Daily Update #271

In 1923, a small group of the world’s wealthiest men met at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago, Illinois at the time, these men controlled more money than the total amount contained in the United States Treasury. Of the seven men who were present at that meeting, two died broke, two died shortly after being released from prison, and three committed suicide.   Clearly, their approach to success in life was not the right one.

Ecclesiastes 9:1-6
9 But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds
are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. 2
It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the
good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not
sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an
oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all.
Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while
they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4 But he who is joined with all the living has
hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die, but the
dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. 6
Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and for ever they have no
more share in all that is done under the sun.


In this passage, The Teacher, lays the challenge of life before us. The shock of life is that
death comes to all. The Teacher describes the different groups of people, perhaps we might
think some are exempt, while others deserving. The righteous, perhaps those we would like
to be like, are not favoured nor the wicked visibly rebuked. The phrase ‘oath takers’ probably
refers to Jewish people upholding the covenant. Even the people of God are vulnerable.

If death is the same for all, then it is a condition that relates to everyone. It afflicts all
irrespective of our standing in the world, because it is in the hearts of the children of man.

Verse 3 outlines the scale of this inner problem. Evil in ‘the heart’ characterizes our inner
nature. We can do nothing about it, it pervades ‘while we live’ and it dominates, our hearts
are ‘full’ of it. When I think about evil at that depth. I cannot deny it. Can you? Like
Bunyan’s Pilgrim in Vanity Fair, we have far too many other choices and waste our liberty on
acquiring things that will not address the deep issues of the heart. We rebel and bridle in so
many of our choices. It is there alright. and we rarely choose God over all the things that are
present to us and without God’s intervention, we would not.

Verse 4, however, reminds us while we live, we have hope. However low in station we might
feel, and dogs were considered the lowest of creatures, we can find life. It tells us that the
pursuit of worldly goals, those idols that preoccupy our heart are false gods, but the God
who raises the dead is our only hope. Therefore, we can realign our lives with Jesus’
guidance.

Read through the Lord’s Prayer and consider the priorities, our relationship with God and our
relationships with others that God can help us with.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

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