June 20th-How often do we act out in life as if we were rebellious “spiritual teenagers”?

Isaiah 3: 3 “An ox knows its owner,
And a donkey its master’s manger,
But Israel does not know,
My people do not understand.”

The Lord has given even simple creatures the power of knowledge, to know their master; to instinctively conduct themselves for the basics of life, like food or protection. How much more have we been given with wisdom and discernment capabilities far, far beyond them. Yet we so often act as if we have less than they do! How often do we act out in life as if we were rebellious “spiritual teenagers”?

Isaiah 1

Rebellion of God’s People

1The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

2 Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth;
For the LORD speaks,
“Sons I have reared and brought up,
But they have revolted against Me.
3 “An ox knows its owner,
And a donkey its master’s manger,
But Israel does not know,’
My people do not understand.”
4 Alas, sinful nation,
People weighed down with iniquity,
Offspring of evildoers,
Sons who act corruptly!
They have abandoned the LORD,
They have despised the Holy One of Israel,
They have turned away from Him.
5 Where will you be stricken again,
As you continue in your rebellion?
The whole head is sick
And the whole heart is faint.
6 From the sole of the foot even to the head
There is nothing sound in it,
Only bruises, welts and raw wounds,
Not pressed out or bandaged,
Nor softened with oil.
7 Your land is desolate,
Your cities are burned with fire,
Your fields—strangers are devouring them in your presence;
It is desolation, as overthrown by strangers.
8 The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard,
Like a watchman’s hut in a cucumber field, like a besieged city.
9 Unless the LORD of hosts
Had left us a few survivors,
We would be like Sodom,
We would be like Gomorrah.

God Has Had Enough

10 Hear the word of the LORD,
You rulers of Sodom;
Give ear to the instruction of our God,
You people of Gomorrah.
11 “What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?”
Says the LORD.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
And the fat of fed cattle;
And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats.
12 “When you come to appear before Me,
Who requires of you this trampling of My courts?
13 “Bring your worthless offerings no longer,
Incense is an abomination to Me.
New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.
14 “I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts,
They have become a burden to Me;
I am weary of bearing them.
15 “So when you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Yes, even though you multiply prayers,
I will not listen.
Your hands are covered with blood.
16 “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.
Cease to do evil,
17 Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.

“Let Us Reason”

18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.
19 “If you consent and obey,
You will eat the best of the land;
20 “But if you refuse and rebel,
You will be devoured by the sword.”
Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Zion Corrupted, to be Redeemed

21 How the faithful city has become a harlot,
She who was full of justice!
Righteousness once lodged in her,
But now murderers.
22 Your silver has become dross,
Your drink diluted with water.
23 Your rulers are rebels
And companions of thieves;
Everyone loves a bribe
And chases after rewards.
They do not defend the orphan,
Nor does the widow’s plea come before them.
24 Therefore the Lord GOD of hosts,
The Mighty One of Israel, declares,
“Ah, I will be relieved of My adversaries
And avenge Myself on My foes.
25 “I will also turn My hand against you,
And will smelt away your dross as with lye
And will remove all your alloy.
26 “Then I will restore your judges as at the first,
And your counselors as at the beginning;
After that you will be called the city of righteousness,
A faithful city.”
27 Zion will be redeemed with justice
And her repentant ones with righteousness.
28 But transgressors and sinners will be crushed together,
And those who forsake the LORD will come to an end.
29 Surely you will be ashamed of the oaks which you have desired,
And you will be embarrassed at the gardens which you have chosen.
30 For you will be like an oak whose leaf fades away
Or as a garden that has no water.
31 The strong man will become tinder,
His work also a spark.
Thus they shall both burn together
And there will be none to quench them.

Isaiah 2

God’s Universal Reign

1The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

2 Now it will come about that
In the last days
The mountain of the house of the LORD
Will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And will be raised above the hills;
And all the nations will stream to it.
3 And many peoples will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways
And that we may walk in His paths.”
For the law will go forth from Zion
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.
5 Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.
6 For You have abandoned Your people, the house of Jacob,
Because they are filled with influences from the east,
And they are soothsayers like the Philistines,
And they strike bargains with the children of foreigners.
7 Their land has also been filled with silver and gold
And there is no end to their treasures;
Their land has also been filled with horses
And there is no end to their chariots.
8 Their land has also been filled with idols;
They worship the work of their hands,
That which their fingers have made.
9 So the common man has been humbled
And the man of importance has been abased,
But do not forgive them.
10 Enter the rock and hide in the dust
From the terror of the LORD and from the splendor of His majesty.
11 The proud look of man will be abased
And the loftiness of man will be humbled,
And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

