works of men, he found that “right” works, that is, successful works caused others to envy the one who is successful. Instead of his hard work bringing joy from others, it brought forth sin in their heart. Envy is an extremely dangerous sin. It is not only jealous, but it would remove from a person what he has honestly and diligently acquired. When Solomon saw how common this reaction was he concluded: “This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.”
September 12, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:5 – The fool folded his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.
Thought: Even though Solomon has found that a man’s labor produces some difficulties, Solomon has also found that a fool is one who will not work. He folds his hands together instead of exerting them in strenuous labor. This man eats his own flesh. This is a way of saying: “He destroys himself.” God never intended for man not to work. Work has more benefits for man than not working. Those who do not work live very unproductive, unsatisfying lives. Solomon calls them fools.
September 13, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:6 – Better is a handful with quietness, than both hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.
Thought: We live in a very materialistic society. Want, want, and want some more are in the minds of many people. Instead of things, we should desire peace and tranquility. The blessing of peace is much more beneficial and satisfying than things. Things often complicate our lives. They have to be taken care of. Others desire them and try to take them from us. Truly, “better is a handful with quietness.”
September 14, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:7 – Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.
Thought: Solomon’s experiment with life took him in many directions. He saw many things. The common theme was that there is much vanity under the sun. There is an emptiness about many things that happen on the earth. Much of what man deems important is of no count. Yes, there is some good to be found, but there is a lot of uselessness upon the earth as well. Why is there so much vanity? Could it be that this vanity is intended to point man to something higher and nobler?
I Samuel 12:20-21
September 15, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:8 – There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labor; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labor, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.
Thought: There are a few people like the one described in this verse in the world. They have no family. They have no friends. They are “one alone.” This person is consumed with work. He is wealthy, but is never satisfied with what he has. He labors for no one, not even himself. He bereaves his own soul of good. What’s the meaning to such a life? Solomon answers: “This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.” I am reminded of Mr. Potter in the movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
I John 2:16
September 16, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:9 – Two are better than one; because they have good reward for their labor.
Thought: When people are isolated, when they work alone, they cannot do as much as they could by combining their strength with another. “Two are better than one.” The concept of teamwork can be illustrated by the two-horse rule. If one horse can pull 700 pounds and another horse can pull 800 pounds, how much weight will they pull yoked together? The answer may surprise you. The two-horse team will pull their own weight plus the weight of their interaction. Therefore, yoked together, the horses can pull 3000 pounds!" Truly, they have good reward for their labor.
September 17, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:10 – For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
Thought: Solomon said in the previous verse that two are better than one. He now gives examples that prove his statement. If two are together and one falls down, “the one will lift up his fellow.” This is true physically. It is also true both emotionally and spiritually. We see individuals who are down all of the time. Those who love and care for them pick them up. They will not leave them lying in the dust. As they pick them up, they encourage them, check for cuts and bruises, and motivate them to keep going.
September 18, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:11 – And if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
Thought: The body temperature of two people together creates an abundance of warmth. Many people have lived for several days in very cold temperatures because they could cuddle together to get warm. The body heat of just one person escapes into the atmosphere rather than being trapped so he can be warmed. Again, Solomon proves that two are better than one.
I Kings 1:1-2
September 19, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:12 – And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Thought: In this verse Solomon gives two more examples of a group being better than an individual person. If a person is confronted by a bully, it is good to have a friend to assist in the conflict. The bully will be much less eager to be involved in a fight. It is also true that a threefold cord is not as easily broken as an individual thread. The three bound together provides great strength. Let all of us come to understand that there is strength in numbers. Many united together can do great things.
September 20, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:13 – Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.
Thought: When we compare a child with a king, we will usually agree that the king is to be preferred. This is not always the case. Wisdom is an essential quality to possess. If the king does not have wisdom, but the child does, then the child is better than the king. A part of wisdom is a willingness to be admonished. Many adults lose this willingness. Pride gets in the way. Thus, they continue in their foolish ways instead of heeding wise counsel and making changes in their lives.
I Kings 22:8
September 21, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:14 – For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.
Thought: Solomon notices another common occurrence among men. There have been times when lowly, obscure individuals reach positions of great power and prominence. Joseph is one example. Saul and David are two more examples. Likewise, those who have been born into positions of power often become poor. The sons of Eli and the sons of Samuel are good examples of this. Other examples could be multiplied many times over. We need to keep in mind Romans 13:1: “…For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
September 22, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:15 – I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.
Thought: During Solomon’s research project, he saw many unique things. He has discussed several up to this point. He now tells of another. He notes there have been times when the second child takes the forefront. The firstborn should be the one with the preeminence in the family, but this is not always the case. There are many examples of the second being first and the first being second. Because God rules in the affairs of men, He can raise up whom He desires.
September 23, 2018
Ecclesiastes 4:16 – There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Thought: In verse 15, we found that the second child sometimes preceeds the first in rule. When this happens, Solomon found that “there is no end of all the people.” The masses rejoice. They shout: “God save the king.” They brag and put their hopes in their new ruler. But, in time, they cease their rejoicing. The king does not fulfill his promises. He is not as successful as desired. He has his faults and shortcomings. The ruler the people joyed in is now despised. Doesn’t this happen in all walks of life? Solomon declares: “Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.”
II Samuel 19:9