Ecclesiastes 7:14 – This is Not Proverbs

Read Ecclesiastes 7:1-14

Solomon gives us “proverb-like” nuggets of wisdom here. However, I have to say that some of his tips don’t seem that wise to me. Keeping the perspective of when he was writing these thoughts down is helpful to me. Solomon had been exposed to countless false teachings from his many pagan wives. Plus, he didn’t have the promise of salvation we know in Jesus.

When we put our “redemption lens” on this passage, it’s easy for us to clear up some of Solomon’s concerns. I’d rather focus today on several of the observations Solomon got right. Having discussions on each of these points would be fun in a small group, don’t you think?

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Ecclesiastes 3:9-15 – Enjoy Life

Read Ecclesiastes 3:9-15

God wants us to enjoy life, not trudge through each day just going through the motions. We often set unrealistic expectations on ourselves for what we can accomplish in a day and end up feeling like we failed. Here we’re told that God has given us the work we are to do. What is that work for you?

If we’re focusing on what God wants, and we already know that his timing is perfect, then our day should go exactly like it should. If we are enjoying the life God has given us, living it to please him, then we have accomplished something very great. There are plenty of people who don’t have this connection to God and are not feeling fulfilled.

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Mark 12:35-37 – Whose Son?

Read Mark 12:35-37

This is an interesting little passage, didn’t you think? Nestled away between all the teachings Jesus is sharing with the people and with his disciples on his final journey toward the cross. This time, Mark tells us the message was proclaimed to the people. We have the honor to be able to hear Jesus’ teaching whether it’s to the “people” or to his closest disciples.

The crowd is delighted. I wondered about that word. Were they delighted just to be in Jesus’ presence? Perhaps they were honored that Jesus had asked them a question. Jesus wanted to know what they thought about a certain teaching of the religious leaders. A teaching about the Messiah, about Jesus himself. It’s always good to know your audience and how they understand such important matters.

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Mark 10:35-45 – Serving Others

Read Mark 10:35-45

Jesus takes advantage of another teachable moment to let his disciples know their mission is all about serving, not being served. The disciples seem to be having a hard time understanding their purpose. That’s a lesson many of us need to hear over and over as well.

Our world is a very competitive place. It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to win and forget our true mission in life. It’s not that God doesn’t want us to succeed, but we need to keep in mind how many kinds of rewards there are. The reward or prize we need to keep our eyes focused on is eternity with Jesus. There is nothing greater. James and John knew that and were even seeking a place of honor beside Jesus!

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Zechariah 14:1-21 – Renewed Relationship

Read Zechariah 14:1-21

The book of Zechariah closes with an apocalyptic prophecy. The events depicted here have yet to be fulfilled completely. This chapter describes the path to a renewed relationship between God and his people.

God’s kingdom will be fully revealed once evil is purged for good. Jesus ushered in the kingdom with his birth, life, and death. But the big reveal is yet to come. It’s what the apocalyptic prophecies speak about. Jesus himself told us about those end days and the glorious victory.

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