A Day of Reckoning Coming

12 For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning
Against everyone who is proud and lofty
And against everyone who is lifted up,
That he may be abased.
13 And it will be against all the cedars of Lebanon that are lofty and lifted up,
Against all the oaks of Bashan,
14 Against all the lofty mountains,
Against all the hills that are lifted up,
15 Against every high tower,
Against every fortified wall,
16 Against all the ships of Tarshish
And against all the beautiful craft.
17 The pride of man will be humbled
And the loftiness of men will be abased;
And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,
18 But the idols will completely vanish.
19 Men will go into caves of the rocks
And into holes of the ground
Before the terror of the LORD
And the splendor of His majesty,
When He arises to make the earth tremble.
20 In that day men will cast away to the moles and the bats
Their idols of silver and their idols of gold,
Which they made for themselves to worship,
21 In order to go into the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs
Before the terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty,
When He arises to make the earth tremble.
22 Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;
For why should he be esteemed?

Isaiah 3

God Will Remove the Leaders

1 For behold, the Lord GOD of hosts is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah
Both supply and support, the whole supply of bread
And the whole supply of water;
2 The mighty man and the warrior,
The judge and the prophet,
The diviner and the elder,
3 The captain of fifty and the honorable man,
The counselor and the expert artisan,
And the skillful enchanter.
4 And I will make mere lads their princes,
And capricious children will rule over them,
5 And the people will be oppressed,
Each one by another, and each one by his neighbor;
The youth will storm against the elder
And the inferior against the honorable.
6 When a man lays hold of his brother in his father’s house, saying,
“You have a cloak, you shall be our ruler,
And these ruins will be under your charge,”
7 He will protest on that day, saying,
“I will not be your healer,
For in my house there is neither bread nor cloak;
You should not appoint me ruler of the people.”
8 For Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen,
Because their speech and their actions are against the LORD,
To rebel against His glorious presence.
9 The expression of their faces bears witness against them,
And they display their sin like Sodom;
They do not even conceal it.
Woe to them!
For they have brought evil on themselves.
10 Say to the righteous that it will go well with them,
For they will eat the fruit of their actions.
11 Woe to the wicked! It will go badly with him,
For what he deserves will be done to him.
12 O My people! Their oppressors are children,
And women rule over them.
O My people! Those who guide you lead you astray
And confuse the direction of your paths.

God Will Judge

13 The LORD arises to contend,
And stands to judge the people.
14 The LORD enters into judgment with the elders and princes of His people,
“It is you who have devoured the vineyard;
The plunder of the poor is in your houses.
15 “What do you mean by crushing My people
And grinding the face of the poor?”
Declares the Lord GOD of hosts.

Judah’s Women Denounced

16 Moreover, the LORD said, “Because the daughters of Zion are proud
And walk with heads held high and seductive eyes,
And go along with mincing steps
And tinkle the bangles on their feet,
17 Therefore the Lord will afflict the scalp of the daughters of Zion with scabs,
And the LORD will make their foreheads bare.”

18In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, headbands, crescent ornaments, 19dangling earrings, bracelets, veils, 20headdresses, ankle chains, sashes, perfume boxes, amulets, 21finger rings, nose rings, 22festal robes, outer tunics, cloaks, money purses, 23hand mirrors, undergarments, turbans and veils.

24 Now it will come about that instead of sweet perfume there will be putrefaction;
Instead of a belt, a rope;
Instead of well-set hair, a plucked-out scalp;
Instead of fine clothes, a donning of sackcloth;
And branding instead of beauty.
25 Your men will fall by the sword
And your mighty ones in battle.
26 And her gates will lament and mourn,
And deserted she will sit on the ground.

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Psalm 103: 15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more,
And its place acknowledges it no longer.
17 But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To those who keep His covenant
And remember His precepts to do them.
19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all.
20 Bless the LORD, you His angels,
Mighty in strength, who perform His word,
Obeying the voice of His word!
21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
22 Bless the LORD, all you works of His,
In all places of His dominion;
Bless the LORD, O my soul!

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June 19th-there is a definite “optical connection” placed in us by the Lord

Song of Solomon 6: 5a “Turn your eyes away from me,
For they have confused me;

Well, now we have taken yesterday’s non-verbal communication too far. Also part of our culture are expressions such as “What are you looking at?” “Staring him down” and even a bit newer one, “Take a picture; it will last longer.” They clearly represent a breakdown in optical “language”. Let’s make sure we work on both these skills together as we Learn to Walk Daily with Him, the only One with whom we can communicate regardless of our skills; the One who knows our heart.

Song of Solomon 5

The Torment of Separation

1 I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh along with my balsam.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.
Eat, friends;
Drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers.”
2 “I was asleep but my heart was awake.
A voice! My beloved was knocking:
‘Open to me, my sister, my darling,
My dove, my perfect one!
For my head is drenched with dew,
My locks with the damp of the night.’
3 “I have taken off my dress,
How can I put it on again?
I have washed my feet,
How can I dirty them again?
4 “My beloved extended his hand through the opening,
And my feelings were aroused for him.
5 “I arose to open to my beloved;
And my hands dripped with myrrh,
And my fingers with liquid myrrh,
On the handles of the bolt.
6 “I opened to my beloved,
But my beloved had turned away and had gone!
My heart went out to him as he spoke.
I searched for him but I did not find him;
I called him but he did not answer me.
7 “The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me,
They struck me and wounded me;
The guardsmen of the walls took away my shawl from me.
8 “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
If you find my beloved,
As to what you will tell him:
For I am lovesick.”
9 “What kind of beloved is your beloved,
O most beautiful among women?
What kind of beloved is your beloved,
That thus you adjure us?”

Admiration by the Bride

10 “My beloved is dazzling and ruddy,
Outstanding among ten thousand.
11 “His head is like gold, pure gold;
His locks are like clusters of dates
And black as a raven.
12 “His eyes are like doves
Beside streams of water,
Bathed in milk,
And reposed in their setting.
13 “His cheeks are like a bed of balsam,
Banks of sweet-scented herbs;
His lips are lilies
Dripping with liquid myrrh.
14 “His hands are rods of gold
Set with beryl;
His abdomen is carved ivory
Inlaid with sapphires.
15 “His legs are pillars of alabaster
Set on pedestals of pure gold;
His appearance is like Lebanon
Choice as the cedars.
16 “His mouth is full of sweetness.
And he is wholly desirable.
This is my beloved and this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem.”

Song of Solomon 6

Mutual Delight in Each Other

1 “Where has your beloved gone,
O most beautiful among women?
Where has your beloved turned,
That we may seek him with you?”
2 “My beloved has gone down to his garden,
To the beds of balsam,
To pasture his flock in the gardens
And gather lilies.
3 “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,
He who pastures his flock among the lilies.”
4 “You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
As lovely as Jerusalem,
As awesome as an army with banners.
5 “Turn your eyes away from me,
For they have confused me;
Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Gilead.
6 “Your teeth are like a flock of ewes
Which have come up from their washing,
All of which bear twins,
And not one among them has lost her young.
7 “Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate
Behind your veil.
8 “There are sixty queens and eighty concubines,
And maidens without number;
9 But my dove, my perfect one, is unique:
She is her mother’s only daughter;
She is the pure child of the one who bore her.
The maidens saw her and called her blessed,
The queens and the concubines also, and they praised her, saying,
10 ‘Who is this that grows like the dawn,
As beautiful as the full moon,
As pure as the sun,
As awesome as an army with banners?’
11 “I went down to the orchard of nut trees
To see the blossoms of the valley,
To see whether the vine had budded
Or the pomegranates had bloomed.
12 “Before I was aware, my soul set me
Over the chariots of my noble people.”
13 “Come back, come back, O Shulammite;
Come back, come back, that we may gaze at you!”
Why should you gaze at the Shulammite,
As at the dance of the two companies?

Song of Solomon 7

Admiration by the Bridegroom

1 “How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O prince’s daughter!
The curves of your hips are like jewels,
The work of the hands of an artist.
2 “Your navel is like a round goblet
Which never lacks mixed wine;
Your belly is like a heap of wheat
Fenced about with lilies.
3 “Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle.
4 “Your neck is like a tower of ivory,
Your eyes like the pools in Heshbon
By the gate of Bath-rabbim;
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon,
Which faces toward Damascus.
5 “Your head crowns you like Carmel,
And the flowing locks of your head are like purple threads;
The king is captivated by your tresses.
6 “How beautiful and how delightful you are,
My love, with all your charms!
7 “Your stature is like a palm tree,
And your breasts are like its clusters.
8 “I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree,
I will take hold of its fruit stalks.’
Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
And the fragrance of your breath like apples,
9 And your mouth like the best wine!”
It goes down smoothly for my beloved,
Flowing gently through the lips of those who fall asleep.

