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Bible verses about Ecclesiastes and Christian Living Summary
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 3:2-6

Clearly, Eve, like Adam, was instructed and warned. In that regard, both were without excuse. Eve adds the prohibition against touching the fruit, and the context shows she admired its beauty, which is not a sin in itself but reveals her intensifying desire for it even before the serpent makes its sales pitch. The problem became much more critical because she listened to the serpent, apparently making no effort to flee the potentially sinful situation. As the Bible reports, she was clearly deceived, but she was thinking right along with the satanic sales pitch, as the desire to eat and be wise grew within her. All these pressures were edging the pair closer to choosing to sin. In doing so, they reaped the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, experiencing the pains of suffering and death.

Adam was guilty of idolatry and of deliberate sin. God directly curses Adam in Genesis 3:17, charging him, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it,' . . . .” He then lists a series of consequences, which would make life more difficult for him. These, of course, affected Eve as well.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Fourteen): A Summary


 

Genesis 4:17-22

This passage records the foundation of humanity's development of a more complex system of community living, including that of agriculture, art, and technology. God surely intended more complex human communal systems to arise, but since these are descendants of Cain, Scripture indicates that they were not working alongside God to produce these developments. Their planning and building are deliberately undertaken apart from God. The fruit of such development produced the evil society before the Flood.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Fourteen): A Summary


 

Ecclesiastes 7:5-14

Solomon's fifth piece of wisdom in this chapter is that we must not let pride get the better of us by allowing ourselves to reject correction from a person we know has experience in a difficulty we are going through (Ecclesiastes 7:5-6). If we fail to humble ourselves in such a case, we will likely later regret passing off the correction as nothing more than arrogant interference. That can be a major misjudgment, as Proverbs 11:2 bluntly reminds us, “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.”

A sixth piece of Solomonic sagacity appears in Ecclesiastes 7:8, where he reminds us not to let impatience defeat us. When a trial is resolved, we will be glad we stuck with it. Impatience is a restlessness of mind that can easily become anxiety-ridden. It rises when we want to put an irksome and perhaps dangerous task behind us. Peace departs and the quality of our involvement in the situation dwindles. We so easily become frustrated and angry when things seem stacked against us. Some trials must be endured for long periods, often the case in relationship problems. Thus, Proverbs 11:12 cautions, “He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace.”

A seventh nugget of sound advice: Do not look back, bemoaning one's commitment to God's way of life (Ecclesiastes 7:9-10). Solomon directly states that is not wisdom. Wisdom is to keep plowing forward as one's best defense. Jesus says in Luke 9:62, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” He adds in Mark 4:17 that some called ones have no root in themselves and so endure only for a while, and when tribulation and persecution arise they stumble. We must continue forward, though it is difficult at times, because it will pay off handsomely in the end.

A final item of wisdom appears in Ecclesiastes 7:13-14: We should never allow ourselves to lose sight of God. Paul promises in I Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” God—the same God who gives us days of prosperity—remains with us during adversity. In adversity, even though it appears dark and perhaps never-ending, He calls on us to use our faith.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Fourteen): A Summary


 

Ecclesiastes 7:15-18

The two most significant concepts presented within this chapter are somewhat related, being two elements of the same subject. The first is accepting and surviving the paradox found in Ecclesiastes 7:15, into which any of us could be drawn as we endure a difficult trial. The chapter also includes a few broad conclusions that help to give us some guidance.

The paradox seems to be the initial motivation for the second of these two concepts, which is Solomon's description of his detailed and diligent search for wisdom that continues for the rest of the chapter. His search was only partly successful, as he admits in verse 23 that a complete answer was far from him. However, he diligently kept at his search, and interestingly, his reflections reach back to creation and the introduction of sin into the world.

The danger within the paradox is for the Christian to misjudge that his circumstance is unfair. This error is initiated when he perceives that a Christian, a servant of God, should be greatly blessed with peace and prosperity, while for the sinner everything should be going badly. However, in the paradox the circumstances are reversed. The Christian's life seems to be in tatters, while everything is coming up roses for the sinner. The Christian, not being as fully aware of this as he needs to be, is feeling pressure to make a choice as to how he will react.

The wrong reaction lies in his becoming motivated to rid himself of the burden by resorting to radical measures to correct what he concludes is the cause of his stress. On the one hand, he may be strongly tempted to resort to super-righteousness, believing it is the solution. Yet, on the other hand, he may, out of frustration and lack of faith, resort to sinning deliberately as a means of relieving the pressure—and perhaps give up his place among the saved. Either of these radical measures can turn the paradox into a failed experience.

The correct solution is provided in Psalm 73, a complete commentary written by a deeply converted man who went through this very trial. The psalm reveals that the correct foundation of the solution is to understand that rarely is this difficult trial a punishment but a test. One must endure its stresses through a great deal of prayer, drawing on one's faith in and fear of God and believing in His promise never to allow us to be tempted above what we are able (I Corinthians 10:13). We must put our trust in God's faithfulness.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Fourteen): A Summary


 

Ecclesiastes 7:29

The word “only” is inserted in his conclusion to draw attention to its importance. Righteous living is truly rare, and it has been so from the beginning, from Adam and Eve until now.

After this qualification, Solomon immediately asserts that God did not create human beings to sin but to live righteous lives. He is implying that we should stop blaming God for all of mankind's troubles—that we get ourselves into this mess we call life. God made us upright, but we all have deliberately chosen to sin.

Undoubtedly, he is reflecting on the early chapters of Genesis, where a clear pattern of deliberate, willful sin appears. Genesis 1:31 states God's evaluation of His creation: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” Will we challenge God's judgment of what He had just created? Adam and Eve had already been created at this point, and God judged what He had made as “very good.”

They were not flawed by sin, and God had not placed in them a mechanism to sin deliberately. They had not been created to live fractured, sinful lives but upright, righteous lives. In terms of sin, whatever became part of them occurred after this point. He did not entrap them. However, they were capable of sinning because God created them with minds able to learn, discern, and make choices between options. Sinning was something they opted to do.

Genesis 6:5 suggests an interesting connection between the overwhelming sinfulness of the days of Noah and Solomon's conclusion in Ecclesiastes 7:29: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The intriguing relationship is between the word “schemes,” “inventions,” or “devices,” depending on what translation is used in Ecclesiastes 7:29, and the word “intent” in Genesis 6:5. While not the same word, both derive from the same root, indicating thinking and/or planning. In both contexts, the thinking is being done with evil intent. That is, the ones doing the devising are deliberately planning evil.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Fourteen): A Summary


 

 




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