Journey in the Word

Karen Ingrid Clark

Ecclesiastes 4:1 – 6

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Week Three – Day 3 – Ecclesiastes 4:1 – 6    SOAP v. 6WK3D3

Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.

Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.  The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.  Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.

O – Solomon again bemoans the fact that there is injustice in the world.  The poor and the oppressed have the rich and powerful over them – with no relief.  Solomon was so disturbed by this that he thought it would be better to not have been born than to be in this condition to see the evilness of this world.

He also compares the person who overworks to “get ahead” and to be the envy of his peers and neighbors with one who is lazy.  Both are excesses.   Neither will bring happiness.  Having too much, working too much, toiling to accumulate  all amount to vanity and chasing after wind.  But, being lazy and not working only defeats ourselves.

A – Life is not “black and white!”  There are so many places that we need to find balance!  Solomon complains about the oppressed, but he also finds that riches and power do not satisfy.  He finds no satisfaction in his work, yet calls the fool someone who is lazy and does not work.  I think it is in finding balance – a balanced outlook with God’s values, that we find satisfaction.  It is not in the amount of “stuff”, or the prestige, or the power, but the inner satisfaction of a job well done, the recognition of our possessions being provided by God, and the acknowledgement of God’s provision.  Without God, life IS meaningless, no matter how much we own, or supervise, or make!

I want to establish balance in my life, tempered with the acknowledgement that God is my provider, and that all that I have is from Him.  My possessions, my talents and gifting, my ministry, my health, my relationships – all stem from Him.  In Proverbs, it talks about balance…. and the acknowledgement that God provides.  If we have too much, we become callous and “forget” about God’s provision – it becomes “ours.”  If we have little, or don’t have our needs met – we turn on ourselves and others.

Proverbs 30:7-9 – “Two things I ask of you;  deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying;  give me neither poverty nor riches;  feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”  or lest I be poor and steal  and profane the name of my God.” (ESV)

When I read the last verse of the passage, I had a picture in my mind of holding out my hands, empty, with an heart attitude of “Here I am – all I have is Yours – fill me with what You know is best.”  May my heart – and my hands be quiet before Him, and not full of myself.

Father God, Here I am.  All I have is Yours.  Fill me with what You know is best.  Fill my heart with Your love and empty it of pride and wastefulness.  Fill my hands with the work and the ministry that You have for me, not what I invent myself, or run into without thinking.  May my life be pleasing to You, with a heart that is upright, filled with integrity, and reaching out to others.  May I be still before You today, waiting for Your word, Your Spirit, Your tasks, Your ministry in Your Name.

Be Still and know that He is God – (Steven Curtis Chapman) –

“Be Still And Know”
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is holy
Be still Oh restless heart of mine
Bow before the Prince of Peace
Let the noise and clamor cease

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is faithful
Consider all that He has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that He will never change
Be still

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is God
Be still
Be speechless

Be still and know that He is God
Be still and know that He is our Father
Come and rest your head upon His breast
Listen to the rhythm of
His unfailing heart of love
Beating for his little ones
Calling each of us to come
Be still
Be still


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