The Union of Love

10 “I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is for me.
11 “Come, my beloved, let us go out into the country,
Let us spend the night in the villages.
12 “Let us rise early and go to the vineyards;
Let us see whether the vine has budded
And its blossoms have opened,
And whether the pomegranates have bloomed.
There I will give you my love.
13 “The mandrakes have given forth fragrance;
And over our doors are all choice fruits,
Both new and old,
Which I have saved up for you, my beloved.

Song of Solomon 8

The Lovers Speak

1 “Oh that you were like a brother to me
Who nursed at my mother’s breasts.
If I found you outdoors, I would kiss you;
No one would despise me, either.
2 “I would lead you and bring you
Into the house of my mother, who used to instruct me;
I would give you spiced wine to drink from the juice of my pomegranates.
3 “Let his left hand be under my head
And his right hand embrace me.”
4 “I want you to swear, O daughters of Jerusalem,
Do not arouse or awaken my love
Until she pleases.”
5 “Who is this coming up from the wilderness
Leaning on her beloved?”
“Beneath the apple tree I awakened you;
There your mother was in labor with you,
There she was in labor and gave you birth.
6 “Put me like a seal over your heart,
Like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
The very flame of the LORD.
7 “Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor will rivers overflow it;
If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love,
It would be utterly despised.”
8 “We have a little sister,
And she has no breasts;
What shall we do for our sister
On the day when she is spoken for?
9 “If she is a wall,
We will build on her a battlement of silver;
But if she is a door,
We will barricade her with planks of cedar.”
10 “I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers;
Then I became in his eyes as one who finds peace.
11 “Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon;
He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers.
Each one was to bring a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit.
12 “My very own vineyard is at my disposal;
The thousand shekels are for you, Solomon,
And two hundred are for those who take care of its fruit.”
13 “O you who sit in the gardens,
My companions are listening for your voice—
Let me hear it!”
14 “Hurry, my beloved,
And be like a gazelle or a young stag
On the mountains of spices.”

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Psalm 103: 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
9 He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
14 For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.

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June 18th-On this Father’s Day, we celebrate the love of a father. How much greater is the love of our Heavenly Father!

Song Of Solomon 4: 9 “You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride;
You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes,
With a single strand of your necklace.

They say the eyes are the window to the soul- and this may be rooted in Matthew 6:22,“The eye is the lamp of the body”- but in any event, there is a definite “optical connection” placed in us by the Lord. With other common phrases – “our eyes met”; “could not look me in the eyes”; “gave him a dirty look”, etc- being such a part of our world, maybe it would be a good idea to focus on using visual input and output. Maintain eye contact and focus on being a bit more careful with our verbal communication.

Song of Solomon 1

The Young Shulammite Bride and Jerusalem’s Daughters

1The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.

2 “May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is better than wine.
3 “Your oils have a pleasing fragrance,
Your name is like purified oil;
Therefore the maidens love you.
4 “Draw me after you and let us run together!
The king has brought me into his chambers.”
“We will rejoice in you and be glad;
We will extol your love more than wine.
Rightly do they love you.”
5 “I am black but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
Like the tents of Kedar,
Like the curtains of Solomon.
6 “Do not stare at me because I am swarthy,
For the sun has burned me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me;
They made me caretaker of the vineyards,
But I have not taken care of my own vineyard.
7 “Tell me, O you whom my soul loves,
Where do you pasture your flock,
Where do you make it lie down at noon?
For why should I be like one who veils herself
Beside the flocks of your companions?”

