Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 27, 2017

“He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.”

Today’s devotion comes from Ecclesiastes 2:12-26.

“12 So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly;  for what will the man do who will come after the king except what has already been done?  13 And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.  14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness.  And yet I know that one fate befalls them both.  15 Then I said to myself, “As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me.  Why then have I been extremely wise?”  So I said to myself, “This too is vanity.”  16 For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten.  And how the wise man and the fool alike die!  So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me;  because everything is futility and striving after wind.

18 Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me.  19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool?  Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun.  This too is vanity.  20 Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.  21 When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his legacy to one who has not labored with them.  This too is vanity and a great evil.  22 For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun?  23 Because all his days his task is painful and grievous;  even at night his mind does not rest.  This too is vanity.

24 There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good.  This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.  25 For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?  26 For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight.  This too is vanity and striving after wind.”  Ecclesiastes 2:12-26.

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In today’s Scripture, Solomon continues his observation that without the blessing of God neither wisdom nor work satisfy (give peace and enjoyment).  “For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun?”  Verse 22.  “For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?”  Verse 25.

Other doctrine only focuses on man and only urges man to try other things like change jobs or retire.

Although Reformed Doctrine recognizes that there are sometimes good reasons to change jobs or retire, Reformed Doctrine teaches that there is always good reason to focus on God, knowing that even in good jobs or in retirement, we still will be unhappy unless God blesses us.  Reformed Doctrine teaches us above all to seek the blessing of God.

God can cause us to rejoice in our labor and eat and drink in joy and peace.   

“There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good.  This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.”  Verse 24.

“I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime;  moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God.”  Ecclesiastes 3:12-13.

“Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting:  to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him;  for this is his reward.  Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor;  this is the gift of God.  For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.”  Ecclesiastes 5:18-20.


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