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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation:     Ecclesiastes 11:7-9

Do you need permission to enjoy life? Then Solomon gives it to you in these verses. I love the Moffatt translation of verse 7, which reads thus: "Sweet is the light of life and pleasant is it for the eyes to see the sun." While Solomon is clearly talking about natural light, these words are also symbolic. God is...

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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation:     Ecclesiastes 11:9-10

Solomon';s final comments in this chapter are aimed at the young. Enjoy your days one by one, he is saying, because before you know it, you will be an adult. The words that come next have sent some Christians into apoplexy: "Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your...

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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation:     Ecclesiastes 12:1

At long last we are introduced in the most clear terms to the only one who can give life meaning - God. Some people need to feel and experience the utter futility of trying to quench the deep thirsts of their souls in any other way but in God. An Hasidic story tells of a man who went for a walk in a forest and got...

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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation: Ecclesiastes 12:2-4

We are now drawn into a vivid picture of very old age. Solomon's purpose is to point out the advantages of serving God while young, and to convince us of his counsel to remember our Creator in the days of our youth. We can serve God in old age (as we have seen), but the reality is that very old age slows us down somewhat and we can't...

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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation:     Ecclesiastes 12:9-10

In these last few verses Solomon moves into a brief autobiographical section. These are a wise man's studied reflections and conclusions. The Preacher tells us what a preacher should be like. There are five characteristics. First and foremost a preacher should be wise. He gets this wisdom not from his years, but...

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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation:     Ecclesiastes 12:5-8

Can you handle another day focusing on the characteristics of old age? Remember the ability to face reality is one of the evidences of mental health! You don't have to dwell on the facts as they relate to old age, but you do have to face them. That is all Solomon is saying. Four more characteristics are given in...

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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation:     Ecclesiastes 12:11

Living as he did in an agricultural community, it is easy to see why Solomon likens words to goads. A goad is a long stick with an iron point that is jabbed against the tough hindquarters of an animal to make it increase its speed. Words motivate and urge us to action. The New Living translation used a different...

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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation:     Ecclesiastes 12:12

Solomon seems to have held off counseling his son until now. First, he counsels his son not to put too much trust in words or books that go beyond the Scriptures. I think Moffatt best captures the thought of Solomon in his translation of this verse: "My son, avoid anything beyond the scriptures of wisdom; there is no...

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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation:     Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Today our exploration of Ecclesiastes comes to an end. We have traveled with Solomon over many roads, and have listened to a wide variety of reflections. The world does not have the resources to meet the needs of the soul, he has been saying, and any attempt to try to find meaning in life apart from God is...

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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation:     Matthew 1:1-17

Our theme now centers on the only two books in the Bible which are named after women - Esther and Ruth. Although the two books are quite different in style and scope, there are several intriguing similarities. First, both books depict a woman who was brought by God into an unusual marriage. Second, both books are set...

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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation:     Judges 17:1-13

Ruth arrived on the scene in the period when the judges ruled in Israel. The children of Israel had occupied the land for some time.But the peace and prosperity that had been theirs disappeared after Joshua's death, when the people returned to their evil and disobedient ways. The condition of Israel at the time Ruth...

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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation:     Ruth 1:1-2

As the famine of which we spoke yesterday continues to ravage Israel, Elimelech and his little family make the decision to emigrate to the land of Moab. Was this a right decision - or a wrong one? Bible students have debated this question for centuries. The Moabites were the result of the incestuous union between Lot and his...

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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation:     Ruth 1:3-5

Although Elimelech's decision to care and provide for his family must be applauded, there can be little doubt that in moving to the land of Moab he went against the will of God. Everything seemed to go well at first, and no doubt the improved economic conditions were to their liking. One day, however, tragedy strikes....

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Selwyn Hughes

For Reading and Meditation:     Ruth 1:14-18

After Naomi's advice to her daughters-in-law that they should stay in Moab, Orpah, albeit reluctantly, prepares to return home. So deep however is Ruth's love for her mother-in-law that she begs to be allowed to accompany her to Israel, in one of the most moving passages in the Old Testament. Ruth is well aware that...

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