Solomon, the Lover, Speaks

8 “If you yourself do not know,
Most beautiful among women,
Go forth on the trail of the flock
And pasture your young goats
By the tents of the shepherds.
9 “To me, my darling, you are like
My mare among the chariots of Pharaoh.
10 “Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments,
Your neck with strings of beads.”
11 “We will make for you ornaments of gold
With beads of silver.”
12 “While the king was at his table,
My perfume gave forth its fragrance.
13 “My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh
Which lies all night between my breasts.
14 “My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
In the vineyards of Engedi.”
15 “How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!
Your eyes are like doves.”
16 “How handsome you are, my beloved,
And so pleasant!
Indeed, our couch is luxuriant!
17 “The beams of our houses are cedars,
Our rafters, cypresses.
Song of Solomon 2

The Bride’s Admiration

1 “I am the rose of Sharon,
The lily of the valleys.”
2 “Like a lily among the thorns,
So is my darling among the maidens.”
3 “Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
So is my beloved among the young men.
In his shade I took great delight and sat down,
And his fruit was sweet to my taste.
4 “He has brought me to his banquet hall,
And his banner over me is love.
5 “Sustain me with raisin cakes,
Refresh me with apples,
Because I am lovesick.
6 “Let his left hand be under my head
And his right hand embrace me.”
7 “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the hinds of the field,
That you do not arouse or awaken my love
Until she pleases.”
8 “Listen! My beloved!
Behold, he is coming,
Climbing on the mountains,
Leaping on the hills!
9 “My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Behold, he is standing behind our wall,
He is looking through the windows,
He is peering through the lattice.
10 “My beloved responded and said to me,
‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along.
11 ‘For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
12 ‘The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
13 ‘The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along!’”
14 “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret place of the steep pathway,
Let me see your form,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your form is lovely.”
15 “Catch the foxes for us,
The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards,
While our vineyards are in blossom.”
16 “My beloved is mine, and I am his;
He pastures his flock among the lilies.
17 “Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away,
Turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle
Or a young stag on the mountains of Bether.”

Song of Solomon 3

The Bride’s Troubled Dream

1 “On my bed night after night I sought him
Whom my soul loves;
I sought him but did not find him.
2 ‘I must arise now and go about the city;
In the streets and in the squares
I must seek him whom my soul loves.’
I sought him but did not find him.
3 “The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me,
And I said,’Have you seen him whom my soul loves?’
4 “Scarcely had I left them
When I found him whom my soul loves;
I held on to him and would not let him go
Until I had brought him to my mother’s house,
And into the room of her who conceived me.”
5 “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the hinds of the field,
That you will not arouse or awaken my love
Until she pleases.”

Solomon’s Wedding Day

6 “What is this coming up from the wilderness
Like columns of smoke,
Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
With all scented powders of the merchant?
7 “Behold, it is the traveling couch of Solomon;
Sixty mighty men around it,
Of the mighty men of Israel.
8 “All of them are wielders of the sword,
Expert in war;
Each man has his sword at his side,
Guarding against the terrors of the night.
9 “King Solomon has made for himself a sedan chair
From the timber of Lebanon.
10 “He made its posts of silver,
Its back of gold
And its seat of purple fabric,
With its interior lovingly fitted out
By the daughters of Jerusalem.
11 “Go forth, O daughters of Zion,
And gaze on King Solomon with the crown
With which his mother has crowned him
On the day of his wedding,
And on the day of his gladness of heart.”

Song of Solomon 4

Solomon’s Love Expressed

1 “How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!
Your eyes are like doves behind your veil;
Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Mount Gilead.
2 “Your teeth are like a flock of newly shorn ewes
Which have come up from their washing,
All of which bear twins,
And not one among them has lost her young.
3 “Your lips are like a scarlet thread,
And your mouth is lovely.
Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate
Behind your veil.
4 “Your neck is like the tower of David,
Built with rows of stones
On which are hung a thousand shields,
All the round shields of the mighty men.
5 “Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle
Which feed among the lilies.
6 “Until the cool of the day
When the shadows flee away,
I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh
And to the hill of frankincense.
7 “You are altogether beautiful, my darling,
And there is no blemish in you.
8 “Come with me from Lebanon, my bride,
May you come with me from Lebanon.
Journey down from the summit of Amana,
From the summit of Senir and Hermon,
From the dens of lions,
From the mountains of leopards.
9 “You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride;
You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes,
With a single strand of your necklace.
10 “How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
And the fragrance of your oils
Than all kinds of spices!
11 “Your lips, my bride, drip honey;
Honey and milk are under your tongue,
And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.
12 “A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
A rock garden locked, a spring sealed up.
13 “Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates
With choice fruits, henna with nard plants,
14 Nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
With all the trees of frankincense,
Myrrh and aloes, along with all the finest spices.
15 “You are a garden spring,
A well of fresh water,
And streams flowing from Lebanon.”
16 “Awake, O north wind,
And come, wind of the south;
Make my garden breathe out fragrance,
Let its spices be wafted abroad.
May my beloved come into his garden
And eat its choice fruits!”

