Saturday, November 30, 2013


                                    For the week beginning Sunday December 1, 2013                                  

(Pursuing GOD as our greatest goal)
Ecclesiastes 11:1-10 & 12:13-14

One of the key points that Solomon continues to make in the book of Ecclesiastes is that, as human beings we are, for the most part, ignorant concerning GOD’s sovereignty, providence, and control over our existence, time, and the function of all creation in general. However, when we become aware of the greatness of GOD, we should not let that knowledge lead to “gross inactivity” and “a giving up on life”, taking on an attitude of, “What’s the use in trying”.
GOD still blesses us with “wills that are free”, or a “freedom of choice”, and life’s circumstances are dictated by those choices, and not by some “personal pre-destined path that we are forced by GOD to go down, whether we want to or not”. It is in that light of understanding that one must approach his or her study of this “divine”, but also, “humanistic” book called Ecclesiastes.
Here is chapter 11 Solomon begins by advising us on the benefits of giving. However, Solomon is not suggesting that, by doing so, we are putting GOD in our debt, or putting another person into our debt. That would be “lending”, not “giving”. And while some lending can be good, we can’t lend to GOD, and giving to someone in need is always better than lending. Our generosity should always come from the heart, and not from “selfish motives” such as self promotion, trying to compete with others, or giving expecting something in return (Vs.1-2).
In verses 3-6 we see a somewhat peculiar analogy being used by Solomon, of “clouds” and “trees”. Here he imparts wisdom, seemingly to the farmer, but upon closer examination we see that this advice can also be applied to anyone’s trade.  It is a reminder to remain diligent in plying our trade, or, even in our approach to any of life’s many situations.
Even though a farmer can’t always rely on the proper amount of rainfall that is needed to water his crops, and sometimes gale force winds capable of uprooting trees can thoroughly destroy the crop that he has sown for later harvest, he still must not give up on his work. A fallen tree can still be used for firewood to keep him warm when the days grow cold (v.3).
None of us can afford to wait on perfect conditions before we begin to act on a task. As mere humans, we have no earthly idea what GOD may choose to do regarding the weather, or anything else. GOD’s ways are as mysterious as the intricacies of a child being formed in a woman’s womb, and is as unpredictable as the wind (Vs.4-5). That is why it is best not to put all one’s eggs into one basket, but rather, we would be better off planting a variety of crops, or investing in a variety of ventures, and we never know which ones will be fruitful, and just maybe, they all will (v.6).
In Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:8, Solomon, for the most part, urges us to rejoice in our youth, through “responsible living”. In fact, this passage can actually be divided into three sections;

·         The first section, 11:7-8, is a call for us to enjoy life, even in the view of impending death. In this section, Solomon writes metaphorically of light and darkness, as elements of life and death. He encourages his readers to enjoy life as it comes, because life, like the pleasant light of the sun, should be enjoyed before the coming darkness of “night”, or “death”. The grave, in Old Testament understanding, was called one’s eternal home.
·         In the second section, 11:9-10, Solomon warns that our enjoyment of life should begin in our youth, because youth gets away from us quickly. However, he also warns, that our enjoyment should be resigned to responsible living, because ultimately, everyone is answerable to GOD, and all of us will have to make an account to GOD, for the deeds done in our lifetimes.
·         In the third section, 12:1-7, Solomon stresses the importance of the responsible enjoyment of youth, because old age is a time of increasing decay and corrosion of one’s physical body that, ultimately, culminates in death. Solomon brilliantly uses this description of death to motivate responsible living in our youth. It is, in effect, a reversal of Creation, as our spirit returns to GOD, who gave it, and we are in the end, judged by HIM.

In Ecclesiastes 12, verses 12-13 Solomon concludes the book of Ecclesiastes with these thoughts and admonitions for all that are wise enough to accept them. We find here in this passage, perhaps the first sign, or inkling, that its author is clearly aware of GOD’s special revelation in Scripture. And even now this final verse may only refer to the “moral nature” and “knowledge” that GOD innately places in every human being. Here Solomon states:

“There is no end of opinions ready to be expressed. Studying them can go on forever and become very exhausting! Here is my final conclusion: Fear GOD and obey HIS commands, for this is the duty of every person. GOD will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad” (NLT).

