on Ecclesiastes

Things go on, but round and round, –        ch.1&2
seasons, winds, and daily grind:
nothing purposeful in life,
emptiness and sin and strife:

life on earth can’t make things straight,
for a better world we wait.
Path to heaven is onward, sure,  –
certain goal, which will endure.

Education, work and pleasure,
cannot find a lasting treasure;
enjoy the gifts that God will give,
working daily where we live;
God gives present satisfaction,
and a hope of resurrection.

Time like this, and time like that,        ch.3:1-15
busy days, then life feels flat,
times of happiness, or tears,
successful times, but sometimes fears,
times of war, and years of peace,
times of tension or release:
many a bright, exciting scheme
soon collapses, – passing dream.

God’s work truly will endure,
and eternity is sure;
fearing him, we cannot fathom
all his ways, and coming kingdom;
see the beauty that he made,
skill, and righteousness displayed;
toil, do good, be unafraid.

Injustice saddens, God will bring        ch.3:16-4:3
righteous judgement, but till then
death appears a futile end;
but, in faith, we look beyond, –
eternal glimpses comprehend.

Laziness will lead to  need,            ch.4:4-8
foolish as the grabbing greed
of the covetous, exhausted,
chasing selfish visions, thwarted;
those who serve in steady labour,
tranquility, contentment savour.

Many want to stand alone;            ch.4:9-12
– when they fall, no friend to come,
giving help, or cheer, support,
loyalty which can’t be bought.

Those who rise to leadership,            ch.4:13-16
with authority, and fame,
while they’re wise may stay, but fickle
popularity can wane.

God is great, he placed us here.        ch.5:1-7
Come to him, and heed with care:
hastiness in heart and tongue, promises,
but leaves undone:
give attention to your God,
not distracted from his Word.

Poor people are passed by,            ch.5:8,9
and ignored, officials eye
their reward,
and do not always take on board
kindness to those poor, in need, –
more concerned for their own greed.

Love of money, – never enough!        ch.5:10-17
life frustrating, dark, and tough!
the more it comes, the more it goes,
where? so often no-one knows!
Proud to own, but no real gain,
little peace and rest, much pain.
Sometimes suddenly it’s lost,
sometimes gained at harmful cost.
All is left here when we die:
work and sleep in peace each day.

Enjoy the gifts that God will give,       ch.5:18-20
happy working where you live;
wisdom will be satisfied,
and in thankful trust abide.
Wealth from God used faithfully
keeps us busy, joyfully.

Material life is mere vanity,            ch.6:1-12
unless we’ve joy in our prosperity
(which God can give);
and even if in poverty,
we know the better end to come,
cessation of futility,
the troubled round under this sun.

Crackling laughter, empty, shallow;       ch.7:1-6
learning more from touch of sorrow;
realisitically hear
wise rebukes, to help prepare
for the day of death ahead;
dont just fill your hearts with merry
songs of thoughtless, idle folly.

Bribes are foolish, cause corruption,        ch.7:7-14
never practice cruel oppression.
See how things develop,  patient,
no regrets from false assessment
of the past, – as though perfection;

slow to anger, using wisdom
to live now, for God is sovereign:
trust him when the times are hard;
when they’re good, give thanks, be glad.

Determination to appear,           ch.7:15-18
perfect to those walking near,
is destructive, but revere
God, and humbly, wisely steer
clear away from  wickedness,
but avoid proud righteousness.

My words, yours, may fail, be foolish;       ch.7:19-22
wisdom true is powerful, precious.

Men search their own ideas and schemes,
they cannot find what all this means
with hearts not right, far from his light.

Christ’s wisdom we can read, by grace:
it softens, cheers our heart and face.

2 kinds of women!
An oily tongue,               ch.7:26 (&Prov.5:3-5 etc.)
a trap is sprung,
and chains take hold:
a sad tale told,
of hopes destroyed,
ambitions void.

[Tongue wise and kind, (cf. Prov. 12:4;31:10,26,30 etc.)
from godly mind
by God’s Word taught
to help, support:
no shame, much praise,
and joyful days.]

God wills we honour well the king       ch.8:2-8
not quick to argue, not that they
have power to make the wind obey,
or plan their time of death, nor free
from wicked actions’ slavery.

How vain it seems when bad men flourish,    ch.8:9-15
but in the end, their days will perish,
– and those who live in godly reverence
will know a better recompense.

Enjoy the gifts that God will give,
happy working where you live;
diligent and satisfied;
as you work, joy will abide

This world’s vanity won’t last,           ch.8:16-9:10
– opportunities soon past
for doing good, and working hard;
so while your earthly life is spared,
value comforts God has given,
waiting for his lasting heaven.

Weak, imperfect is our skill, –            ch.9:11,12
chance can seem to bring us ill
but still
God knows all, and works his will.

Quiet wisdom – greater value           ch.9:13-18
than the shouting words of fame,
and of greater help than weapons;
but we later look in vain
for remembrance of the wise:
wisdom’s words men soon despise.

Sin does so much harm, pollution,        ch.10:1-3
staining good, brings much destruction.

Foolish heart guides foolishly,
foolish actions all can see;
Wisdom in your heart will strengthen,
do not let contamination
from foul folly spoil your wisdom.

Don’t be quick to answer back,            ch.10:4-7
when those over you attack
verbally, and tell you off
unfairly, don’t you, in a huff
march away; keep calm instead, –
which may cool the hotter head.

Sometimes someone comes to rule,
soon revealing he’s a fool.

Every task we undertake,           ch.10:8-11
can have dangers, don’t mistake,
and assume you do not need
care, and vigilence, and speed –
prompt, not hasty – also pray,
God’s protection day by day.

Babbling tongues deceive, are rash,         ch10:12-15
cause their empty head to crash.
Gracious words wise men impart.
Empty head and graceless heart
cannot guide, and dislikes work,
so is much inclined to shirk.

A lazy builder, a lazy ruler;           ch.10:16-20
a leaking house, a nation poorer;
money useful, – never wise
money overly to prize.
Dont despise, or voice distaste
of the famous: in your haste,
you may find you have been heard,
and it was an unwise word.

Do good when you can,           ch.11:1-6
but don’t try to decide
too surely the outcome;
God does not confide
the consequence and future
of all that you do;
in all ways of  service,
be generous too.

Enjoy the good times God will give,       ch.11:7-10
your youth, strength, as you daily live;
but don’t forget judgement to come,
your youth will will pass, put off temptation;
your heart at peace in God’s salvation.

Remember, remember, – before all the calls,   ch.12:1-8
the troubles, distractions, when weariness falls
to keep you forgetting ’til to dust you return,
and meet with your Maker;

while still you are young,
remember him, fear Him for all else is vain,
crumbling and ceasing,
devoid of all meaning.

The Preacher sought out knowledge,         ch.12:9-14
true words, like goads to prod
to better, wiser living –
refining words of God:
words of the Shepherd, Saviour,
words all-sufficient, true,
beware of folly new:
the Judge sees all that’s hidden,
so fear him with all reverence,
your duty is obedience,
blest duty, all complete.