The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Category: Ecclesiastes

Lent Devotional: Ecclesiastes 12

Ecclesiastes 12 (click here)
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. [14] For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

Solomon began by saying that nothing mattered, but he ends saying everything matters because it matters to God! God will bring everything and everyone into judgment…so every single act, thought, word, etc matters!

This fills our heart with fear…terror…and rightfully so because we know that our hearts are full of sin and deserve nothing, but God’s judgment. Yet, we are not called to respond with awful fear, but with awe-filled fear.

Fear God. See him for who he is and be in awe of him. Treasure him. Trust him. Our God is one who has not poured out his judgment upon us, but upon himself. Jesus Christ has received the judgment for our deeds (even the ones done in secret). Our response is to fear him, revere him, treasure him, love him, embrace him, trust him.  If we do that, it shows up in that we follow him (keep his commands).

The fact that God will judge everything and everyone does not fill the believer with awful terror, but puts us in awe of our treasure…Christ. For he has borne our penalty of death to bring us life. Let us fear him and follow him.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.


Lent Devotional: Ecclesiastes 11

Ecclesiastes 11 (click here)
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. (Ecclesiastes 11:9)

All of life is SEEMINGLY vanity…but this is only how things seem as long as our gaze falls only on that which is “under the sun” and God is left completely out of the equation. However, when we know God and know that he will bring all things into judgment…all of a sudden EVERY act become eternally meaningful.

How should we think of this “judgment of God”? Should this frighten us so that we live our lives like slaves under a relentless task master…seeking to serve his every whim. Solomon seems to suggest something very different than that scenario.

He begins with the word “rejoice!” The fact that God is judge should bring us to proper enjoyment of all things. We know that God created all things good (including us) and invited mankind into eternal enjoyment of him. All of creation was to be enjoyed as a gift that ultimately pointed us back to the giver.

Solomon says that this is the kind of joy we seek. Not a joy in the mere gifts we find under the sun with no reference to God, but a joy that through these gifts points us to God! Enjoy all these things, but in such a way that you know God brings all things into judgment! Enjoy them in such a way that leads you back to God. That is the purpose for which all things were created and when enjoyed that way “God as judge” is not bad news…it is good news, for we will be judged as faithful ones who enjoyed him and spread the joy of him to the world.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Ecclesiastes 10

Ecclesiastes 10 (click here)
The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him. 13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end of his talk is evil madness. 14 A fool multiplies words, though no man knows what is to be, and who can tell him what will be after him? (Ecclesiastes 10:12-14)

A proverb is a shorty, pithy saying that is meant to express a general truth for life. Of course there are exceptions, but a proverb points you toward wise living. Solomon passed on much of his wisdom through proverbs and there have been a few already stated throughout Ecclesiastes and chapter 10 is full of them.

Among all his wise advice, Solomon warns us about the power and powerlessness of our words. What we say has the power to create and destroy relationships…the power to build up or to tear down…the power to affirm or deny. Our words are powerful.

Yet, for all our wise words we must admit that at the end of the day our knowledge is dashed against the rock of God’s sovereignty. We cannot really predict anything that will “be after us.” The more we try to espouse wisdom about life, the more we are shown to be fools who aren’t really in control. For all our wise words, we ultimately find that they are powerless to control anything. Our words are powerless.

This is why true wisdom…truly wise words…point us to trust the one who is in control. No matter what happens, the one who is truly wise will speak of the trustworthiness of the Lord and trust in his word! His word is never powerless…it is always powerful and permanent.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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