Reading through the Bible together

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

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For some it might seem that God is dealing harshly with those who have “gone and served other gods and worshiped them.” And yet, such dealings must be understood in the context of the covenant Israel had with God. Other parts of the Bible clearly balance the picture of what God is really like. Furthermore, God institutes checks and balances like, “two or three witnesses” (v6) and the help of priests and Levites (v9). But don’t miss verse 9, “according to the sentence of the law.” All judgments must be clearly based on the written laws of God.

The last part of the chapter deals with laws for kings. The human system of having kings was never God's plan but these simple laws would protect Israel from the worst effects of kingship. God’s instruction to the king was: Don't multiply (accumulate) horses, wives, and gold. Solomon's reign was the golden era of the monarchy, but he yielded to multiplying all three and history records the depths to which he fell.

Yet when he was a tired old foolish king, God came to Solomon and asked him to write the book of Ecclesiastes. Granted, there are some negative elements throughout the book but nothing is more impressive than the picture of God it leaves with us, a God who never holds our past disorderly living against us. He still loves us and will work with us to make us more obedient.

John Ash
Chinese Union Mission
Hong Kong