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July 19 - Morning

"Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,

'I find no pleasure in them' —

before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;
when the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop,
when the grinders cease because they are few,

and those looking through the windows grow dim;
when the doors to the street are closed
and the sound of grinding fades;
when people rise up at the sound of birds,
but all their songs grow faint;
when people are afraid of heights
and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
and the grasshopper drags itself along
and desire no longer is stirred.
Then people go to their eternal home
and mourners go about the streets.
Remember him — before the silver cord is severed,
and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

'Meaningless! Meaningless!'
says the Teacher.
'Everything is meaningless!' "

- Ecclesiastes 12:1-8

The Final Days of a Man's Life


These are the final words of Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes. In 12:9 the writing switches to the third person. Solomon concludes his teaching in 12:8 with the same words he began with in 1:2:
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.     “Everything is meaningless!”

12:1-7 is one long sentence in the Hebrew which if read out loud leaves the reader in the same condition as the old man, the subject of the poem, -  out of breath!

Solomon begins by reminding the reader to remember and serve God in the prime years of life. Although Solomon encourages us to enjoy life throughout his teaching, he is also consistent in urging us not to forget God. The knowledge of God will bring meaning into an otherwise meaningless existence. The knowledge of God will allow you to enjoy the good things God has given to man in an otherwise cruel and unfair world. Because the knowledge of God brings meaning and allows for enjoyment of life it is imperative that we remember God before the hardest days of life come. Solomon warns his young readers that life and opportunities are going to change. And, they will change for the worse! In fact there are days coming that when compared to younger days you will say,

“I have no pleasure in them!”

In other words, if you do not learn to find meaning and to enjoy life through your understanding of God in your youth, then you will really, really experience meaninglessness in the coming days when the things that accompany old age begin to set in.

In a series of colorful, and even humorous, metaphors, Solomon describes old age in a way the younger person can understanding and gain some insight into what growing old is like.

First, Solomon describes the good days of youth as days with light. The light refers to eyesight. Sun and light are referring to vision during the day. The moon and stars is referring to vision used at night.

"Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say,     “I find no pleasure in them”— before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark,     and the clouds return after the rain." - Ecclesiastes 12:1-2

The rain could refer to sadness and crying. The disappointments and tears of youth often clear the mind and soon hope returns. This is not the case for the elderly. After a time of disappointment the clouds of despair roll back in:

“the clouds return after the rain.” Ecclesiastes 12:2

The breakdown of the list of metaphors could be something like this:
  • Keepers of the house = hands and arms
  • Strong men = shoulders and upper body
  • Grinders = teeth
  • Windows = eyes and sight
  • Sounds in the street and sounds of grinding = ears and hearing
  • Rise early with the birds = sleeplessness
  • Daughters of music = singing voice
  • Fear of heights = loss of balance
  • Terrors in the way = legs and tripping over simple things when walking
  • Almond tree blossoms = grey/white hair
  • Grasshopper = young energetic man has slowed to a crawl and gained weight
  • Desire = sexual drive
  • Eternal home = death, grave
  • Mourners in the Street = Funeral procession

Death is described as a drastic change of something beautiful and useful into something broken and useless in these final four metaphors:
  • Severed silver cord = nervous system inactive
  • Broken golden bowl = brain activity has stopped
  • Shattered pitcher at the well = heart has stopped beating
  • Broken wheel at the well = blood circulation has ceased

Remember, everything is meaningless without a perspective of God your creator.
Nqm (Hb) – to avenge (Eng) - nqm means “to avenge,” “avenge oneself,” “take revenge.” The Hebrew nqm may have originally been a term from a legal system since punishment, or nqm, brings justice to correct a wrong.

The OT use of
nqm includes many uses of nqm as a reference to the vengeance for a community of people such as Israel:

Nqm is also used as vengeance for or against an individual:
I will look at my life today through the prism of God's revelation of himself as Creator, Lord and Judge.
I will not allow today's thoughts and activities to be interpreted in the mirror of meaninglessness with no reflection of God and his wisdom.



Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

General Text




Personal

To be a good friend

Church

Maturity in understanding and life
Secretary of Education
Ireland



Beautiful mosaic tile on the Muslim Dome of the Rock on the Jewish Temple Mount. It was built 1,300 years ago in 691-692 AD. It is octagonal and covered with black, red and cream colored marble inlays while glazed tiles of royal blue, white, yellow and green cover the upper portion of the walls. There are long quotes from the Koran written all around the outside of the building.
(Details)
Details of the Valley of Elah where David killed Goliath and the Philistines fled as recorded in 1 Samuel 17:1-3, 51-54.
(Details)




Someone to Quote

"If a man, even a born again man, is going to walk in God's way he will need to know Gods' Word."
- Galyn Wiemers

Something to Ponder

The projected church attendance in America in 2050 is 11.7% of the U.S. population. This is half of what it was in the 1990’s. (source)

Here’s a Fact

A seal from the time of Sargon II (722-705 BC) was found in northern Israel at Omrit (2 2/3 miles southwest of Caesarea Philippi in the Hula Valley). The seal was found behind a wall built 700 years later by the Romans in a temple dedicated to Emperor Augustus. The cylinder seal includes the engraved image of a battle between a winged being and a bull standing on its back legs. Sargon II was the Assyrian king who finalized the destruction and deportation of Israel in 721 BC (2 Kings 17:24). Seals were used to identify a person’s identity and to roll their personal impression (signature) into clay. (Details 1, 2. Photo)  

Proverb

"A foolish son is his father's ruin, and a quarrelsome wife
is like a constant dripping."

- Proverbs 19:13

Coach’s Corner

Personal growth increases your personal potential. The failure to learn and the refusal to change is the rejection of increasing your opportunity for success.

1 Chronicles 23 New International Version (NIV)
The Levites
23 When David was old and full of years, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.
He also gathered together all the leaders of Israel, as well as the priests and Levites. The Levites thirty years old or more were counted, and the total number of men was thirty-eight thousand. David said, “Of these, twenty-four thousand are to be in charge of the work of the temple of the Lord and six thousand are to be officials and judges. Four thousand are to be gatekeepers and four thousand are to praise the Lord with the musical instruments I have provided for that purpose.”
David separated the Levites into divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
Gershonites
Belonging to the Gershonites:
Ladan and Shimei.
The sons of Ladan:
Jehiel the first, Zetham and Joel—three in all.
The sons of Shimei:
Shelomoth, Haziel and Haran—three in all.
These were the heads of the families of Ladan.
10 And the sons of Shimei:
Jahath, Ziza, Jeush and Beriah.
These were the sons of Shimei—four in all.
11 Jahath was the first and Ziza the second, but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons; so they were counted as one family with one assignment.
Kohathites
12 The sons of Kohath:
Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel—four in all.
13 The sons of Amram:
Aaron and Moses.
Aaron was set apart, he and his descendants forever, to consecrate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices before the Lord, to minister before him and to pronounce blessings in his name forever.
14 The sons of Moses the man of God were counted as part of the tribe of Levi.
15 The sons of Moses:
Gershom and Eliezer.
16 The descendants of Gershom:
Shubael was the first.
17 The descendants of Eliezer:
Rehabiah was the first.
Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very numerous.
18 The sons of Izhar:
Shelomith was the first.
19 The sons of Hebron:
Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third and Jekameam the fourth.
20 The sons of Uzziel:
Micah the first and Ishiah the second.
Merarites
21 The sons of Merari:
Mahli and Mushi.
The sons of Mahli:
Eleazar and Kish.
22 Eleazar died without having sons: he had only daughters. Their cousins, the sons of Kish, married them.
23 The sons of Mushi:
Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth—three in all.
24 These were the descendants of Levi by their families—the heads of families as they were registered under their names and counted individually, that is, the workers twenty years old or more who served in the temple of the Lord. 25 For David had said, “Since the Lord, the God of Israel, has granted rest to his people and has come to dwell in Jerusalem forever, 26 the Levites no longer need to carry the tabernacle or any of the articles used in its service.” 27 According to the last instructions of David, the Levites were counted from those twenty years old or more.
28 The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the Lord: to be in charge of the courtyards, the side rooms, the purification of all sacred things and the performance of other duties at the house of God. 29 They were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the special flour for the grain offerings, the thin loaves made without yeast, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size. 30 They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening 31 and whenever burnt offerings were presented to the Lord on the Sabbaths, at the New Moon feasts and at the appointed festivals. They were to serve before the Lord regularly in the proper number and in the way prescribed for them.
32 And so the Levites carried out their responsibilities for the tent of meeting, for the Holy Place and, under their relatives the descendants of Aaron, for the service of the temple of the Lord.
Ezekiel 21 New International Version (NIV)
Babylon as God’s Sword of Judgment
21 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuary. Prophesy against the land of Israel and say to her: ‘This is what the Lord says: I am against you. I will draw my sword from its sheath and cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked. Because I am going to cut off the righteous and the wicked, my sword will be unsheathed against everyone from south to north. Then all people will know that I the Lord have drawn my sword from its sheath; it will not return again.’
“Therefore groan, son of man! Groan before them with broken heart and bitter grief. And when they ask you, ‘Why are you groaning?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that is coming. Every heart will melt with fear and every hand go limp; every spirit will become faint and every leg will be wet with urine.’ It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘A sword, a sword,     sharpened and polished—
10 
sharpened for the slaughter,     polished to flash like lightning!
“‘Shall we rejoice in the scepter of my royal son? The sword despises every such stick.
11 
“‘The sword is appointed to be polished,     to be grasped with the hand; it is sharpened and polished,     made ready for the hand of the slayer.
12 
Cry out and wail, son of man,     for it is against my people;     it is against all the princes of Israel. They are thrown to the sword     along with my people. Therefore beat your breast.
13 “‘Testing will surely come. And what if even the scepter, which the sword despises, does not continue? declares the Sovereign Lord.’
14 
“So then, son of man, prophesy     and strike your hands together. Let the sword strike twice,     even three times. It is a sword for slaughter—     a sword for great slaughter,     closing in on them from every side.
15 
So that hearts may melt with fear     and the fallen be many, I have stationed the sword for slaughter     at all their gates. Look! It is forged to strike like lightning,     it is grasped for slaughter.
16 
Slash to the right, you sword,     then to the left,     wherever your blade is turned.
17 
I too will strike my hands together,     and my wrath will subside. I the Lord have spoken.”
18 The word of the Lord came to me: 19 “Son of man, mark out two roads for the sword of the king of Babylon to take, both starting from the same country. Make a signpost where the road branches off to the city. 20 Mark out one road for the sword to come against Rabbah of the Ammonites and another against Judah and fortified Jerusalem. 21 For the king of Babylon will stop at the fork in the road, at the junction of the two roads, to seek an omen: He will cast lots with arrows, he will consult his idols, he will examine the liver. 22 Into his right hand will come the lot for Jerusalem, where he is to set up battering rams, to give the command to slaughter, to sound the battle cry, to set battering rams against the gates, to build a ramp and to erect siege works. 23 It will seem like a false omen to those who have sworn allegiance to him, but he will remind them of their guilt and take them captive.
24 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Because you people have brought to mind your guilt by your open rebellion, revealing your sins in all that you do—because you have done this, you will be taken captive.