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website

Sunday, November 24, 2013


                                  For the week beginning Sunday November 24, 2013                                 

(Being content in life)
Ecclesiastes 9

King Solomon loved wisdom and he seemed to embrace it closer than anything else in his life, most of the time. He wholeheartedly believed in the precious value of incorporating GOD’s wisdom in all of life’s situations, and he lent very little credence to relying on “human wisdom” to solve the problems he faced during his reign as king.
Ecclesiastes 9:1-11:6 is characterized by the repeating of the phrases “no man knows” and “you do not know”, as this section deals with “man’s inability to predict what will happen in life, be it good or bad”. However, probably the key phrase to consider in the book of Ecclesiastes is the one “under the sun”, which is used 29 times in this book. Whenever we see this phrase, it describes how Solomon was looking at life from a human, rather than a heavenly, perspective, and we all know, life from a human perspective can often look bleak, hopeless, and meaningless.
Whenever we choose to go “our own way”, we automatically move farther and farther away from GOD, and, in the end, the separation becomes so wide, that GOD is reduced to this obscure figure in our minds and lives, whom we once knew, and, of which at that time, we will seek only to avoid. The farther Solomon got away from GOD, the emptier, and more meaningless his life became. He began to see no advantage to following GOD, because the same experiences and fates befell people, regardless of their spiritual perspective (Ecclesiastes 9:3-7). In other words, GOD’s “fair judgment” (justice) awaits all people, regardless of their chosen faiths and lifestyles, and they all face the same proportion of “adversity” and “prosperity” in life.
When good things happen to righteous people, they serve to bless GOD, and the people around them, however, when good things happen to unbelievers, it only serves as a test to those observing believers whose faith in GOD is not where it should be. Whenever Christians envy worldly people, it is a sign that their hearts are not fixed on GOD as it should be, and they are not sold on the truth that “GOD is in control”.
In verses 8-10 Solomon says again that a man should enjoy the brief life that he has and even partake in all of the finer things that GOD provides him with. He should live happily with the wife he loves throughout his whole life. The wife GOD gives us is our reward for all of our earthly toil (v.9). For when we die there will be no work or planning, or knowledge or wisdom (v.10).
In verse 11 Solomon gives us a list of some other things that he observed during his short lifetime regarding human abilities:

·         The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race.
·         The strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle.
·         The wise are often poor.
·         The skillful are not necessarily wealthy.
·         Those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives.

All people are subjected to times of misfortunes in life that do not necessarily lead to death. GOD is in control of all of our fates and fortunes, including life and death. HE allows us to make our own choices, not our own circumstances. We never know when and if GOD might allow us to have great fortune or fame, mediocre lives, or very humble existences. It’s up to HIM, at all times. We can never control, or predict, when prosperity, or hard times might come. Like fish in a net, or birds in a snare, people are often caught by sudden tragedy (v.12).
In Ecclesiastes 9:13-18, Solomon relates the story of a small town whose citizens faced the threat of being overtaken by a powerful king, and it is in his darkened human perspective that he recalls this incident. There was a poor, but wise man who dwelt among the citizenry of that town that knew of a way to save this town from certain doom. Solomon doesn’t say exactly how the man managed to rescue the town, however, one can only surmise that it was through some sort of cleaver negotiations since, apparently, no shots were fired. We are told, also, that the poor man was soon forgotten, because of his insignificant social status in the town, and, that he lived out the remainder of his life in obscurity despite his valuable contribution to their survival.
Solomon was highly impressed by this incident and he seemed to draw very strong conclusions from it. He says he learned from it, that, even though wisdom is better than physical strength, those who are wise may be despised if they are poor, and what they say, won’t be appreciated for long. Even so, the quiet words of a wise person are better than the shouts of a foolish king. A wise person can overcome strong weapons of war, but one foolish sinner can destroy a multitude of good things (Vs. 16-18).
And so, Solomon concedes in the end that GODly wisdom is greater than physical strength, but he still seems irritated by the fact that no one else seems to notice. However, even when doing the right thing seems to go unnoticed by man, or does not result in personal victory or recognition, what’s important is that GOD is taking note, and we need to always try to do the right thing every single time anyway. Doing the right thing will never go unnoticed by GOD, no matter how stupid the world may make you feel for doing it. After all, we have to keep in mind that “it is the world” and all of scripture tells us, that, the world belongs to satan, and is thereby, anti-CHRIST. At some point, we have to stop expecting good things from a world that insists on being apart from GOD. “Only GOD is good”- JESUS CHRIST (Mark 10:18).

