Pining for Yesterday

Reading the Word

Ecclesiastes 7:7–10 (ESV)
7 Surely oppression drives the wise into madness, and a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.
10 Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The four verses we read today tell us of the effects of four different types of trials. The first is oppression, which can cause even the wise to do things they normally would not, such as take a bribe. The second verse calls for patience, as the end of a thing is better than its beginning and patience is better than pride. The third tells us not to rush into anger. Doing so is the way of fools. And the fourth tells us not to wish for former days. To do so is unwise. Much like the Israelites who wished to be back in Egypt, pining for the past distracts us from living in the present and fulfilling the things we are called to do now.

Life is a constant challenge, but we must learn to live every day to the glory of God. Each day has its own set of difficulties and distractions, but with God’s help, we can live for him no matter what comes our way. We must always remember that God has placed us right where we are at this very time for his purposes. It is our proper response to live faithfully and proclaim the gospel so that Jesus Christ might be made known to the world. May we seek to live today and every day for the glory of God.


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Will We Listen?

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Reading the Word

Psalm 81:11–16 (ESV)

11 “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. 12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. 13 Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! 14 I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes. 15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe toward him, and their fate would last forever. 16 But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Even after all God had done for his people and even after his promise to be their God and bless them, they still did not obey him. They followed their own hearts and their own sinful ways. Even so, God promises to restore them if they turn to him. He stands ready to bless them.

Israel is a picture of all of mankind. In the Garden of Eden, man was placed in a paradise with all of the blessings of God, but sinned by disobeying the word of God. Likewise, Israel was rescued from slavery and brought to the Promised Land and offered the blessings of God, but sinned through disobedience to God’s word. And we do the same thing. God saves us from our sins through his Son, Jesus Christ, but we would rather follow our own way than submit to him as Lord. Even so, God stands ready to forgive and restore those who will repent and turn to him. What a patient and gracious God!

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Learning to Wait

Psalm 3815 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 38:15–22 (ESV)

15 But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. 16 For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me, who boast against me when my foot slips!” 17 For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me. 18 I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. 19 But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully. 20 Those who render me evil for good accuse me because I follow after good. 21 Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! 22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

Understanding and Applying the Word

There is a song with the words “the waiting is the hardest part.” All of us have experienced the difficulty of waiting at one time or another in our lives. It is difficult.

In this psalm, David is an amazing example of waiting for the Lord. In verse 15 he says, “But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” Such confidence in the face of hardship and despair. He acknowledges his own sin and repents of it again in verse 18 and calls out again for rescue. And then he waits. And the psalm ends as he continues to wait and trust.

What is it that you are going through? Are you trusting that God will bring you through it in his time and in his way? Have you learned to wait? Let us continue to call out to God trusting that he will deliver us from whatever the circumstances are that we are facing.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!