Week 52: Ecclesiastes 3-Song of Songs 3
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Monday, September 6 Ecclesiastes 3-4 Read & Listen Online (Click “Audio” link to listen)
1. Several hints to the solution of the problem of meaninglessness appear in Ecclesiastes 3 and 4. Identify the aspects of the solution mentioned in these verses: Ecclesiastes 3:1–8; 3:12–14; 3:17; 3:18; 4:9–12. What did the angel announce as the great solution to these problems (Luke 2:10-11)? What is Peter’s confession about what is meaningful (John 6:68)?
Tuesday, September 7 Ecclesiastes 5-6 Read & Listen Online (Click “Audio” link to listen)
2. Did the shepherds say anything at the manger? Check out Luke 2:8–20. What did the shepherds say at the manger? What did they say after they had visited the manger? They seem to have followed the instruction of the Teacher in Ecclesiastes 5:1–3. Why does the Teacher say we should “not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God”? According to the Teacher, who is running things, anyway? How might this insight help us celebrate Christmas with peace and joy?
Wednesday, September 8 Ecclesiastes 7-8 Read & Listen Online (Click “Audio” link to listen)
3. “The day of death (is) better than the day of birth” (Ecclesiastes 7:1). What a statement to think about at Christmas time! The Concordia Self-Study Bible says that “the Christian has ample reason to say this (Note, p. 999). Why would this be so? The note directs us to 2 Corinthians 5:1–10 and Philippians 1:21–23. Why does Solomon feel this way? Who offers more hope, Solomon or Paul?
Thursday, September 9 Ecclesiastes 9-10 Read & Listen Online (Click “Audio” link to listen)
4. “The same destiny overtakes all” (Ecclesiastes 9:3). What is this “destiny” that overtakes all, according to the Teacher? It especially distresses Solomon that those who do good and those who do evil suffer the same fate. He mentions the fate of the poor man who saved a city as an example (Ecclesiastes 9:13–16). In the light of what he has observed, what does Solomon suggest are some things people could do in the meantime (See Ecclesiastes 9: 7, 9–10; 10:4, 19)? In reality, what truth is Solomon reaching (Romans 3:23)? What is God’s joyous solution to this situation (Romans 3:22-25)?
Friday, September 10 Ecclesiastes 11-12 Read & Listen Online (Click “Audio” link to listen)
5. After contemplating all the seeming inconsistencies and injustices in the world, what does the Teacher finally conclude (Ecclesiastes 12: 1, 6, 13)? This is a passionate plea, not just good advice. Read the whole context of the first plea (Ecclesiastes 11:10–12:5a). What is the essence of the first plea? Then read the second plea (Ecclesiastes 12:5b–7). What is the essence of the second plea? Solomon says his proverbs were written to be “goads” given by the Shepherd so that his readers would “fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:11, 13). What is a “goad”? Which goads have been especially helpful to you? Since goads hurt, for healing read these words of the Shepherd (John 10:11, 14–16) and the assurances of Peter (1 Peter 5:4). Then praise Him for His love and everlasting care.
Saturday, September 11 Song of Songs 1-3 Read & Listen Online (Click “Audio” link to listen)
6. An “adjuration” is a solemn oath urging or advising someone to do a certain thing. A familiar example of an adjuration is the judge’s directive” to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God.” Song of Songs 2:7 is an adjuration that is repeated in 3:5 and 8:4 and, in a different form, in 5:8. It is a statement of both Law and Gospel. What are people (the daughters of Jerusalem) placed under oath to do? What law of God is it stating (Exodus 20:14)? Through the phrase “by the gazelles and by the does of the field” the adjuration invokes the witness of God. It calls to mind that God created things to be done in a certain order. The adjuration also reminds us that by following this command we are responding to the love of God that is a mighty flame of the Lord (Song of Songs 8:6). To what contemporary situations does the adjuration speak? How did God most clearly show His love to us?
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