Lessons from Ecclesiastes

“”That generations come and go without remembrance by the next is a sober reminder that life will go on without us and that none of us is the center of the universe.”  –“Family Worship Bible Guide” p. 471
“As we experience life under the sun, death is always something that happens to someone else. But the Preacher reminds us of the sobering reality that sooner or later we will be the ‘someone else’ that will be preaching the brevity of life to others by our own deaths.”  –“Family Worship Bible Guide” p. 475

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Getting Ready

From Oct. 21 “Streams In the Desert” devotional:

The owner of the tenement which I have occupied for many years has given notice that he will furnish but little or nothing more for repairs. I am advised to be ready to move.
At first this was not a very welcome notice. The surroundings here are in many respects very pleasant, and were it not for the evidence of decay, I should consider the house good enough. But even a light wind causes it to tremble and totter, and all the braces are not sufficient to make it secure. So I am getting ready to move.
It is strange how quickly one’s interest is transferred to the new prospective home. I have been consulting maps of the new country and reading descriptions of its inhabitants. One who visited it has returned, and from him I learn that it is beautiful beyond description; language breaks down in attempting to tell of what he heard while there. He says that, in order to make an investment there, he has suffered the loss of all things that he owned here, and even rejoices in what others would call making a sacrifice. Another, whose love to me has been proven by the greatest possible test, is now there. He has sent me several clusters of the most delicious fruits. After tasting them, all food here seems insipid.
Two or three times I have been down by the border of the river that forms the boundary, and have wished myself among the company of those who were singing praises to the King on the other side. Many of my friends have moved there. Before leaving they spoke of my coming later. I have seen the smile upon their faces as they passed out of sight. Often I am asked to make some new investments here, but my answer in every case is, “I am getting ready to move.”

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Faith Takes God’s Word

“Everything that God reveals of Himself transcends man’s comprehension; every doctrine, therefore, must of necessity terminate in mystery, and man must humbly acquiesce in having it so. God does not tell men more of His purpose than man needs to know; and, just because man’s knowledge of what God is doing is always incomplete, His actions will often appear to man to have precisely opposite characteristics to those which He Himself ascribes to them. But in such cases it is man’s part deliberately to accept God’s interpretation in preference to his own. Faith will not lean to its own understanding of the appearance; faith will take God’s word as a safe index to the reality, and will wait patiently till contrary appearances dissolve away with the coming of greater light. –Martin Luther, “The Bondage of the Will”  

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What Exhortations Could Not Do, God Did

From the testimony of George Muller:

“What all the exhortations and precepts of my father and others could not effect; what all my own resolutions could not bring about, even to renounce a life of sin and profilgacy; I was enabled to do, constrained by the love of Jesus.  The individual who desires to have his sins forgiven, must seek for it through the blood of Jesus. The individual who desires to get power over sin, must likewise seek it through the blood of Jesus.”  

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Long Suffering

“…the longer we live the more clearly we see that suffering, sharp suffering, long suffering, is one of the most important of God’s agencies for the good of men; and that it is a proof of God’s great strength of mind, so to speak, that where great good is to be effected he allows keen suffering to continue so long as it is needed for his great ends.”  –William Blaikie “Heroes of Israel” p. 318

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Trials Followed by Blessings

“The generation that grew up under those great displays of wrath and mercy in the wilderness was the best generation of Jews that ever lived. So God himself testifies, Jer. 2:2-3. Its influence for good was long felt among the tribes. If the Israelites had trials in the wilderness for forty years, these were followed by long centuries of amazing blessings in their own land.” –William S. Plumer “Psalms” Ps. 90:15 — p. 844

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The Wilderness Generation

“These frequent outbreaks in the Israelites of the spirit of lowest distrust…remember that for generations they had been a nation of slaves…the policy of their masters had been to crush the manhood out of them, to destroy all self-reliance and enterprise…reduce them to the helplessness of children. And very like children they were.  … Such people were not ripe…for the duty of witnessing for God in the midst of the heathen. …a new generation must be brought forward. The generation that came out of Egypt had thus been weighed in the balances and found wanting. Men of firmer texture and robuster faith were needed to take possession of the land.” –William Blaikie “Heroes of Israel” p. 437

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