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website


Friday, November 15, 2013


                                  For the week beginning Sunday November 17, 2013                                 

(When problems seem too tough to solve)
Ecclesiastes 7:1-18 & 8:9-17

Solomon’s statement in Ecclesiastes 7, verse 1 runs a lot deeper than most people care to understand. Solomon’s choice and use of Hebrew words, analogies, and metaphors, seem to drive home one of the more profound thoughts in all of Scripture, as for as the life choices of man is concerned, and how he incorporates GOD’s wisdom into his thinking. This is how this verse reads in “plain English” from the “New Living Translation” and “The Living Bible” versions:
“A good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive perfume (precious ointment-NKJ). In the same way, the day you die is better than the day you are born”.

The connection of the two parts of this verse is not coincidental. In the Hebrew the word used here for “precious” is “towb” (pronounced toe-be) and it means “good”, in the broadest sense of the word, in this case, “valuable”. This is the only time in all of Scripture, that this particular word is used for “precious”.
In the Hebrew the word used here for “ointment”, or “perfume”, “shemen” (sheh-men), is the same word that is used for “oil”, and it is, in fact, “a perfumed olive oil”. The same Hebrew word used here for oil is also a symbol of “joy” and “prosperity”, and it is also a “metaphor” for the term “reputation”, or “odor”. Here Solomon combines the thoughts of joy, prosperity, and reputation, with the idea of “birth” and “death”. He is saying, in effect, that, it is better to reach the end of life with a “good reputation”, than to have a celebrated birth, and end up living a life that is of “ill-repute” that resulted into nothingness.
Death is the destiny of all who live, and in fact, everyone is born with an expiration date already set. In verses 1-4 we see a short collection of proverbs that prompt us to focus on “the brevity of life” here on earth. Most often, it is sorrows and grief that sort of forces us to focus on such an issue as this. Solomon recommends that we reflect soberly and often on the shortness of life, instead of being caught up so much in foolishness and pleasure. A house of mourning should be preferred over a house of feasting, for example, and in the same way, sorrow preferred over laughter. It is this type of attitude toward life that can lead to “moral improvement”, and, it is good for the heart, Solomon says. We are to learn how to “count our days rightly”, or, as the Apostle Paul might say, “buy up the time” so that our hearts may grow in wisdom.
In verses 5-6 we see two warnings to the “foolish” at heart, or, to those who think and live frivolous foolish lifestyles:

·         It is better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool (v.5)
·         A fool’s laughter is quickly gone, like thorns crackling in a fire (v.6)

