Memory Text — Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 (over the next 3 weeks): 18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
Heidelberg Catechism 28 What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by his providence does still uphold all things? That we may be patient in adversity; thankful in prosperity; and that in all things, which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from his love; since all creatures are so in his hand, that without his will they cannot so much as move.
Monday: Eccles 7:14 says God has made the day of adversity. How do 6:10-11 press man’s inability in adversity (Is 45:9, Job 34:37, 38:2)? What is the first question in Ecclesiastes 6:12? What is the expected answer? What is your initial response to adversity/hardship? What answer is given in 7:1-14 (note the “betters”, literally “more good”)?
Tuesday: Read Eccles 7:1-4 looking for ways you and our culture typically escape or avoid adversity. Why might considering our mortality be more useful than covering misery with laughter (e.g. Ps 90:12)? How will “Taking to heart” (v 2) your death shape your view of your life, purpose, priorities, and what you do/think today (Mt 5:4, 1 Thess 5:4-11)?
Wednesday: Eccles 7:5-6. What is the contrast getting at in v 5? Why do we favor comedy and soothing/sympathetic words when things are hard? What might we miss out on if we go there (Heb 12:5-11, esp 11, Prov 17:10, 27:5f)? Imagine heating your house with thorny vines (v 6). How useful and long-lasting are the fools’ light words in adversity? Has humor no place?
Thursday: What 3 typical responses to misery, adversity, and hard situations do you find in Eccles 7:8-10? What does each reveal about our heart? What is God often doing through adversity/tough times (Rom 5:3-5, James 1:2-5, 19-21)? How does this change your perspective on and prayers in tough times?
Friday: Read Eccles 7:13-14. How does knowing that God has a sovereign purpose in the crooked/painful days help you (Rom 8:31–39)? How does knowing the Christ who himself was well acquainted with misery, suffering, sorrow, and the crooked cross help you when you don’t know why painful stuff is happening?
Saturday: Pray in light of 2 Tim 3:16-17 for tomorrow’s worship service.