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Psalm 103

Praise for the LORD’S Mercies.
A PSALM OF DAVID.

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5 Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.
6 The LORD performs righteous deeds
And judgments for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.

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June 17th- it still comes down to this: it is still about obedience.

Ecclesiastes 12: 13The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

“The conclusion, when all has been said”-meaning we can read all we want, hear all the preaching we want, sing all the praises we want, and it still comes down to this: it is still about obedience. Back then, fear, or, more correctly translated, awe, of God was a primary motivating force. While we still should fear the Lord, we now have a spirit of love added to our motivation, due to the death and resurrection of our Savior. We should want to be obedient to the One who died for our sin. Further notice how the word then says “everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil”. The Fear, or awe, stemming from what would happen when our evil is revealed, is companion to appreciation, humility, and love, as our hidden good deeds and their resulting reward becomes known.

Ecclesiastes 10

A Little Foolishness

1Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor. 2A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left. 3Even when the fool walks along the road, his sense is lacking and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool. 4If the ruler’s temper rises against you, do not abandon your position, because composure allays great offenses.
5There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like an error which goes forth from the ruler— 6folly is set in many exalted places while rich men sit in humble places. 7I have seen slaves riding on horses and princes walking like slaves on the land.
8He who digs a pit may fall into it, and a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall. 9He who quarries stones may be hurt by them, and he who splits logs may be endangered by them. 10If the axe is dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success. 11If the serpent bites before being charmed, there is no profit for the charmer. 12Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him; 13the beginning of his talking is folly and the end of it is wicked madness. 14Yet the fool multiplies words. No man knows what will happen, and who can tell him what will come after him? 15The toil of a fool so wearies him that he does not even know how to go to a city. 16Woe to you, O land, whose king is a lad and whose princes feast in the morning. 17Blessed are you, O land, whose king is of nobility and whose princes eat at the appropriate time—for strength and not for drunkenness. 18Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks. 19Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything. 20Furthermore, in your bedchamber do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known.

Ecclesiastes 11

Cast Your Bread on the Waters

1Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days. 2Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. 3If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies. 4He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap. 5Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.
6Sow your seed in the morning and do not be idle in the evening, for you do not know whether morning or evening sowing will succeed, or whether both of them alike will be good.
7The light is pleasant, and it is good for the eyes to see the sun. 8Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything that is to come will be futility.
9Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things. 10So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.

Ecclesiastes 12

Remember God in Your Youth

1Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no delight in them”; 2before the sun and the light, the moon and the stars are darkened, and clouds return after the rain; 3in the day that the watchmen of the house tremble, and mighty men stoop, the grinding ones stand idle because they are few, and those who look through windows grow dim; 4and the doors on the street are shut as the sound of the grinding mill is low, and one will arise at the sound of the bird, and all the daughters of song will sing softly. 5Furthermore, men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags himself along, and the caperberry is ineffective. For man goes to his eternal home while mourners go about in the street. 6Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; 7then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. 8“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “all is vanity!”

Purpose of the Preacher

9In addition to being a wise man, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge; and he pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs. 10The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly.
11The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd. 12But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.
13The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

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Psalm 102: 23 He has weakened my strength in the way;
He has shortened my days.
24 I say, “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days,
Your years are throughout all generations.
25 “Of old You founded the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
26 “Even they will perish, but You endure;
And all of them will wear out like a garment;
Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.
27 “But You are the same,
And Your years will not come to an end.
28 “The children of Your servants will continue,
And their descendants will be established before You.”

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June 16th- even though we may have trials in our lives, the Lord wants us to live our lives with joy.

Ecclesiastes 8: 15So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.

As we have already seen, God knows work is good for us, giving the sense of accomplishment of a job well done, as well as any remuneration we receive for our labors. Pleasure, joy, is commended to us here, as, even though we may have trials in our lives, the Lord wants us to live our lives with joy.

