Ecclesiastes 5-8 - Prayer Tents



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Ecclesiastes 5-8
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Ecclesiastes 5

Approaching God with Care

5cAs you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.H8104H7272H3212H1004H430H7138H8085H5414H2077H3684H3045H6213H74512cDon’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.H926H6310H3820H4116H3318H1697H6440H430H430H8064H776H1697H45923Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.H2472H935H7230H6045H3684H6963H7230H16974When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him.H5087H5088H430H309H7999H2656H3684H7999H50875It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.H2896H5087H5087H79996Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved.H5414H6310H1320H2398H559H6440H4397H7684H430H7107H6963H2254H4639H30277Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead.H7230H2472H7235H1697H1892H3372H430

The Futility of Wealth

8Don’t be surprised if you see a poor person being oppressed by the powerful and if justice is being miscarried throughout the land. For every official is under orders from higher up, and matters of justice get lost in red tape and bureaucracy.H7200H6233H7326H1499H4941H6664H4082H8539H2656H1364H1364H8104H1364H59219Even the king milks the land for his own profit!cH3504H776H4428H5647H770410Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!H157H3701H7646H3701H157H1995H8393H189211The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth—except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers!H2896H7235H7231H398H3788H1167H518H7207H7212H586912People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich seldom get a good night’s sleep.H8142H5647H4966H398H4592H7235H7647H6223H3240H346213There is another serious problem I have seen under the sun. Hoarding riches harms the saver.H3426H2470H7451H7200H8121H6239H8104H1167H745114Money is put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost. In the end, there is nothing left to pass on to one’s children.H6239H6H7451H6045H3205H1121H3972H302715We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us.H3318H517H990H6174H7725H3212H935H5375H3972H5999H3212H302716And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing—like working for the wind.H2090H2470H7451H5980H935H3212H3504H5998H730717Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry.H3117H398H2822H7235H3707H7110H248318Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life.H7200H2896H3303H398H8354H7200H2896H5999H5998H8121H4557H3117H2416H430H5414H250619And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.H120H430H5414H6239H5233H7980H398H5375H2506H8055H5999H2090H4991H43020God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.H7235H2142H3117H2416H430H6031H8057H3820

Ecclesiastes 6

6There is another serious tragedy I have seen under the sun, and it weighs heavily on humanity.H3426H7451H7200H8121H7227H120 2God gives some people great wealth and honor and everything they could ever want, but then he doesn’t give them the chance to enjoy these things. They die, and someone else, even a stranger, ends up enjoying their wealth! This is meaningless—a sickening tragedy.H376H430H5414H6239H5233H3519H2638H5315H183H430H7980H398H376H5237H398H1892H7451H2483 3A man might have a hundred children and live to be very old. But if he finds no satisfaction in life and doesn’t even get a decent burial, it would have been better for him to be born dead.H376H3205H3967H2421H7227H8141H3117H8141H7227H5315H7646H2896H6900H559H5309H2896 4His birth would have been meaningless, and he would have ended in darkness. He wouldn’t even have had a name,H935H1892H3212H2822H8034H3680H2822 5and he would never have seen the sun or known of its existence. Yet he would have had more peace than in growing up to be an unhappy man.H7200H8121H3045H2088H5183H2088 6He might live a thousand years twice over but still not find contentment. And since he must die like everyone else—well, what’s the use?H432H2421H505H8141H6471H7200H2896H1980H259H4725 7All people spend their lives scratching for food, but they never seem to have enough.H5999H120H6310H5315H4390 8So are wise people really better off than fools? Do poor people gain anything by being wise and knowing how to act in front of others?H2450H3148H3684H6041H3045H1980H2416 9Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.H2896H4758H5869H1980H5315H1892H7469H7307

The Future—Determined and Unknown

10Everything has already been decided. It was known long ago what each person would be. So there’s no use arguing with God about your destiny.H7121H8034H3528H3045H120H3201H1777H8623 11The more words you speak, the less they mean. So what good are they?H3426H7235H1697H7235H1892H120H3148 12In the few days of our meaningless lives, who knows how our days can best be spent? Our lives are like a shadow. Who can tell what will happen on this earth after we are gone?H3045H2896H120H2416H4557H3117H1892H2416H6213H6738H5046H120H310H8121

Ecclesiastes 7

Wisdom for Life

7A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume. And the day you die is better than the day you are born.H8034H2896H2896H8081H3117H4194H3117H3205 2Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies—so the living should take this to heart.H2896H3212H1004H60H3212H1004H4960H834H5490H120H2416H5414H3820 3Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.H3708H2896H7814H7455H6440H3820H3190 4A wise person thinks a lot about death, while a fool thinks only about having a good time.H3820H2450H1004H60H3820H3684H1004H8057 5Better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool.H2896H8085H1606H2450H376H8085H7892H3684 6A fool’s laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire. This also is meaningless.H6963H5518H5518H7814H3684H1892 7Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt the heart.H6233H2450H1984H4979H6H3820 8Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.H2896H319H1697H7225H750H7307H2896H1362H7307 9Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool.H926H7307H3707H3708H5117H2436H3684 10Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.H559H7223H3117H2896H7592H2451 11Wisdom is even better when you have money. Both are a benefit as you go through life.H2451H2896H5159H3148H7200H8121 12Wisdom and money can get you almost anything, but only wisdom can save your life.H2451H6738H3701H6738H3504H1847H2451H2421H1167 13Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?H7200H4639H430H3201H8626H5791 14Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.H3117H2896H2896H3117H7451H7200H430H6213H5980H1700H120H4672H3972H310

The Limits of Human Wisdom

15I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people.H7200H3117H1892H3426H6662H6H6664H7563H748H7451 16So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself?H6662H7235H3148H2449H8074 17On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time?H7235H7561H5530H4191H6256 18Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremesc.H2896H270H2088H3240H3027H3373H430H3318 19One wise person is stronger than ten leading citizens of a town!H2451H5810H2450H6235H7989H5892 20Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.H6662H120H776H6213H2896H2398 21Don’t eavesdrop on others—you may hear your servant curse you.H5414H3820H1697H1696H8085H5650H7043 22For you know how often you yourself have cursed others.H6471H7227H3820H3045H7043H312 23I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise.” But it didn’t work.H2090H5254H2451H559H2449H7350 24Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find.H7350H6013H4672 25I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness.H5437H3820H3045H8446H1245H2451H2808H3045H7562H3689H5531H1947 26I discovered that a seductive womanc is a trap more bitter than death. Her passion is a snare, and her soft hands are chains. Those who are pleasing to God will escape her, but sinners will be caught in her snare.H4672H4751H4194H802H3820H4685H2764H3027H612H2896H6440H430H4422H2398H3920 27“This is my conclusion,” says the Teacher. “I discovered this after looking at the matter from every possible angle.H7200H4672H559H6953H259H259H4672H2808 28Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman!H5315H1245H4672H259H120H505H4672H802H4672 29But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”H7200H905H4672H430H6213H120H3477H1245H7227H2810

Ecclesiastes 8

8How wonderful to be wise, to analyze and interpret things. Wisdom lights up a person’s face, softening its harshness.H2450H3045H6592H1697H120H2451H6440H215H5797H6440H8132

Obedience to the King

2Obey the king since you vowed to God that you would.H8104H4428H6310H1700H7621H4303Don’t try to avoid doing your duty, and don’t stand with those who plot evil, for the king can do whatever he wants.H926H3212H6440H5975H7451H1697H6213H26544His command is backed by great power. No one can resist or question it.H1697H4428H7983H559H62135Those who obey him will not be punished. Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right,H8104H4687H3045H7451H1697H2450H3820H3045H6256H49416for there is a time and a way for everything, even when a person is in trouble.H2656H3426H6256H4941H7451H120H72277Indeed, how can people avoid what they don’t know is going to happen?H3045H50468None of us can hold back our spirit from departing. None of us has the power to prevent the day of our death. There is no escaping that obligation, that dark battle. And in the face of death, wickedness will certainly not rescue the wicked.H120H7989H7307H3607H7307H7983H3117H4194H4917H4421H7562H4422H1167

The Wicked and the Righteous

9I have thought deeply about all that goes on here under the sun, where people have the power to hurt each other.H7200H5414H3820H4639H6213H8121H6256H120H7980H745110I have seen wicked people buried with honor. Yet they were the very ones who frequented the Temple and are now praisedc in the same city where they committed their crimes! This, too, is meaningless.H3651H7200H7563H6912H935H1980H4725H6918H7911H5892H6213H189211When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong.H6599H7451H4639H6213H4120H3820H1121H120H4390H6213H745112But even though a person sins a hundred times and still lives a long time, I know that those who fear God will be better off.H2398H6213H7451H3967H748H3045H2896H3373H430H3372H644013The wicked will not prosper, for they do not fear God. Their days will never grow long like the evening shadows.H2896H7563H748H3117H6738H3373H6440H43014And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless!H3426H1892H6213H776H6662H5060H4639H7563H3426H7563H5060H4639H6662H559H1571H189215So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.H7623H8057H120H2896H8121H398H8354H8055H3867H5999H3117H2416H430H5414H812116In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night.H5414H3820H3045H2451H7200H6045H6213H776H3117H3915H7200H8142H586917I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.H7200H4639H430H120H3201H4672H4639H6213H8121H834H7945H120H5998H1245H4672H2450H559H3045H3201H4672


New Living Translation (NLT). Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. More details.
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