Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bible Verses I Don't Understand... Can you Help?!?

I was reading Ecclesiastes last night and there were two Scriptures that just didn't sit write .
I can come up with answers but my mind is not Convinced

Ecclesiastes 5:20
19 Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. 20 He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.

In verse 20 below, I don't get why a man would seldom reflect on his days. Aren't memories good and wouldn't this man want to look back and remember the good days? Is the concept of this verse that: when I am 70 I won't wish I was 20 again because I will still be occupied & satisfied with my present work? (Eccl7:10)

Ecclesiastes 7:1b-2

... the day of death better than the day of birth.
2 It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of every man;
the living should take this to heart.

What does he mean here? What is the idea I am supposed to take to heart about death being the destiny of every man? Is he saying it is better to prioritize my time knowing i do not know how long i live instead of live freely like i will never die?

Appreciate any help or thoughts


Jason said...


First, looking at 5:20(NLT)..."People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy." I think it talks about looking into the past, but with joy, because God has given us joy through the years when we accept the work he calls us to. When we are living with joy from God daily, we won't look back with sorrow of our years we lived, but we will use reflection for the joy God brought and the joy yet to come. (Maybe I am off, but that is what I am seeing currently).

Next, the idea of taking heart that death is the destiny of us all. I think what the writer is trying to say is "we all are born, but from birth til death we have choices, we can choose to live daily in a manner that we look forward to death, or we can live in a way that we fear death and what is to come." Say for example that we live knowing death is our destiny, we might be more likely to choose to live with purpose and meaning, which in the end will bring us to how Paul felt (Wanting to die and be with Jesus, or live to continue to teach and preach for the benefit of the people). Maybe it is Solomon speaking more at the end of his life, talking about how he had not thought about death, but instead thought about how he can find pleasure and stuff, but in the end realizing we all die, and we must choose to live for God or to live for ourselves (but either way we die, so we have decisions).

So my ramblings might help or might bring more questions. But I think it brings in a lot of factors that ya have to look at such as when did Solomon write this (end of his life or when), was this his journal to himself reminding him that he doesn't have much time to live (thus dwelling on death and how he used lots of his time searching for love and meaning in everything before turning to God), or is it totally something else.

Anyways, maybe the just the simple answer is "yes spend time at funerals but not to depress yourself, but to remind you that you will die one day, so how will you live? Chasing meaningless things like chasing the wind, or chasing and pursuing God? If we have death or the idea that we will die is our destiny on our mind, how will it shape our life? Our decisions will be based more on how can this thing I do today affect God's eternal kingdom? Or how this or that will affect my life journey with God? Your days begin to be more "Eternal" instead of "Temporal" if you remember that death will happen.

Well don't want to write a book. Let me know if that helped or whatever. Keep Seeking & Keep Livin' the Faith, buddy.

Jason said...

Oh by the way the above comment is from Jason Thomas...Take care Brent.

BJ said...

Hey Brent,

The 5:20 one comes back to the gloss of meaning on "reflect" - the gloss is to look back with regret - its why the NRSV translates it as "brood" and the Amplified as "[remembers] seriously. So its saying the person doesn't have regret because of the overwhelming experience of joy.

I think you're pretty close with the second one - look at the context - its really about living wisely and living foolishly.

Its a tough book as there is so much rhetoric floating around!