Greetings Project Ezra! This week I am suggesting a selection of readings from Ecclesiastes. They are Chapter 5:1-7, Chapter 8:10-13 and Chapter 11:5-10. These passages address two issues that I run into constantly when witnessing on the streets. The first is treating the truth of God and his judgment lightly and frivolously, and the second is presuming on his patience.
We live in a time where Biblical illiteracy is epidemic. It seems everybody has an idea of who God is and what his will is, but most are completely incapable of supporting their beliefs. Much of the time it’s not even a matter of incorrectly interpreting the scripture, although there is plenty of scripture twisting out there to contend with. But moral relativism has taken such a hold that people get a thought or idea in their mind about what they think God might be like, or more often what they would like him to be like, and they will either fight for their idea regardless of there being no rational support for it, or will simply dismiss anything you say, insisting they are right. Chapter 5 talks about not being rash with your mouth, and says it is better to draw near to listen than to offer the sacrifice of fools. It’s amazing the foolish, unbiblical things people will say to support their own bad behavior. But if we fear God, as verse 7 says, we will be very careful what we say about him.
These idolatrous understandings of God and who he almost always include the idea that God is all forgiving, and that no matter what someone does, God will simply forget all sin and invite everyone in with open arms. This idea is foreign to scripture, and many verses regarding God’s anger at the wicked and hatred of sin could be noted. Chapter 8 is true when it says people set their hearts on evil since their sentence is not executed speedily. They have no fear of God because the punishment is not immediate. But it will come and we know that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
Finally, Chapter 11 tells us how foolish it is to assume we know what the future holds. Once again, it gives a very accurate description of how many people treat their lives, and in particular how the young are captivated with the enjoyment of the here and now and don’t consider God and his judgment. God will judge each one of us, and the days of darkness will be many. People should enjoy the good things God has given them, but we must remind them that their own judgment day is imminent, and they don’t know whether it will be a hundred years from now or tomorrow.
So, as you preach, encourage those listening to take a more sober look at the truths of God and the truth of their own mortality. As Peter said, God is not slow in his judgment, but is patient, wishing that all should reach repentance. But his patience will not last forever, and once death comes it is too late. If they were to stand before God today, would he see them as good? Would they be worthy to enter heaven on their own merits? Then, when you show them God’s law and how far they fall short of it, by God’s grace they will see their need of a savior and turn to him.
I will be putting up another post this weekend with some of the testimonies from First John on the Fourth of July. Your pictures, videos and testimonies are such an encouragement! Please keep sharing them, and when the Fourth of July testimony report comes out, please post it on your social networking sites and share it with your friends. It may be enough to convince them to participate too. May God be greatly glorified in the reading of his word this week, and may we all have a right heart before him as we do so. What a privilege to be able to read his word and tell others of his amazing grace!
All for HIS glory!!