Journey in the Word

Karen Ingrid Clark

Ecclesiastes 8:14-15

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Week Six – Day 3 – Ecclesiastes  8:14-15WK6D3

14 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.

O – Solomon’s observations of the wicked compared to the righteous go on….   And this, too, is vanity, and unexplainable to him.  The wicked get what the righteous deserve, and the righteous get what the wicked deserve.  There seems to be no justice in the “end result.”  But, Solomon is only looking at the temporal, not the eternal.  His recommendation?   Get what you can out of this world.   “Eat, drink and be merry.”  Pursue joy in this life, as it’s the best you can do.  Joy will carry you all through this life….

A – There is an element of truth in what Solomon says here.  Sometimes life ISN’T fair!   Why do the wicked get away with evil deeds, and seemingly prosper?  Why do the righteous suffer?   Is the best we can do is just enjoy the life we have – as it is fleeting?

No. No.  We can have joy – it just needs to be centered in the right direction.  Jesus gives joy that is based on the eternal, not the temporal or life here on earth.  John 15:11 says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”  (ESV)  Jesus knew that real joy awaited Him – in following God’s plan – in heaven…  “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 – ESV)

So, in a way, Solomon has it right, but he has it so wrong!   While we will not be able to understand WHY things happen in our world, why the wicked “get away with it,” or why people suffer, we also know that there is an eternal perspective.  Life isn’t over when it is over.   But – God gives us joy – in Him.  I know.  I have experienced it.  I experience it now.  And, if Jesus is the CENTER of our joy – we are filled with joy!   He gives us HIS joy!  May I be the giver of His joy to others today.

Father – thank You for the joy that You give.  The joy that ONLY You can give.  Father, may Jesus be the center of my joy today.  May what I do, what I experience, the interactions that I have – be with You in the center – and filled with joy.  Thank You for the meeting with friends yesterday, sisters in the Lord, that bring such joy to my life here in Indy.  Thank You for answering that prayer for friends that love you and would encourage and build each other up.  Father, YOU provided them.  You answered that heart prayer.  Help me spread Your joy to others today.

Jesus – You’re the Center of my Joy – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsRLCQg-PSc&nohtml5=False

“Center Of My Joy”

Jesus, You’re the center of my joy,
all that’s good and perfect comes from You.
You’re the heart of my contentment, hope for all I do;
Jesus, You’re the center of my joy.

When I’ve lost my direction, You’re the compass for my way,
You’re the fire and light when nights are long and cold.
In sadness, You are the laughter, that shatters all my fears,
when I’m all alone, Your hand is there to hold.

You are why I find pleasure in the simple things in life,
You’re the music in the meadows and the streams.
The voices of the children, my family, and my home,
You’re the source and finish of my highest dreams.

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