Ecclesiastes 7

Wisdom and Folly Contrasted

1 A good name is better than a good ointment,
And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.
2 It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.
4 The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning,
While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.
5 It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man
Than for one to listen to the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorn bushes under a pot,
So is the laughter of the fool;
And this too is futility.
7 For oppression makes a wise man mad,
And a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning;
Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.
9 Do not be eager in your heart to be angry,
For anger resides in the bosom of fools.
10 Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.
11 Wisdom along with an inheritance is good
And an advantage to those who see the sun.
12 For wisdom is protection just as money is protection,
But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.
13 Consider the work of God,
For who is able to straighten what He has bent?
14 In the day of prosperity be happy,
But in the day of adversity consider—
God has made the one as well as the other
So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.

15I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness. 16Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? 17Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 18It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.
19Wisdom strengthens a wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city. 20Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. 21Also, do not take seriously all words which are spoken, lest you hear your servant cursing you. 22For you also have realized that you likewise have many times cursed others.
23I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24What has been is remote and exceedingly mysterious. Who can discover it? 25I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. 26And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her.
27“Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “adding one thing to another to find an explanation, 28which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these. 29“Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.”

Ecclesiastes 8

Obey Rulers

1Who is like the wise man and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man’s wisdom illumines him and causes his stern face to beam.
2I say, “Keep the command of the king because of the oath before God. 3“Do not be in a hurry to leave him. Do not join in an evil matter, for he will do whatever he pleases.” 4Since the word of the king is authoritative, who will say to him, “What are you doing?”
5He who keeps a royal command experiences no trouble, for a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure. 6For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight, though a man’s trouble is heavy upon him. 7If no one knows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen? 8No man has authority to restrain the wind with the wind, or authority over the day of death; and there is no discharge in the time of war, and evil will not deliver those who practice it. 9All this I have seen and applied my mind to every deed that has been done under the sun wherein a man has exercised authority over another man to his hurt.
10So then, I have seen the wicked buried, those who used to go in and out from the holy place, and they are soon forgotten in the city where they did thus. This too is futility. 11Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil. 12Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly. 13But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God.
14There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility. 15So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.
16When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth (even though one should never sleep day or night), 17and I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, “I know,” he cannot discover.

Ecclesiastes 9

Men Are in the Hand of God

1For I have taken all this to my heart and explain it that righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God. Man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him.
2It is the same for all. There is one fate for the righteous and for the wicked; for the good, for the clean and for the unclean; for the man who offers a sacrifice and for the one who does not sacrifice. As the good man is, so is the sinner; as the swearer is, so is the one who is afraid to swear. 3This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all men. Furthermore, the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives. Afterwards they go to the dead. 4For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion. 5For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. 6Indeed their love, their hate and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun.
7Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works. 8Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your head. 9Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.

Whatever Your Hand Finds to Do

10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.
11I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all. 12Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them.
13Also this I came to see as wisdom under the sun, and it impressed me. 14There was a small city with few men in it and a great king came to it, surrounded it and constructed large siegeworks against it. 15But there was found in it a poor wise man and he delivered the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the wisdom of the poor man is despised and his words are not heeded. 17The words of the wise heard in quietness are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. 18Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

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Psalm 102: 15 So the nations will fear the name of the LORD
And all the kings of the earth Your glory.
16 For the LORD has built up Zion;
He has appeared in His glory.
17 He has regarded the prayer of the destitute
And has not despised their prayer.
18 This will be written for the generation to come,
That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.
19 For He looked down from His holy height;
From heaven the LORD gazed upon the earth,
20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner,
To set free those who were doomed to death,
21 That men may tell of the name of the LORD in Zion
And His praise in Jerusalem,
22 When the peoples are gathered together,
And the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.

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June 15th-why not keep this in mind when not only trying to accomplish something, but also when asking others to do so.

Ecclesiastes 4: 9Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.

An often quoted text, why not keep this in mind when not only trying to accomplish something, but also when asking others to do so. The experience of working together to accomplish something is also a learning process, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Ecclesiastes 4

The Evils of Oppression

1Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. 2So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. 3But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.
4I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind. 5The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh. 6One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.
7Then I looked again at vanity under the sun. 8There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, “And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?” This too is vanity and it is a grievous task.
9Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. 11Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
13A poor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction. 14For he has come out of prison to become king, even though he was born poor in his kingdom. 15I have seen all the living under the sun throng to the side of the second lad who replaces him. 16There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them, and even the ones who will come later will not be happy with him, for this too is vanity and striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 5

Your Attitude Toward God

1Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. 2Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. 3For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words.
4When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! 5It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.
8If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight; for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them. 9After all, a king who cultivates the field is an advantage to the land.

