Day 183

by Rev Joel Yong

Ecclesiastes 9:14-16
There was a small town with a few soldiers in it, and a powerful king came to attack it. He surrounded it and blockaded it. A poor, wise person was found in that town. He saved the town using his wisdom. But no one remembered that poor person. So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength,” even though that poor person’s wisdom was despised, and no one listened to what he said.

This story that Solomon mentions here, is not random or fictional.
It’s found here-

2 Samuel 20:16-22
Then a clever woman called from the city, “Listen, listen! Tell Joab to come here so that I can talk to him.” He came near, and she asked, “Are you Joab?” “I am,” he answered. “Listen to what I have to say,” she told him. “I’m listening,” he answered. So she said, “There’s an old saying: ‘Be sure to ask at Abel before doing anything. That’s the way they settle matters.’ We are peaceful and faithful Israelites. Are you trying to destroy a mother city in Israel? Why should you swallow up what belongs to the LORD?” Joab answered, “That’s unthinkable! I don’t wish to swallow it up or destroy it. That isn’t the case. A man from the mountains of Ephraim by the name of Sheba, son of Bichri, has rebelled against King David. Give him to me, and I’ll withdraw from the city.” “That’s fine,” the woman told Joab. “His head will be thrown to you from the wall.” Then the woman went to all the people with her clever plan. They cut off Sheba’s head and threw it to Joab. He blew the ram’s horn, and everyone scattered and withdrew from the city and went home. Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem.

The point is this- though no one may remember a person’s wisdom, its a better quality than brute strength.
Wisdom can solve seemingly deadlocked situations.

Pursue wisdom over all.

People learn, really, by 1 of 2 ways.
Wisdom or Consequence.

We learn by consequence when we make a mistake and a bad consequence happens and they learn from the hurt they experience.

But a wise person learns by watching others make mistakes and suffer the consequences and the wise person takes notes and himself avoids making the same mistake. Thus he learns without having to suffer the consequences himself.

That, is wisdom.
Choose to be wise.

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Day 182

by Rev Joel Yong

Ecclesiastes 8:14
There is something being done on earth that is pointless. Righteous people suffer for what the wicked do, and wicked people get what the righteous deserve. I say that even this is pointless.

Hands up if you have seen this happen before.
People either don’t get what they deserve, or get what they don’t deserve!

Weird ain’t it?
Something deep within us tells us that is not right.
People who labor for something should be rewarded.
Evil people should be punished.

What if … this is not the place for us to experience that?
What if the place where we experience justice and rightness is not this world?

And the reason why we notice the above injustices, is because this world is BROKEN.
Would that cause you to live for a greater cause than this life alone?
Would that make you seek meaning outside of this world and this lifespan?

Think about it for a while …

Bonus

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Genesis 18:16 – 19:38, Psalms 4:1-8

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Genesis 19:29
And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.

REFLECT
Abraham must be one of the best uncles in the world. He gave Lot the best of land in Canaan, rescued him from invading armies, and prayed for him when God was about to destroy Sodom. What has Lot done to deserve this? Nothing. Abraham understood the meaning of family, and of grace. The Lord, in turn, honoured Abraham’s faith, and spared Lot from death.

RELATE
I don’t know how this works, but my faithfulness to God has a direct bearing on those around me, especially my loved ones. It is as though the blessings of God upon me can’t help but be leaked to my neighbours. What a joy to know that when I seek God, His favour rests not only upon me, but also upon those I care for. That’s what “bonus” really means!

REST
Lord, help me to live such a life of righteousness, that Your salvation will come upon my family, my friends, and even my enemies.

Day 181

by Rev Joel Yong

Ecclesiastes 7:14
When times are good, be happy. But when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one time as well as the other so that mortals cannot predict their future.

Life has its seasons.
Thus it’s important that we remember that the present is no predictor of the future.

We ought to look to God always as only He knows what tomorrow holds.
There is nothing greater to celebrate than to celebrate God’s willingness to call us “His people”.

Day 180

by Rev Joel Yong

Ecclesiastes 6:6
Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to the one place?

A major theme in Solomon’s writing in Ecclesiastes is that of “it all ends up dead”.

People can accumulate resources and achievements and end up dead and unable to take it all with them.

They might think they are accumulating it for the next generation to inherit but it can all be taken away either by external conditions (such as war or economic collapse) or internal conditions (a fool inheriting a fortune, that is- and losing it very quickly).

There are no guarantees except death.
That is the surest thing that happens to us all.

So our life is futile if it’s about resource accumulation or achievements under our belt.
In the brief 7 to 9 decades that we live in our lifetime- what then is constitutes a meaningful pursuit?
Surely there must be something achievable in these few years that has lasting power and meaning- or else human life is a cruel joke.

Solomon says YES, there is.
The achievable pursuit, that has lasting power – is the pursuit of God.
7 or 9 decades are not too long- for one to learn to walk with God into the eternity beyond the milestone of physical death.

Day 179

by Rev Joel Yong

Ecclesiastes 5:8
Don’t be surprised if you see poor people being oppressed, denied justice, or denied their rights in any district. One authority is watching over another, and they both have authorities watching over them.

Corruption in the governing authorities leads to injustice growing rampant in the land. In the end, the poor suffer because they have little to offer corrupt officials.

While I thank God that I live in a nation whereby our strict laws ensure that corruption does not get to thrive – I am mindful of other nations whereby corruption is rife and many are suffering injustices dealt by a corrupt system.

But I find relief in knowing that above corrupt officials – there is a God who is watching and He loves us and will hold them accountable even if it seems that momentarily they are getting away.

Day 178

by Rev Joel Yong

Ecclesiastes 4:1-3
Next, I turned to look at all the acts of oppression that make people suffer under the sun. Look at the tears of those who suffer! No one can comfort them. Their oppressors have all the power. No one can comfort those who suffer. I congratulate the dead, who have already died, rather than the living, who still have to carry on. But the person who hasn’t been born yet is better off than both of them. He hasn’t seen the evil that is done under the sun.

Solomon writes of suffering at the hands of oppressors.
Instead of saying “You survived!” – he thinks it’s better to say “Glad he is dead and need not suffer like us!”

When hope seems gone and there is no hope of relief or salvation from the present trouble we are in- then it seems better not to exist – either not be born at all, or wish that one’s life were already over.

But in Jesus, we have an endless hope.
With Jesus, there is no such thing as a hopeless end.

He is the Almighty and being all-powerful He can work out the best for us, even from our present limitations and trouble we are in.
He is also all-loving and genuinely desires the best for us!
Jesus CAN and WILL help us in our present troubles!

There is hope when all seems bleak!
Life need not be a living Hell- Jesus came that we might have hope – hope that is eternal.