Bible Cliff’s Notes (My dog ate my Bible!)
A poem of lament of sorts, spoken on God’s behalf. God is mourning the fact that the people of Israel continue to turn their backs on God, despite being delivered from Egyptian bondage and being sustained and nourished during the exodus. Instead, they worship pagan Gods and are inclined toward violence. Despite God’s disappointment, there is a vow not to strike out in anger, but to keep calling out to God’s children. Regardless, the consequence of their actions will likely be that they will be delivered again into bondage at the hand of Egypt.
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23
The author laments the apparent vanity of life. Why work, simply to pass on the spoils of one’s labor to another generation, which could very well be made up of screw-ups? In the end, all of the hard work – mental and physical – add up to little or nothing, which causes the author no small amount of despair.
Psalm 107:1-9, 43
A hymn of thanksgiving to God for providing for the deepest needs of God’s faithful. When they seek it, God offers them peace, and a sense of contentment that is unmatched by any earthly fulfillment.
This psalm speaks in a strangely roundabout way of the preciousness of life. One can’t work enough or amass enough wealth to justify the gift of life we’re given by God; it’s priceless. Brilliant minds and idiots all die in the end, so clearly, wisdom isn’t the key to eternal life. Our bodies all become worm food.
Paul calls on the church members in Colossae to set aside the longings which are bound to earthly things that tend to occupy our lives – like greed, sexual appetite, anger, vengeance, etc – and to enshroud oneself in a new skin, one stitched for us by Christ. It is a sort of living death-and-resurrection experience to which Paul calls the early Christians.
Jesus is approached by brothers to settle a dispute over an inheritance. He warns that material wealth doesn’t make for a rich life. He tells the parable of the farmer who stores up grains in great barns. Just as he gets to a place of wealth and comfort, God calls him out, saying he’s about to die, so what was the point? The warning is that a life spent storing material treasures, but not dwelling in the richness of the spirit will have lived a life of vanity.
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