Ecclesiastes 1:2, 9-10—Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time, which was before us.
Solomon set his heart to find the meaning of life. He tried pleasure of all kinds. He tried to find satisfaction in wealth, in building projects, and in increasing his great wisdom. In the end, he concluded it was meaningless. A million men had come and gone before him, and nothing had changed. He grieved over the fact that those men are not remembered nor would he be. We don’t know what Solomon looked like. We can’t know him personally. All we have are a few pages of history and some of his sayings of wisdom. Is that all there is to life? He had the wisdom to see that everything that is promoted as new is just a different face on an old product. Man still tries to find pleasure in the same things he looked to millenniums ago. He’ll still be seeking the same things tomorrow. What Solomon in all His wisdom did not see was the coming of Jesus. Though the promise was made to his father, and though as the son of David he was a foreshadowing type of Christ, he did not see his descendent would be the Messiah. Could he have said that all is meaningless if he knew God was going to show us how to live and die through the sacrifice that makes us fit for heaven? To seek the things of the world and personal satisfaction is always meaningless. To come into a relationship with your Creator and find His purpose for your existence is filled with eternal significance. Solomon knew we were to fear God and keep His commands, for there would come a day of judgment. What he missed was a deepening daily relationship with that God, which lays up treasures in heaven that do not perish.
Hebrews 11:1-3—Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
Faith, it is a difficult thing to describe. The Bible’s definition is to be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This chapter in Hebrews goes on to give us numerous examples of faith demonstrated in the lives of people in Scripture. The introduction to the chapter says that the possession of this sureness and certainty is what made the lives of the saints commendable. We often think that great deeds done are the reason that God would approve of a life, but this passage says it is the source of the deeds, faith. One could have faith and not have opportunity to express it, such as the thief on the cross next to Jesus. In most cases, faith expresses itself in unusual action that the world considers crazy or worthless. What has your faith motivated you to do that made no sense to the world? What is it motivating you to do today? The first illustration of faith is creation. How was the universe formed? Honest science says there is more than the forces we understand at work. Faith simply reads the Word of God and declares that God said it and it was. Science must declare matter to be eternal for it is a “scientific” fact that nothing comes from nothing. Faith says matter came from the Creator. Which takes more “faith”? If everything you see was formed at God’s command, what does your faith tell you of the hope of sanctification and heaven? Is it any easier for God to speak universes into existence than it is for Him to bring you to heaven perfected in body, soul, and spirit? (1 Thessalonians 5:23) Faith declares, “God said it, and I believe it.” It is being sure of our hope, and certain of what we can’t see. God can finish the work He started, crowning His creation with purified believers.
Prayer: Lord, increase my faith. Help me have the certainty that You will finish the work You started in me.
Hebrews 10:25, 35-36—Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
It is an epidemic in the church today. The worldly attitude of not being bothered has found a place in the hearts of many Christians. Stay at home Christians probably outnumber those that worship together. For many, it began when they were offended by something that happened where they found fellowship. It may have been a pastor that was immoral, an accountant that cheated, or power struggle that got ugly. Instead of realizing that flesh had gained one small victory, they counted the war for encouraging fellowship lost. Instead of striving all the more to make that fellowship strong and safe, they retreat to the comfort and predictability of their home. “I can watch a TV preacher.” It was a problem in the first century also, (minus the TV) because people are prone to sin. Fellowship isn’t safe! Neither is God! God and the fellowship of believers will challenge you, test you, and change you. We need that to grow and mature. Instead of allowing the trials and tests to grow us, we often retreat to our cave and hole up so that our heart won’t be hurt again. That is the way of stagnation. There is a fellowship of believers that needs you, and you need a fellowship of believers. The trials will strengthen and grow you. If you aren’t in a fellowship of believers now, ask yourself why. Don’t throw away your confidence in what God can do in you and through your brothers and sisters in Christ. Stick it out! Pray it through. Be a part of the positive, encouraging transformation of your local fellowship. God has promised to bless you for it. The author of these verses warned us that as we approach the Lord’s return, it is all the more necessary to meet together for encouragement. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. Consider: How can I encourage others where I fellowship?