Thursday, September 14, 2017


Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 
(Ecc 7:16-17)

Remember 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" . . .  
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. 
(Ecc 12:1, 13-14)

I am amazed at the lengths to which some normally excellent commentators go to transform Solomon's (or his ghost writer's) worldly conclusions in 7:16-17 into spiritual advice.  These are the Preacher's musings about the futility of life in this world.  They should not be taken as divine directives.  His views are limited to life "under the sun," and only occasionally does the thought of God's judgment and reward steal into his reasoning.  There is edification in seeing the book as a whole and remembering the Preacher's conclusion in 12:1, 13-14.  The big message is this: If we look at life in our fallen world from a temporal perspective, it is only emptiness and futility, not worth living.  But when we look at our lives in light of the Creator's purpose for us, in light of eternal, spiritual values, our lives have purpose and satisfaction. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


Exodus 34:30-35
Moses' authority as spiritual leader derived from his intimate relationship and communication with God, which resulted in the divine glow on his face. This reflected glory did not last, but faded until Moses' next encounter with the LORD. Hence, the Apostle Paul noted to the Corinthian church that Moses "used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away" (2 Cor. 3:13). In the context of Exodus we may infer that the only glory the people were to see was the reflected glory of God, not any human glory in Moses himself. And the only authority Moses had was derived from his communion with God.
By way of application, every minister of Christ today should ask himself, "Do people catch a glimpse of the glory of the Lord when I stand in the pulpit and expound His Word?" If not, what is lacking in my on communion with God?  
In the Apostle Paul's  analogy, though, Moses is representative of the Old Covenant. The glory of the Old Covenant, which Paul calls "the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones" (2 Cor. 3:7), was a fading glory. It was glorious because it reflected God's holiness and righteousness; it was fading because of Israel's disobedience. God's purpose in forming a holy people of His own would be fulfilled in the New Covenant through the sacrifice of His Son and the work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers. That glory, "the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6), will not fade away.