I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.”  2 Corinthians 6:18

Ecclesiastes 4-6

Ecclesiastes 4

The Evils of Oppression

>1 Then I returned and saw all the oppression that is taking place under the sun: and the tears of those who were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. 2 Therefore I praised the dead who have been long dead more than the living who are still alive. 3 Yes, better than them both is the one who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun. 4 Then I saw all the labor and achievement that is the envy of a man’s neighbor. This also is worthless striving after wind.

5 The fool folds his hands together and ruins himself. 6 Better is a handful, with quietness, than two handfuls with labor and chasing after wind.

7 Then I returned and saw all the futility under the sun.

8 There is one who is alone, and he has neither son nor brother. There is no end to all of his labor, neither are his eyes satisfied with wealth. “For whom then, do I labor and deprive myself of enjoyment?” This also is futility. Yes, it is a miserable business.

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if one falls, the other will lift him up; but woe to him who is alone when he falls, and doesn’t have another to lift him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one can be overpowered, two can withstand him. A three stranded cord is not easily broken.

The Futility of Power

13 Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive admonition. 14 For out of prison he came out to be king; yes, in his kingdom he was born poor. 15 I saw all the living who walk under the sun, that they were with the youth, the other, who succeeded him. 16 There was no end to all of his followers—yet those who come later will not be pleased with him. Surely this also is worthless chasing after wind.

Ecclesiastes 5

Approaching God with Awe

1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; for to draw near to listen is better than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing wrong. 2 Do not speak rashly, and do not let your heart be hasty to utter anything before God; for God is in heaven, and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. 3 For as dreams come from a multitude of concerns, so a fool’s speech comes with a multitude of words.

4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay that which you vow. 5 It is better that you should not vow, than that you should make a vow and not fulfill it. 6 Do not allow your mouth to lead you into sin. Do not protest to the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your words, and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words, comes much futility, but you must fear God.

Wealth is Meaningless

8 If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violence of injustice and righteousness in a district, do not marvel at the matter, for one official is watched over by a higher one, and there are officials over them. 9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all. The king profits from the field.

10 He who loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase: this also is futility. 11 When goods increase, those who consume them are increased; and what advantage is there to its owner, except to feast on them with his eyes?

12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much; but the abundance of the rich will not allow him to sleep.

13 There is a grievous tragedy which I have seen under the sun: wealth hoarded by its owner to his harm. 14 Those riches perish by misfortune, and if he has fathered a son, there is nothing to hand down to him. 15 As he came out of his mother’s womb, naked shall he go again as he came, and shall take nothing in hand to carry away for all his labor. 16 This also is a grievous tragedy, that in all points as he came, so shall he go. And what profit does he have who labors for the wind? 17 All his days he also eats in darkness, he is frustrated, and has sickness and wrath.

18 That which I have seen to be good and proper is for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy good in all his labor, in which he toils under the sun, all the days of his life which God has given him; for this is his portion. 19 Every man also to whom God has given riches and wealth, and has given him power to eat of it, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. 20 For he shall not often reflect on the days of his life; because God occupies him with the joy of his heart.

Ecclesiastes 6

The Futility of Life

1 There is a tragedy which I have seen under the sun, and it is heavy on men: 2 a man to whom God gives riches, wealth, and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all that he desires, yet God gives him no power to enjoy it, but a stranger enjoys it. This is vanity, and it is a grievous tragedy.

3 If a man fathers a hundred children, and lives many years, yet regardless of how long he lives, he cannot find satisfaction in the good things in life, and does not even have a proper burial; I say, that a stillborn child is better than he: 4 for he comes in futility, and departs in darkness, and his name is covered with darkness. 5 Though the stillborn child has not seen the sun nor known of it, yet he has more peace than the other. 6 Yes, though he live a thousand years twice over, and yet fails to enjoy good things, don’t all go to one place?

7 All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet his appetite is never satisfied. 8 For what advantage has the wise more than the fool? What has the poor man, that knows how to walk before the living? 9 Better to enjoy what the eyes can see than to hope in wandering desires. This also is vanity and torment to the spirit.

10 Whatever has taken place, it was named long ago; and the destiny of man is foreknown; yet he cannot contend with one who is mightier than he. 11 As words increase, meaning decreases.  What does that profit a man? 12 For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his futile life which he spends like a shadow? For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?

2 Corinthians 6:14-7:7

Do Not Be Unequally Yoked

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship do righteousness and iniquity have? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 15 What agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what portion does a believer have with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are a temple of the living God. Even as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk in them. I will be their God and they will be my people.” 17 Therefore,

“ ‘Come out from among them,
and be separate,’ says the Lord.
‘Touch no unclean thing.
I will receive you.  18 I will be to you a Father.
You will be to me sons and daughters,’
says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 7

Paul’s Joy in the Corinthians

1 Having therefore these promises, beloved, let’s cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

2 Open your hearts to us. We wronged no one. We corrupted no one. We took advantage of no one. 3 I say this not to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts to die together and live together. 4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you. Great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I overflow with joy in all our affliction.

5 For even when we had come into Macedonia, our flesh had no relief, but we were afflicted on every side. Fightings were outside. Fear was inside. 6 Nevertheless, he who comforts the lowly, God, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you while he told us of your longing, your mourning, and your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more.

Psalm 47

Clap Your Hands All You Peoples

For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by the sons of Korah.
1 Oh clap your hands, all you nations.
Shout to God with the voice of triumph!

2 For the Lord Most High is awesome.
He is a great King over all the earth.

3 He subdues nations under us,
and peoples under our feet.

4 He chooses our inheritance for us,
the glory of Jacob whom he loved.
Selah.

5 God has ascended with a shout of joy,
the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.

6 Sing praises to God! Sing praises!
Sing praises to our King! Sing praises!

7 For God is the King of all the earth.
Sing praises with understanding.

8 God reigns over the nations.
God sits on his holy throne.

9 The princes of the peoples are gathered together,
the people of the God of Abraham.
For the leaders of the earth belong to God.
He is greatly exalted!

Proverbs 22:16

16 Whoever oppresses the poor for his own increase
and whoever gives to the rich,
both come to poverty.

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