Yesterday I began an independent study on A Woman of Contentment, by Dee Brestin. The scripture she uses is Ecclesiastes, which I thought was a strange book for a study on contentment. Have you ever read the book of Ecclesiastes? The author is extremely bummed out and discontented! I have always totally related with the book of Ecclesiastes, but I must caution that I don't recommend reading it while in the middle of depression. It just isn't a pick-me-up kind of book. Well, my first lesson was already an eye opener (I love it when that happens!). Have you ever thought that you knew all the answers already when it came to certain parts of the Bible? Well, that's how I am a lot (don't know why - I'm always proved wrong - but that's a good thing). So Solomon is the son of King David. David encourages his son to always keep God's statues and laws so that Solomon will prosper and so that God will keep His promise to David about always keeping someone from his lineage on the throne. Solomon becomes king and it says that he does walk according to God's statues except that he offers sacrifices at the high places (there was no temple to offer sacrifices in at that time). The word "except" makes me think that this wasn't such a good thing. Also, in I Kings 3:1, Solomon marries a woman from Egypt, the Pharoah's daughter, which was against God's statues (marrying foreigners was prohibited because of their idol worship). Well, God appears to Solomon in a dream and asks him what he would like to have. Solomon asks God for "a discerning heart to govern his people" (I Kings 3:8-9). This phrase is used a couple of times in the NIV Bible that I read. What stood out to me was the part "to govern his people". So, does this mean that Solomon was wise when it came to judicial matters but not so wise when it came to matters of the heart and his personal desires? Because as you know later on he ends up with 700 wives, and numerous concubines (I Kings 11:1-6)! Now, if you ask me, that's not wise for any man! I mean come on - can you imagine having that many women around who will always want something from you? So, I wonder if Solomon was wise when it came to politics but, well, NOT, when it came to personal matters. So how does this help me with contentment? The questions given to help me apply this to my life were:
- As you reflect on your life with all its God-given blessings and wisdom, is there any area where you feel you have failed significantly? Of course I had an answer, but I'll keep it to myself. :)
- How might the Lord still bring beauty out of the ashes of your failure? Again, I'll keep my answer personal.
I thought you might want to reflect on those questions for yourself. Also, here's the memory verse I'm supposed to be working on for the next two weeks. I'll type it here so that it'll help me.
"I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun." Eccl. 2:10-11
Disclaimer: I wrote this rather quickly because I need to go plant my garden, so if some of it doesn't make sense, I apologize. Just point it out to me and I'll try to clear it up later. Thanks.