Thursday, July 24, 2014

The past few weeks I have been reading what we refer to as the Wisdom literature- these books of the bible include Proverbs- Ecclesiastes- Job- James in the N.T. - and a couple more.

At the bottom I’ll just post some highlights from Solomon- from the book of Ecclesiastes [thought of posting all that I highlighted from James- Proverbs- but that would be too much for one post].

We read common themes in all these books-

‘Humble yourselves in the eyes of the Lord and he will lift you up’

‘Don’t make vows- promises- about the future- you do not know what will happen from day to day- let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ no’

‘Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall’

‘Judge not- lest you be judged’

‘A fool speaks all his words-a wise man holds them back’

‘He that does not offend in word is a perfect man and able also to control the whole body’

‘Life is like a vapor- it appears for a little time and is gone’.

‘Be doers of the word and not hearers only’

‘Faith without works is dead’
Last week I covered the Sermon on the Mount- even though it is not normally seen as wisdom literature- I think you could include it too.

In the writings of Solomon [Proverbs- Ecclesiastes- Song of Solomon] we see The Preacher talk about life- in Ecclesiastes he takes a look at man- his turmoil- his relentless seeking of wealth- working daily without ever examining his own life- and the futility of it all.

Solomon dealt with depression during this period- he says things like ‘the day of a man’s death is better than the day he was born’ and ‘he who has never even been born is better than both’ [those who live- those who die].

Solomon talks about how he ‘captured the world’ so to speak.

He attained great wealth- had huge building projects- learned more wisdom and knowledge than anyone else.
He gave himself to ‘strong drink’ had many women [we will get to this at the end].

In the eyes of the world’s standards- he did it all.

Yet- he saw life as a vanity- an endless pursuit that leads to nowhere.

He considered the plight of the oppressed- those who lived under rulers who treated their people wrong- this too was vanity.

He looked at the unexamined life [remember Plato?] he said there was a man that had no relatives- yet he worked every day- built up a fortune- and when he dies he has no power over who will get the inheritance- it might wind up in the hands of a fool- who will waste it.

Solomon looked for meaning in it all- and apart from God- he saw futility.
There's a quote that does not fit the modern day preaching- ‘give me neither poverty or riches- if I have too much- I might forget God- too little- I might curse him’.
We read ‘you came into the world without anything- when you die you can’t take anything with you- so be content with just enough’.

The apostle Paul says the same thing in 1st Timothy 6.

It’s funny- but in today’s church world these would be called ‘negative confessions’ yet the wisest of them all said this.

The frailty of human life runs thru out this literature- life is something that is very temporary.

James says ‘all flesh is like grass- it will be gone soon- but the word of the Lord endures forever’.

In a sense- we can make an impact in life- if we document stuff for the following generations.

That’s why we can read this literature today- because Solomon and others wrote it down- and it was passed off to following generations.

In John 17 Jesus says ‘I pray not for these alone [his men] but for those also who will believe on me thru THEIR WORD’.

The gospel spread because the early believers spoke- and wrote- of their experiences.

To leave a legacy behind- something of value for the next generation- is a biblical idea.

But to live for pleasure- wealth- human achievement is seen as a vanity- because all of these things- including our lives- are but for a moment in time.

Jesus spoke much about eternal riches- living with noble goals- helping your fellow man- showing love and compassion.

Experiencing true love- the highest form of it- which does not seek self gratitude- but wants the benefit of others.

Out of all the wisdom literature- Solomon wrote the most.
He gave himself to pleasure- drink- women- he tried the philosophy of Hedonism- this too was vanity.

He said something interesting- even in all these experiences in life- yet his wisdom remained- and he taught still.

His own experiences- failures- were meant for following generations to see- to enter into.

One of the wisdom books in the bible was written about his ultimate experience- it’s called the Song of Solomon.

Solomon had many wives and concubines [side women].
Yet at one point in life- he found the love of his life.

She is written about in this book.

What did he learn from this experience?

He found that love was beyond all of his other experiences- he said that true love was as ‘strong as death- as cruel as the grave’.

‘Many waters cannot quench it- if a man would give all that he has- yet it can’t be bought- or escaped from’.

‘The coals are like fire, a most vehement flame’.

His encounter with true love shows us that the greatest thing [1st Corinthians 13] is love.

God has chosen to create us- why?

God has all wisdom- all power- he does not ‘need’ anything.

When he made Adam- Adam was perfect before the fall.

Yet- he was incomplete until he found Eve- ‘bone of his bone- flesh of his flesh’.

He was connected to her in a way that nothing else could compare to.

God made man- so he too could have an object of his love.
The greatest description of God is found in the writing of the apostle John.

In John’s gospel he refers to himself as the one who Jesus loved.

He saw himself thru this lens- an object of unconditional love.

Solomon gave us many gifts- he attained all that a man could ever want- I think the greatest gift he gave us is found in the Song of Solomon.

Love is the supreme thing- it fulfills all the law.

A new commandant I give you- love one another as I have loved you- in this you fulfil all the law and the prophets.