Here Solomon compares “the frivolous lifestyle of a fool”, a person with little, or no spiritual discernment or wisdom, to “the quick burning of dry wood” on an open fire. To be praised by a fool is not to be exalted at all, but rather, it is, in fact, demeaning. It is better to listen and heed warnings, and accept correction and rebuke from a wise person, than it is to accept meaningless praise from a fool.
In verse 7, “oppression” is the word translated from the original Hebrew word “osheq” (o-shek) and it means “to oppress by using unjust methods to acquire something from someone” such as fraud, extortion, robbery, etc.”.  Often the temptations that come along with prosperity can corrupt the heart, or “thinking” even of a wise man, causing him to want to live like a fool. He may give in to extortion, or bribery, and, may even, also, cave in to all kinds of adversity.
In verses 8-10 Solomon tells us that “how we finish” is much more important than “how we start”. Here Solomon gives us other ways how we can be led down the path of a fool through pride, impatience, anger, and by longing for our “sinful past”, or, as we might say, “the good old days”. 
If we start out too good, too fast, it can contribute greatly to us obtaining a prideful attitude, however, if we don’t start out fast enough, we can become too impatient, especially while watching others who have obtained more success than we have at a given point in life. Learning strong patience can keep us “balanced” firmly in the center where “virtue” can always be found. And then we must learn to control, or deal with “anger”, which stops us from thinking, which blocks our “hearts”, which stops us from applying “GODly wisdom” to our life’s situations. And as far as the good old days are concerned, when most of us look at our past, we typically see ourselves in a position in life where we were very much out of the will of GOD. Even though we may have enjoyed it at the time, we now know in our hearts (thinking) that we needed to abandon that old lifestyle and move closer to GOD.
Wisdom and prosperity working together can be a wonderful thing, as prosperity’s value goes way up when GODly wisdom is applied. Being wise is better than being rich because wisdom by itself can preserve your life, whereas money can’t (Vs.11-12). We need to see how GOD does things, and then, fall in line (v.13). We must enjoy prosperity whenever we have it, and remember that when hard times comes, that they both came from the ONLY WISE GOD. It is GOD’s will that we see nothing in this world as certain, except HIM (v.14). 
In verse 15 Solomon confesses, in spite of his vast wisdom, that he often couldn’t make sense of certain events in life, for instance, why some good people die young, and some wicked people live long lives. In verses 16-17 he suggests that “moderation” is the key word. Here he advises that, while it doesn’t pay to be wicked, it also doesn’t pay to be overly righteous either.
These two verses (vs.16 & 17) have long been an enigma to bible students everywhere, and I’m probably not going to provide anyone with a satisfactory answer to this puzzling statement at this time. However, I believe that “The Teacher” Solomon, is trying to warn us against being overly “self righteous”, which, in and of itself, is “a form of wickedness” because it lends itself to “prideful behavior”, and brings on a “cavalier spirit” which automatically sets us out of the will of GOD (see what happened to David- 1 Chronicles 13). We can hurt ourselves “physically” and “spiritually” when we fall into a “legalistic” or “Pharisaic” approach to life.
In chapter 8, verses 9-17, Solomon expands his thoughts regarding the wicked and the righteous. In a world where people have the power to hurt or help each other, Solomon says he has seen wicked people buried with honor, people who frequented the temple and are praised in the very city in which they committed their crimes (Vs.9-10). The frightening thing about those kinds of strange happenings is that, when people see crime go unpunished, people begin to feel that it is OK to do whatever they please, without repercussions (v.11).
Sadly, we must learn to adjust to the evilness in the world around us, and we must always take great care that we ourselves do not become entangled in the snares and temptations that await us around every corner. Even though a wicked person can sin many times over, and live a long life, still, those who fear GOD will always be a lot better off, and live a long, “good life”, which will show benefits that are eternal in the life to come (Vs.12-13).
Solomon says that in his search for wisdom, he tried to observe everything that goes on in the world around him. He discovered that there is endless activity day and night. In his search he was reminded constantly that no one can discover everything that GOD has created in the world, no matter how long and hard they try. Not even the wisest of the wise can know everything about GOD, it is impossible for mere man to know (Vs.16-17).

