Find out what's good and lasting in this meaningless life under the sun.
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Ecclesiastes 5 (ESV)
1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.
draw near to listen
is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools,
for they do not know that they are doing evil.
not rash with your mouth,
nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God,
for God is in heaven
and you are on earth.
Therefore let your words be few.
3 For a dream comes with much business,
and a fool’s voice with many words.
4 When you vow a vow to God,
do not delay paying it,
for he has no pleasure in fools.
Pay what you vow.
5 It is better that you should not vow
than that you should vow and not pay.
6 Let not your mouth lead you into sin,
and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake.
Why should God
be angry at your voice
and destroy the work of your hands?
and words grow many,
there is vanity;
but God is the one you must fear.
8 If you see in a province
the oppression of the poor
and the violation of justice and righteousness,
do not be amazed at the matter,
for the high official is watched by a higher,
and there are yet higher ones over them.
9 But this is gain for a land in every way:
a king committed to cultivated fields.
10 He who loves money
not be satisfied with money,
nor he who loves wealth with his income;
this also is vanity.
11 When goods increase,
they increase who eat them,
and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes?
12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer,
whether he eats little or much,
but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.
13 There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun:
riches were kept by their owner to his hurt,
14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture.
And he is father of a son,
but he has nothing in his hand.
15 As he came from his mother’s womb
he shall go again,
naked as he came,
and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand.
16 This also is a grievous evil:
just as he came,
so shall he go,
and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind?
17 Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness
in much vexation and sickness and anger.
18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is
to eat and drink
and find enjoyment
in all the toil with which one toils
under the sun
the few days of his life that God has given him,
for this is his lot.
19 Everyone also to whom God has given
wealth and possessions
and power to enjoy them,
accept his lot
and rejoice in his toil—
this is the gift of God.
he will not much remember the days of his life
because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
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Definitions of key terms in Ecclesiastes which make it much easier to understand.
Ecclesiastes 5 Summary
The Preacher gives several bits of advice in chapter five.
First, go into the House of the Lord carefully and with humble fear. Notice how you are to come in:
draw near to listen (v1)
be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word (v2)
Let your words be few (v2)
When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it (v4)
Let not your mouth lead you into sin (v6)
God is the one you must fear (v7)
Second, don't be too shocked by corruption in government. It's always been there and likely always will be until Christ returns.
Third, those who love money (v10) will never be satisfied by it. In fact, people who make material things the object of their pursuit will ultimately let go of it at the end of their lives, and will be plagued with worry about it all of their days. On the other hand, the one who works hard for whatever he has will sleep soundly.
There are two things which should jump out at you in this chapter. So far everything that the Preacher has examined has been found to be hevel, that is, a meaningless, vain, breath of vapor that comes and goes.
But in chapter five, two things are found to have lasting value. First is a regular habit of going into the house of the Lord. You certainly need to do so carefully, but since being in God's presence is the one thing the wise Preacher doesn't describe as being meaningless, make sure you do so often.
Secondly, burn v18 into your psyche:
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.
Yes, we live in a broken world full of misery caused by our sin which has infected everything under the sun, but yet it is the gift of God (v19) that it is still possible for you to find enjoyment in the truly good things that God has given you.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our eternal Father who gives wealth and possessions, and the power to enjoy them (v19)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God that you can come into His house to silently listen to Him.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: