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Ralph's Daily Devotional - Tuesday, April 17

Ecclesiastes 4:1-16 speaks of oppression, toil and being totally alone.  What a depressing trio!

He actually says, " Better to never have been born!"  Now I have said this before and I will say it again: These words, although part of God's inspired Bible, are not to be taken as the general teaching of Scripture.  Rather, they represent the words of a man who has viewed the world and life from his own personal experiences and has found most of what he sees as superficial, fleeting and vain.  In other words, he is saying to himself: "What's it all about?  It seems ultimately pointless.  Why bother with this business of life when it all ends in the grave?"

Now those are good questions, and we would do well to consider them from his perspective.  That is why God has allowed this very depressing book to be included in His Bible.  It is because everyone at some point in their lives has felt this way.  "Why bother?"  This man is working his way through these questions, and in the end of this book he will finally tell us the lesson that he has learned, which is to fear God and keep His commandments.  He came to realize that in the end, that is the one thing that will make a difference and secure for him a hope to transcend this life of grief and pain.

For us Christians, we have far more to look forward to.  We have the love of Jesus our Lord who promises eternal life.  We also have the power of the Holy Spirit who comforts us in our times of weakness and sadness.  Yet, we are still in this world, and at times, like this man, we have troubled hearts.  The issue then is learning the lesson that this man finally learns, which is to put God first.  I can think of no better words to combat discouragement, depression and a troubled heart than those of our Lord in John 14:1-6.

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