May 5, 2024


Ecclesiastes 9:7-12 - Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.


In Ecclesiastes 9:7-12, the Preacher encourages us to find joy in the simple things of life, even amidst the vanity and meaninglessness that can characterize our earthly existence. He exhorts us to eat our bread with joy, drink our wine with a merry heart, and enjoy life with the spouse we love. The Preacher recognizes that God has already approved of us finding contentment and pleasure in the fruit of our labor. At the same time, the Preacher acknowledges the harsh realities and inequities of life under the sun. The race is not always won by the swift, nor the battle by the strong. Time and chance happen to us all, and we do not know what misfortune may suddenly fall upon us. The wise, intelligent and skillful are not guaranteed success or favor. Yet in light of life's unpredictability and ultimate vanity, the Preacher does not counsel despair, but rather to seize the day and appreciate the good gifts God gives us. We are to wear festive white garments, anoint our head with oil, and do whatever our hand finds to do with all our might. For there is no work or wisdom in the grave where we are all headed. The Preacher's perspective is not a call to hedonism or mindless revelry, but to receive each day, both its joys and sorrows, as from the hand of God. We live life to the full, not because this world is all there is, but because we trust the One who is sovereign over it all. Biblical joy is not dependent on circumstances, but flows from walking with God and gratefully accepting the portion He assigns to us in this life under the sun.


The words of the Preacher in Ecclesiastes 9 strike a chord in my heart. How often do I get so caught up in the rat race of life, striving and toiling as if everything depended on my own efforts! The world tells me that success is achieved through being the fastest, strongest, wisest or most skilled. But the Preacher reminds me that ultimately, the race is not always to the swift. Time and chance happen to us all, and we cannot control the sudden misfortunes that may come our way. And yet, the Preacher does not leave me wallowing in cynicism or despair. Rather, he points me to a better way - the way of receiving each day as a gift from God's hand. The simple joys of eating bread, drinking wine, and loving my spouse are not meaningless trivialities, but opportunities to glorify the One who gave them. When I wear festive clothing and anoint my head with oil, I declare that the joy of the Lord is my strength, even amidst life's vanities. The Preacher also challenges me to do whatever my hand finds to do with all my might. This is not a call to frenetic activity or workaholic striving, but to faithful stewardship of the talents, resources and opportunities God grants me. I may not be the swiftest, strongest or most intelligent, but I can still serve God wholeheartedly in whatever He calls me to do. For I know that my labor in the Lord is never in vain. At the same time, the Preacher sobers me with the reminder that my days on earth are numbered. There is no work or wisdom in the grave. So I must not put off pursuing joy in God or serving Him until some distant tomorrow. I am to seize the day, living each moment in light of eternity. Ultimately, the joy that the Preacher commends is not a superficial, circumstantial happiness, but a deep abiding delight in God that transcends life's ups and downs. It is the joy of knowing that my life is hidden with Christ, and that He is working all things together for my good and His glory. No matter what chances and changes come my way, I can rejoice in the unshakeable love and sovereignty of my heavenly Father. So I am inspired by the Preacher's words to live with holy abandon, enjoying the good gifts God gives me and investing my time, talents and resources in His eternal kingdom. I want to be like the wise virgins in Jesus' parable, keeping my lamp burning brightly until the Bridegroom returns. And when that great day comes, I know I will enter into the boundless joy of my Master, which will make all the vanities of this life fade away in the light of His glorious presence.


Heavenly Father, Thank You for the gift of joy that cannot be taken away by the vanities of this world. Even when life under the sun feels meaningless or unfair, I know that You are always good and Your steadfast love endures forever. Help me to enjoy the simple blessings You give me each day - the bread on my table, the love of family and friends, the good work of my hands. May I receive them all with a grateful heart as gifts from Your hand. Teach me to number my days and live with eternity in view. I want to invest my time, talents and resources into Your eternal kingdom. Help me to do whatever my hand finds to do with all my might, as an act of worship to You. When sudden trials or misfortunes come my way, anchor my heart in Your sovereign love. Remind me that my life is hidden with Christ, and that nothing can separate me from Your love. May Your joy be my strength, even in the darkest valleys. Thank You that because of Jesus, I have a living hope beyond the vanities of this world. Keep me faithful and abiding in Him until that great day when faith becomes sight. And may my life be a fragrant offering of praise to You until then. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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Bask in life's simple joys, hand in hand with the one you love.

Bask in life's simple joys, hand in hand with the one you love.

This image was generated by AI from the devotion text.