Yes- the wisest man that ever lived had no power over it- God himself gave all he could- he loved the world so much that he gave us his Son.

Jesus said ‘greater love has no man than this- that he would lay down his life for his friends’.

In this the love of God was manifested- in that while we were yet sinners- Christ died for us.

Yeah- we do not deserve the love of God- people may wonder ‘how can God love me’.

Love goes beyond all other things- it is not a rational thing- God did this because he loved us- that’s why.

NOTE- Solomon in a way pictures God.


God’s attributes- his character- what theologians describe are Omniscience [knows everything] Omnipresent [everywhere] and Omnipotent [all power].
God has ‘need’ of nothing- he is self-sustaining- people do not possess these attributes- we are dependent- contingent- have need of many things- the greatest being love.

Yet God- in himself- has no object to pour his love into [this is somewhat of a debate- God- being Trinity- does in a way have love- an expression of it- within the Trinity, Jesus says ‘you love them like you love me’ but for this discussion- that’s too much to get into].

So- God made Adam- he was perfect before he sinned. God put him in a perfect environment- the garden.
He gave him purpose [till the garden] created animals- he had it all.

Yet- something was lacking- he had nothing to love with all his heart.

So God made a deep sleep fall upon him- and he created Eve.

He now had a co-equal that was a part of himself.

The apostle Paul tells us that this is a great mystery- man and woman- in love.  He says it is simply a picture- on a small scale- of Christ and the Church.

In us- who believe- God now has a bride- a love- that he pours himself into.
The bible says the angels are looking into this great romance- they see the interaction and in a way are jealous.

God reveals himself thru the church- thru the bride he loves.

It is this love of God for us that forms us into his image- in a way we are a type of the incarnation- God in man.

There is nothing we do to earn love- to deserve love.
When humans fall in love- they often don’t see the faults in their partner [though they are there on both sides] we use an expression ‘love is blind’.
Sometimes we think ‘how can that person love me’- because we see in the other the same thing- that they are ‘too good for me’.

These things are not rational- the love of a man for a woman- like Solomon learned- went beyond the wisdom and knowledge he had- he experienced this with the one love of his life that we read about in the Song of Solomon. [I quoted the last chapter at the bottom for those who want to read it].

God created us- we are the love of his life- this relationship between man and God far exceeds human love- the bible says it is beyond our understanding.
Yes- God is in love with us- that’s why he keeps coming after us- in a way- he can’t ‘help it’.

Ecclesiastes 1:1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Ecclesiastes 1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 1:3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
Ecclesiastes 1:4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
Ecclesiastes 1:5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
Ecclesiastes 2:1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 2:2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?
Ecclesiastes 2:3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.
Ecclesiastes 2:4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:
Ecclesiastes 2:5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:
Ecclesiastes 2:6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:
Ecclesiastes 2:7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:
Ecclesiastes 2:8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.
Ecclesiastes 2:9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.
Ecclesiastes 2:10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.
Ecclesiastes 2:11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 2:15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 2:16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.
Ecclesiastes 2:17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Ecclesiastes 2:18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
Ecclesiastes 2:19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.
Ecclesiastes 2:20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 2:21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.
Ecclesiastes 2:26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
Ecclesiastes 3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
Ecclesiastes 3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
Ecclesiastes 3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
Ecclesiastes 3:6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
Ecclesiastes 3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
Ecclesiastes 3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
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.
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.
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 their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
Ecclesiastes 4:2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.
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.
Ecclesiastes 4:4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
Ecclesiastes 5:6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
Ecclesiastes 5:7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.
Ecclesiastes 5:8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.
Ecclesiastes 5:13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.
Ecclesiastes 5:14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.
Ecclesiastes 5:15 As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.
Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
Ecclesiastes 7:19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.
Ecclesiastes 7:21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
Ecclesiastes 9:8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Ecclesiastes 9:17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.
Ecclesiastes 9:18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.
Ecclesiastes 10:12 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
Ecclesiastes 10:13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.
Ecclesiastes 10:14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?
Ecclesiastes 11:1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
Ecclesiastes 11:2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.
Ecclesiastes 11:6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.
Ecclesiastes 11:7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:
Ecclesiastes 11:8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
Ecclesiastes 11:10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
Ecclesiastes 12:9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.
Ecclesiastes 12:10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
Ecclesiastes 12:11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.
Ecclesiastes 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Song Of Solomon 8:1 O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised.
Song Of Solomon 8:2 I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.
Song Of Solomon 8:3 His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me.
Song Of Solomon 8:4 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.
Song Of Solomon 8:5 Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree there thy mother brought thee forth there she brought thee forth that bare thee.
Song Of Solomon 8:6 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
Song Of Solomon 8:7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
Song Of Solomon 8:8 We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?
Song Of Solomon 8:9 If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.
Song Of Solomon 8:10 I am a wall, and my breasts like towers then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.
Song Of Solomon 8:11 Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.
Song Of Solomon 8:12 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.
Song Of Solomon 8:13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice cause me to hear it.
Song Of Solomon 8:14 Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.

Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook#] - I have posted lots.

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