25 “‘You profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose time of punishment has reached its climax, 26 this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Take off the turban, remove the crown. It will not be as it was: The lowly will be exalted and the exalted will be brought low. 27 A ruin! A ruin! I will make it a ruin! The crown will not be restored until he to whom it rightfully belongs shall come; to him I will give it.’
28 “And you, son of man, prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says about the Ammonites and their insults:
“‘A sword, a sword,     drawn for the slaughter, polished to consume     and to flash like lightning!
29 
Despite false visions concerning you     and lying divinations about you, it will be laid on the necks     of the wicked who are to be slain, whose day has come,     whose time of punishment has reached its climax.
30 
“‘Let the sword return to its sheath.     In the place where you were created, in the land of your ancestry,     I will judge you.
31 
I will pour out my wrath on you     and breathe out my fiery anger against you; I will deliver you into the hands of brutal men,     men skilled in destruction.
32 
You will be fuel for the fire,     your blood will be shed in your land, you will be remembered no more;     for I the Lord have spoken.’”
2 Kings 18:1-8New International Version (NIV)
Hezekiah King of Judah
18 In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.)
Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory.
_____
2 Chronicles 29 New International Version (NIV)
Hezekiah Purifies the Temple
29 Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done.
In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites! Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of the Lord, the God of your ancestors. Remove all defilement from the sanctuary. Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him. They also shut the doors of the portico and put out the lamps. They did not burn incense or present any burnt offerings at the sanctuary to the God of Israel. Therefore, the anger of the Lord has fallen on Judah and Jerusalem; he has made them an object of dread and horror and scorn, as you can see with your own eyes. This is why our fathers have fallen by the sword and why our sons and daughters and our wives are in captivity. 10 Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him, to minister before him and to burn incense.”
12 Then these Levites set to work:
from the Kohathites,
Mahath son of Amasai and Joel son of Azariah;
from the Merarites,
Kish son of Abdi and Azariah son of Jehallelel;
from the Gershonites,
Joah son of Zimmah and Eden son of Joah;
13 from the descendants of Elizaphan,
Shimri and Jeiel;
from the descendants of Asaph,
Zechariah and Mattaniah;
14 from the descendants of Heman,
Jehiel and Shimei;
from the descendants of Jeduthun,
Shemaiah and Uzziel.
15 When they had assembled their fellow Levites and consecrated themselves, they went in to purify the temple of the Lord, as the king had ordered, following the word of the Lord. 16 The priests went into the sanctuary of the Lord to purify it. They brought out to the courtyard of the Lord’s temple everything unclean that they found in the temple of the Lord. The Levites took it and carried it out to the Kidron Valley. 17 They began the consecration on the first day of the first month, and by the eighth day of the month they reached the portico of the Lord. For eight more days they consecrated the temple of the Lord itself, finishing on the sixteenth day of the first month.
18 Then they went in to King Hezekiah and reported: “We have purified the entire temple of the Lord, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the table for setting out the consecrated bread, with all its articles. 19 We have prepared and consecrated all the articles that King Ahaz removed in his unfaithfulness while he was king. They are now in front of the Lord’s altar.”
20 Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials together and went up to the temple of the Lord. 21 They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven male lambs and seven male goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary and for Judah. The king commanded the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer these on the altar of the Lord. 22 So they slaughtered the bulls, and the priests took the blood and splashed it against the altar; next they slaughtered the rams and splashed their blood against the altar; then they slaughtered the lambs and splashed their blood against the altar. 23 The goats for the sin offering were brought before the king and the assembly, and they laid their hands on them. 24 The priests then slaughtered the goats and presented their blood on the altar for a sin offering to atone for all Israel, because the king had ordered the burnt offering and the sin offering for all Israel.
25 He stationed the Levites in the temple of the Lord with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king’s seer and Nathan the prophet; this was commanded by the Lord through his prophets. 26 So the Levites stood ready with David’s instruments, and the priests with their trumpets.
27 Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. As the offering began, singing to the Lord began also, accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David king of Israel. 28 The whole assembly bowed in worship, while the musicians played and the trumpets sounded. All this continued until the sacrifice of the burnt offering was completed.
29 When the offerings were finished, the king and everyone present with him knelt down and worshiped. 30 King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the Lord with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness and bowed down and worshiped.
31 Then Hezekiah said, “You have now dedicated yourselves to the Lord. Come and bring sacrifices and thank offerings to the temple of the Lord.” So the assembly brought sacrifices and thank offerings, and all whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings.
32 The number of burnt offerings the assembly brought was seventy bulls, a hundred rams and two hundred male lambs—all of them for burnt offerings to the Lord. 33 The animals consecrated as sacrifices amounted to six hundred bulls and three thousand sheep and goats. 34 The priests, however, were too few to skin all the burnt offerings; so their relatives the Levites helped them until the task was finished and until other priests had been consecrated, for the Levites had been more conscientious in consecrating themselves than the priests had been. 35 There were burnt offerings in abundance, together with the fat of the fellowship offerings and the drink offerings that accompanied the burnt offerings.
So the service of the temple of the Lord was reestablished.
36 Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people, because it was done so quickly.


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