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Thursday, February 2, 2017
What’s the Occasion? Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotional 2 February Thursday
Four-year-old Asher’s gleeful face peeked out from beneath his favorite hooded sweatshirt. His alligator-head hooded sweatshirt, complete with plush jaws that seemed to swallow his head! His mom’s heart sank. She wanted the family to make a good impression as they visited a family they hadn’t seen in a long time.
“Oh, Hon,” she said, “that may not be appropriate for the occasion.”
“Hmm, and what occasion might that be?” she asked. Asher replied, “You know. Life!” He got to wear the shirt.
That joyful boy already grasps the truth of Ecclesiastes 3:12—“There is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.” Ecclesiastes can seem depressing and is often misunderstood because it’s written from a human perspective, not God’s. The writer, King Solomon, asked, “What do workers gain from their toil?” (v. 9). Yet throughout the book we catch glimpses of hope. Solomon also wrote: “That each of [us] may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all [our] toil—this is the gift of God” (v. 13).
We serve a God who gives us good things to enjoy. Everything He does “will endure forever” (v. 14). As we acknowledge Him and follow His loving commands, He infuses our lives with purpose, meaning, and joy.
Restore to us childlike joy that appreciates Your good gifts.
The Lord who made you wants you to make Him the center of your life.
Ecclesiastes fits in a larger Ancient Near Eastern literary category called Wisdom Literature. Wisdom Literature uses stories, poetry, proverbial sayings, and songs to convey wisdom about God and the world. The brutal honesty and chronic despair in Ecclesiastes is typical of Wisdom Literature and gives us a clear vision of the writer’s purpose. What may seem like a disconnect with the rest of Scripture is actually an attempt to present the wisdom of living in the moment, enjoying the small joys of life, and relying on the power, presence, and goodness of God to sustain us in a fallen and broken world. Even in the harshness of this life, there is hope. God can and does give meaning and purpose to the meaninglessness that surrounds us.