Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Read it Again For the First Time

The other day I read a verse again for the first time. I've come across it before, but this time it jumped out at me.

Ecclesiastes 7:14 says, "In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: surely God has appointed (ordained, created, or made) the one as well as the other, so that man can find out nothing that will come after him."

Solomon explains (Proverbs-style) in chapter 7 what he has learned from adversity. It's proverbial in that he provides general truths about life in concise, memorable statements. And it's based more on life in the "minor key" - death, suffering, and pain rather than success and prosperity.

It seems that Solomon has summarized our response to all of life (or, at least what it should be). When things are good, we can be joyful and thank God for the blessings. When things are bad, we should consider.

Consider what?

We consider, or reflect upon, the sovereignty of God ("surely God has appointed the one as well as the other"). God rules and reigns in His universe. He ordains the good and the bad. "But out God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases" (Psa. 115:3).

We consider the goodness of God. "Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! His mercy endures forever" (Psa. 136:1). Everything God is and does is good. We can trust Him in both the good and the bad times.

We consider the love of God because He loves His children and delights in us far more than we could ever imagine. Paul's prayer in Ephesians 3:17b-19a is "that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge."

No matter what the circumstances - good or bad - a sovereign, good, and loving God has ordained them for my good and His glory.

God used that verse to encourage me recently - praise Him! Maybe I'll use it in a future sermon.

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