These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

I was taken aback at 4:4 – “Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor.”
Wow. If you can’t say amen at least say ouch! It reminds me of something Shana and I were saying while looking for houses: “contentment is our greatest asset”…in other words, to not compare with others and think we “need” things we really don’t will give us room to make wiser financial decisions that will impact the kingdom rather than chasing what everyone else has or thinks they need

1 Tim 6:6: Godliness with contentment is great gain

A few things from Ecc 5:
v. 11 – “when goods increase, they increase who eat them” – this spoke a peculiar relief for me as we walk forward in buying a house that is 2x the size of our current home. I keep thinking, “Lord this is your house, I’d love for it to be filled with people”. Then I read that and it gave me hope :slightly_smiling_face:
v. 19 – “accept his lot…this is the gift of God” – I read this shortly after talking to a friend. God was speaking to him and his wife to literally “accept their lot”. And how it’s much better to find contentment in current circumstances (even less-than-ideal) then to be discontent and think new circumstances could change it. Even more…I see now that such contentment is “the gift of God”. May we see this gift multiply in God’s people
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing…then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” (Phil. 2:14-16)

I find Ecc 7:15-29 a bit difficult to wrap my mind around. So to help myself (and maybe others), here’s how I see it in my own words:
15 – bad things happen to “good” people (good relative to others, but still sinners in God’s sight); good things happen to bad people (i.e. those who are especially bad, though we are all bad when judged against God’s standard)
16 – don’t be self-righteous or know-it-all; you’ll come to ruin
17 – don’t be a worse-than-average sinner or fool; you’ll die
18 – the solution? fear God!
19 – wisdom will give more strength than physical ability
20 – all sin
21-22 – all people can be dismissive of others at times; don’t take it too personally
26 – seduction away from God is worse than dying
28 – I’ll get to this verse a little later…hope the suspense is killing you LOL
29 – God intended man to be upright; but we’re not

This has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible. I love the wisdom literature in general but esp. Ecclesiastes. The reason it is always grounds me with perspective like no other book. What are we truly working for each day?? We wake up and toil and toil every day but in the end what is it all for? Do we really remember that our life is a fleeting and an absolute vapor (1:2-4).

Here is some things we know: We will have trial/dark days (11:8), time and chance happen to us all, and none of us know our last day (9:11-12), yet in the end the Lord puts us hear for a purpose, he allows us to enjoy our families, our wives, our work, and our food.

…And most of all we are to fear God, hear and understand His word, and keep His commandments (12:13)! God is in heaven and we are on earth so let our words be few (5:2), and remember God sees all and that He alone is our ultimate judge (12:14).

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