The Folly of Riches

10He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. 11When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on? 12The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep.
13There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt. 14When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had fathered a son, then there was nothing to support him. 15As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand. 16This also is a grievous evil—exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind? 17Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger.
18Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. 19Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. 20For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.

Ecclesiastes 6

The Futility of Life

1There is an evil which I have seen under the sun and it is prevalent among men— 2a man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner enjoys them. This is vanity and a severe affliction. 3If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, “Better the miscarriage than he, 4for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. 5“It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he. 6“Even if the other man lives a thousand years twice and does not enjoy good things—do not all go to one place?”
7All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied. 8For what advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does the poor man have, knowing how to walk before the living? 9What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind.
10Whatever exists has already been named, and it is known what man is; for he cannot dispute with him who is stronger than he is. 11For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man? 12For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?

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Psalm 102: 8 My enemies have reproached me all day long;
Those who deride me have used my name as a curse.
9 For I have eaten ashes like bread
And mingled my drink with weeping
10 Because of Your indignation and Your wrath,
For You have lifted me up and cast me away.
11 My days are like a lengthened shadow,
And I wither away like grass.
12 But You, O LORD, abide forever,
And Your name to all generations.
13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion;
For it is time to be gracious to her,
For the appointed time has come.
14 Surely Your servants find pleasure in her stones
And feel pity for her dust.

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June 14th-We should find satisfaction in toil, it is a gift of God

Ecclesiastes 1: 12I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; 13moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God.

Adam was given the garden to tend. We should find satisfaction in toil, it is a gift of God. He knows our nature; to be encouraged by a job well done, and to gain a sense of accomplishment.

Ecclesiastes 1

The Futility of All Endeavor

1The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

2 Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”
3 What advantage does man have in all his work
Which he does under the sun?
4 A generation goes and a generation comes,
But the earth remains forever.
5 Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;
And hastening to its place it rises there again.
6 Blowing toward the south,
Then turning toward the north,
The wind continues swirling along;
And on its circular courses the wind returns.
7 All the rivers flow into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full.
To the place where the rivers flow,
There they flow again.
8 All things are wearisome;
Man is not able to tell it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor is the ear filled with hearing.
9 That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one might say,
“See this, it is new”?
Already it has existed for ages
Which were before us.
11 There is no remembrance of earlier things;
And also of the later things which will occur,
There will be for them no remembrance
Among those who will come later still.

The Futility of Wisdom

12I, the Preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with. 14I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind. 15What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.
16I said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.” 17And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind. 18Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.

Ecclesiastes 2

The Futility of Pleasure and Possessions

1I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility. 2I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” 3I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives. 4I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; 5I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; 6I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. 7I bought male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. 8Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines.
9Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. 10All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. 11Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.

Wisdom Excels Folly

12So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly; for what will the man do who will come after the king except what has already been done? 13And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. 14The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both. 15Then I said to myself, “As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?” So I said to myself, “This too is vanity.” 16For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die! 17So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.

The Futility of Labor

18Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. 20Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun. 21When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil. 22For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun? 23Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.
24There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. 25For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him? 26For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

1There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—

2 A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

9What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.

God Set Eternity in the Heart of Man

11He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.
12I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; 13moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God. 14I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. 15That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.
16Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness. 17I said to myself, “God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,” for a time for every matter and for every deed is there. 18I said to myself concerning the sons of men, “God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.” 19For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. 20All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. 21Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth? 22I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him?

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Psalm 102

Prayer of an Afflicted Man for Mercy on Himself and on Zion.
A PRAYER OF THE AFFLICTED WHEN HE IS FAINT AND POURS OUT HIS COMPLAINT BEFORE THE LORD.

1 Hear my prayer, O LORD!
And let my cry for help come to You.
2 Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress;
Incline Your ear to me;
In the day when I call answer me quickly.
3 For my days have been consumed in smoke,
And my bones have been scorched like a hearth.
4 My heart has been smitten like grass and has withered away,
Indeed, I forget to eat my bread.
5 Because of the loudness of my groaning
My bones cling to my flesh.
6 I resemble a pelican of the wilderness;
I have become like an owl of the waste places.
7 I lie awake,
I have become like a lonely bird on a housetop.

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