We are to place value on the most important things. God places the highest value on our salvation (1 Corinthians 6:19). Those who share God’s values will ask for “wisdom and knowledge” (2 Chronicles 1:10), and “not … for wealth, riches or honour …. “ (2 Chronicles 1:11). We are to think the thoughts of God, and not “the thoughts of man” which are “futile” (Psalm 94:11).
“I know that everything God does will endure for ever” (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
In the constant flux of life in this world, here we have something which must never be forgotten. There are many circumstances in life which are confusing – “How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:16). In the face of life’s confusing circumstances, there will be times when we will say, “My foot is slipping.” In times like these, we must learn to say, “Your love, O Lord, supported me” (Psalm 94:18).
“Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
This is the world’s way. The Lord’s way is a better way. We are to “use the things of the world” without being “engrossed in them” (1 Corinthians 7:31). What we must remember is this: “The fear of the Lord leads to life; Then one rests content, untouched by trouble” (Proverbs 19:23). When our relationship with the Lord is the most important thing in life, we do not get unduly anxious about how things are going, in terms of material prosperity.
“Do not be over-righteous, neither be overwise” (Ecclesiastes 7:16). This is not a protest against wisdom and righteousness. It is telling us that, in our wisdom and righteousness, we must not become proud like the Pharisees. “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). Without love, everything else is nothing. We must never forget this. “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Psalm 95:7-8). Where our wisdom (or knowledge) and righteousness become centred on ourselves – ‘How wise and righteous I have become’, we have closed our hearts to God. Listen to God. Learn from Him. Live for Him. Real wisdom has nothing to do with self-centredness. It’s all about learning to be Christ-centred. Real wisdom leads to true righteousness. It’s about learning to become like Jesus. We look to Him and we learn to live for Him.
“Here is the conclusion of the matter: “Fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). There are many matters which are secondary. Living in accordance with the Gospel is the all-important thing: “We put up with anything rather than hinder the Gospel of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:12). “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods” (Psalm 96:4). The fear of the Lord is directly related to worshipping Him. To fear the Lord is not to cower away from Him. It is to come to Him in worship. Together with the fear of the Lord, there is rejoicing in Him (Psalm 96:11).
Worship and witness belong together. The building of the Temple speaks to us of the priority of worship. Before we can become witnesses, we must be worshippers. The ministry of Paul speaks to us of witness: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). Both our worship and our witness are to be filled with joy: “Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise His holy Name” (Psalm 97:12).
“The glory of the Lord filled the Temple of God” (2 Chronicles 5:14). There is glory among God’s people when He answers their prayers (2 Chronicles 6:40-42 and 2 Chronicles 7:1-3). All that we do is to be done “for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). This includes our life in the Church – our participation in the blood of Christ …. and the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:16). It also includes our life in the world – “If some unbeliever invites you to a meal …” (1 Corinthians 10:27). “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5). Our hearts are searched by the Word of the Lord and through faith, which leads to understanding, we learn to glorify God.
Worship lies at the heart of the Christian life. If the blessing of God is to come upon His people, there must be the gathering together of the His people for worship. In calling His people to prayer, God says this: “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place” (2 Chronicles 7:15). In worship, we gather together for proclamation – to “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). Prayer and proclamation are accompanied by praise – “Sing to the Lord a new song …” (Psalm 98:1). The community of faith grows strong as it meets together for worship – to praise God, to pray to Him, to proclaim Him.
We read, in 2 Chronicles 10-11, of division among God’s people: ‘Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day’ (10:19). What does God say about this? – ‘Do not go up to fight against your brothers (11:4). Jesus tells us that ‘a house… divided against itself cannot stand’ (Mark 3:25). Paul speaks to us ‘in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ’. There are to be ‘no divisions’ among us (1 Corinthians 1:10). God’s Word says that we are ‘all one in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:28). Far too often, our lives tell a very different story. Division among God’s people is a big problem. We must learn to pray in the spirit of Jesus’ prayer. He prayed that ‘all of them may be one’: ‘May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me’ (John 17:21,23).
‘He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord’ (12:14). Read these words, and pray – ‘Lord, may these words never be true of me’. These words are a warning to us. Things will only go from bad to worse if we turn back from following the Lord.