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website


Saturday, November 2, 2013


                                   For the week beginning Sunday November 3, 2013                                  

(The futility of wealth)
Ecclesiastes 5:8-20 & 6:10-12

After showing us how lives can be ruined, and “the fruits of our labor” can be lost through “a flood of empty words” (unfulfilled promises), and how our mouths make us sin by making such promises to GOD (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7), Solomon now shows us how the fruits of our labor can be lost to “the next highest authority”, man.
In Ecclesiastes 5, verses 8-9 Solomon tells us that we should not be surprised when we see poor people being oppressed, both, by the government, and, by the rich and powerful among us. We simply can’t expect justice from a “Luciferic system of government”, that so-called Christian ministers are “too cowardly” to challenge on any level, and in fact, seem more willing to join, than to fight against, because of all the “filthy lucre” and “fame” that they stand to gain by complying to the devil’s program.
In the United States, for example, we have a “Luciferic system” that feeds on greed, sex, entertainment, and selfish ideas. It also supports, and or, promotes things, through government and church leadership, that are anti-CHRIST, such as homosexuality, adultery, fornication, abortion, etc. We also oppress the poor through tax laws, auto insurance laws, lending practices, traffic fines, court systems, penal systems, and through unaffordable access to higher education, etc. Solomon says that “matters of justice only get lost in red tape and bureaucracy”. Even the kings (the nations’ leaders) milk the land for their own profits” (Vs.8b-9 – NLT).
Luciferic leaders are always “watching out” NOT, so as to protect the poor, but rather, they are seeking more ways to oppress the poor, in favor of their own personal gain. They spend a great deal of their time trying to come up with more and more ways to squeeze revenue out of those who are too poor, helpless, or lazy to fight back.
Solomon had already opined on the “futility of wealth” in chapter 2, verses 1-11, however, taking up at verse 10  of this chapter, Solomon finds it necessary to change the direction of his thoughts, and further elaborate on the subject of wealth, and he even repeats some of those points mentioned earlier. Also, in this particular passage, Solomon dispels several of the myths that people have embraced about being rich, and how some rich people adhere to those illusions, and thereby, deprive themselves of the true blessings that GOD really has for them. Here Solomon lists five “truths” about wealth that we may, or may not have known;

·         Those who love money will never have enough (v.10a)
·         Wealth does not bring “true happiness” (v.10b)
·         The more money you have, the more people come to help you spend it (v.11a)
·         The only advantage of wealth is, perhaps, being privileged, or unfortunate enough to be able to watch it run through your fingers (v.11b)
·         The rich are always worrying and seldom get a good night’s sleep (v.12)

In verse 13, Solomon says that there is another serious problem that he has seen in the world, regarding wealth. Here in this passage he says that riches are sometimes “hoarded up” to the detriment of the hoarder, or, they may invest their riches into things that turn sour, and, as a result, everything is lost. In fact, in the end, there may not even be anything left to pass on to one’s children as an inheritance. People who live only for their wealth can come to the end of their lives, as naked and empty-handed as they were on the day they were born (Vs.13-17).
In verses 18-20, Solomon says that there is also a “bright side” to having wealth when we focus on the simple things in life, and keep GOD at the forefront of our lives. Here he tells us that it is “good” for people to eat well, drink a good glass of wine, and enjoy their work in the process, whatever their “legitimate” line of work may be, and, for however long GOD may allow us to continue doing it. It is a “good thing” to receive wealth from GOD, along with the “good health” it takes to enjoy it. To enjoy one’s work, and to accept one’s lot in life, is indeed a gift from GOD. People who enjoy and appreciate what GOD has given them, rarely look with sorrow on their past, because GOD has given them reasons for joy all along the way.       
Since our futures have already been decided by GOD, based on the decisions we make in life, we don’t have to argue with GOD about our destiny. Although GOD gives us substantial control of our lives through our “freedom of choice”, HE maintains control of the “circumstances of those choices”. And so, the more excuses we come to GOD with, concerning our “bad choices” the less our words mean to GOD, because our actions expose to HIM, and should to us, just where our “true heart” really is (Ecclesiastes 6:10-12).
If we desire to manifest GOD through our behavior, by making GODly choices on a daily basis, our hearts testify that our allegiance is with GOD. But if we continue to invest our thoughts and desires into those things that are “temporal”, or “worldly”, then GOD is using our own bodies to show us that our allegiance is with satan. There is no “middle ground”, or “gray area” between GOD and satan. GOD “drew the line in the sand” from the beginning, and HE says, “We are either, all the way with HIM, or, we’re all the way against HIM.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

                                           LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website