Wisdom

The End of the Matter

There is a profound trust and submission behind recognizing that since God is who he is, it is impossible that in the end it will not all be beautiful and God’s way with the world, what he did and what he allowed, will demonstrate “the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33) And so our job is to leave governing the universe to God and just focus on the only wise way of life in the light of who God is, “Fear God and keep his commandments.”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

You Can be Too Careful

We are saved so that we can invest our lives so that we can make something of them for the glory of God. That is a risky business because we may fail, or disaster may strike, but God does not want us to be so careful that we just exist, live as safely as we can, and making nothing of the opportunities and possibilities that God has given to us.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Under-Valuing of Wisdom

The truth behind all of this is that how we live matters to God and not only the big things, but also how we deal with angry bosses or dull axes. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and one of the fruits of wisdom is that you sharpen your axe instead of hacking away with a dull axe. Sharpening your axe is pleasing to God. Acting like a fool is not even when it comes to cutting down trees.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Wisdom Is Not Provoking the King

The great thing that Ecclesiastes is showing us that if you only look at life from the perspective of under the sun, life can be very dark and hopeless. There is a lot of pain. There is a lot of suffering. There is a lot of frustration. And there is always death on the horizon, our own death and the death of our loved ones. If that is all there is, life can have its short-term pleasures, but there is a lot of suffering and then there is death.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

“Therefore let your words be few.”

It is actually dangerous for sinful human beings to be in the presence of God. This idea was at the heart of the worship of the temple in the Old Testament. The temple was the dwelling place of God and the only way that God could continue to dwell in the midst of his sinful people was through the offering of sacrifices that provisionally atoned for the people’s sin until the final sacrifice offered by Jesus Christ on the cross.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Vanity of Government

The kingdoms of this world have their place, but they are always flawed, always imperfect, always provisional. The kings and rulers of this world are necessary, but they also cause as many problems as they fix. Human governments can never solve all the problems that need solving. They are part of the problem. And their imperfections should cause us to look for something above and beyond the imperfection and brokenness of everything in this world.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

All is Vanity: Specifics

Do not make your life about making money. Do not make your life about your reputation. Do not make your life about having as much pleasure as possible. He is saying that all of these things should be secondary in your lives. None of them should be the meaning of your life because, if they are, you will one day come to understand that you have lived for nothing – your life has been empty and meaningless – it has all be a striving after the wind.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Introduction to Ecclesiastes

What Ecclesiastes says in this passage about the vanity of life is true, but it is not the whole story. It is part of the Old Testament witness that prepares the way for Jesus by impressing upon us that a life that ends in death is ultimately futile and meaningless. The only answer to that dilemma is a life that does not end in death – a life that is eternal. And that is why Jesus came and that is why the other side of the truth that Ecclesiastes focuses on is that it is possible to escape the meaninglessness of life under the sun by a life that lasts forever.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Joseph and the Famine

The message of the Bible is never – you can do it if you try hard enough. God never says to us, “You can do whatever you set your mind to.” But he does say, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” And he does say “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra