Friday, August 27, 2010

Only Schemes

24 As for that which is far off and exceedingly deep,
Who can find it out?
25 I applied my heart to know,
To search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things,
To know the wickedness of folly,
Even of foolishness and madness.
26 And I find more bitter than death
The woman whose heart is snares and nets,
Whose hands are fetters.
He who pleases God shall escape from her,
But the sinner shall be trapped by her.
27 “ Here is what I have found,” says the Preacher,

Adding one thing to the other to find out the reason,
28 Which my soul still seeks but I cannot find:
One man among a thousand I have found,
But a woman among all these I have not found.
29 Truly, this only I have found:
That God made man upright,
But they have sought out many schemes.”
(Ecclesiastes 7:24-29, New King James Version)

Only Schemes

Our Scripture today from Ecclesiastes 7 is a rather sad commentary on the state of man. In Solomon's search for those who fear the Lord he was greatly disheartened.

Truly, this only I have found:
That God made man upright,
But they have sought out many schemes.

In our world of millions of churches, do you think the results would be similar? Considering the population of the world, do you think one in every thousand is a true believer? We have close to 7,000,000,000 people in our world today. According to Solomon's estimates that would leave about 7,000,000 true saints.

I would like to believe that there are certainly more believers than that in our world today. I believe that Christ's birth, death, and resurrection opened the world's understanding of God. In the early church's spread of the Gospel, continuing to this day, I hope the numbers would be much greater.

What about Solomon's view of women expressed in this passage. Are their women today who trap men with their snares and nets? Yes, we certainly cannot deny that. What about Solomon's inability to find one righteous woman in 1,000?

I do not have any concrete answers, but I would pose the question, considering that Solomon was the king of the land, and considering the position of women in that day, what type of women surrounded Solomon? We know, too, that Solomon had over 1,000 wives, and even more concubines, so obviously, the women he was exposed to in his lifetime were not the same as today's average woman.

I do not believe that the issue today is one of numbers, i.e. men versus women. We know that both men and women are called to Christ. We also know that in countries which have been strongly influenced by Christianity, the status of women has improved greatly. Women are no longer just property, relegated to the level of one's animals.

In conclusion, how thankful we must be when we see the great changes in mankind that have come about through the spread of the Gospel. We know that the times are evil, and yes, man often has only schemes. We know, too, that the end of time is near. By God's grace, let us use the precious time we have to spread the Gospel to those in our own little world.

As Jim Elliot, a Christian martyr, once said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

God Bless You,

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