Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | February 6, 2017

“Consider the work of God … In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider— (be patient)”

Today’s devotion comes from Ecclesiastes 7:9-18.

“9 Do not be eager in your heart to be angry,
For anger resides in the bosom of fools.
10 Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.
11 Wisdom along with an inheritance is good
And an advantage to those who see the sun.
12 For wisdom is protection just as money is protection,
But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.
13 Consider the work of God,
For who is able to straighten what He has bent?
14 In the day of prosperity be happy,
But in the day of adversity consider
God has made the one as well as the other
So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.

15 I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility;  there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness. 16 Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise.  Why should you ruin yourself?  17 Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool.  Why should you die before your time?  18 It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other;  for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.”   Ecclesiastes 7:9-18.

———————————-

“13 Consider the work of God,
For who is able to straighten what He has bent?
14 In the day of prosperity be happy,
But in the day of adversity consider—
God has made the one as well as the other
So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.”  Verses 13-14.

When we consider the work of God, we learn about God’s providence.  And, when we understand God’s providence, we become more patient in the day of adversity and more happy in the day of prosperity.  And, we become more thankful for all the days that God has given us.

Here is how the Heidelberg Catechism states it.

“Q. 27.  What dost thou mean by the providence of God?

A.  The almighty and everywhere present power of God, whereby, as it were by His hand, He upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures;  so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by His fatherly hand. 

Q. 28.  What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by His providence doth still uphold all things?

 A.  That we may be patient in adversity;  thankful in prosperity;  and that in all things which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from His love;  since all creatures are so in His hand, that without His will they cannot so much as move.

But, we should not live out our lives “waiting for the other shoe to drop”, that is, expect something bad to happen after something good happens to us as if God were some Greek god amused to just mess with us.

Rather, we should expect that the day of adversity comes to us because God, our Heavenly Father, caused it for our good.  “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28.

Yes, we get sick.  But, how many days did we have that were in good health?  Moreover, God caused that sickness to be for our good.  (As a personal example, I remember getting sick with a bad flu about six years ago which diminished my appetite causing me to lose about 10 pounds because I only wanted to eat chicken soup, and that experience motivated me to stay with chicken soup and lose another 20 pounds.)

Yes, we experienced financial troubles.  But, how many days did we have food and clothing and shelter?

Q. 26.  What believest thou when thou sayest, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth”?

A.  That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (who of nothing made heaven and earth, with all that is in them;  who likewise upholds and governs the same by His eternal counsel and providence is, for the sake of Christ His Son, my God and my Father;  on whom I rely so entirely, that I have no doubt but He will provide me with all things necessary for soul and body;  and further, that He will make whatever evils He sends upon me, in this valley of tears, turn out to my advantage;  for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father.

“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things;  for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Matthew 6:31-33.

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