This Upside Down World

Reading the Word

Ecclesiastes 8:14–15 (ESV)

14 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.

Understanding and Applying the Word

In verse 14, we read what has been stated earlier in Ecclesiastes. Life does not always give us the outcomes we expect. Sometimes the wicked live long and prosperous lives and sometimes the righteous live short and difficult lives. It all seems like vanity. Solomon’s conclusion is that we should simply seek to find joy in the days that we have.

The writer of Ecclesiastes seeks to find meaning and purpose and fulfillment in life from a naturalistic perspective. He speaks of his thinking as “life under the sun”. However, he also reminds us that life is more than this. He reminds us that our lives are given to us by God. It is because of God that we can find joy and contentment in this life that often seems unfair. It is because of God that we know that there is more and that the righteous will be rewarded and the wicked will be judged.


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The Lord Will Judge with Equity

2 Timothy 48 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 75:1–10 (ESV)

1 We give thanks to you, O God;
we give thanks, for your name is near.
We recount your wondrous deeds.

2 “At the set time that I appoint
I will judge with equity.
3 When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants,
it is I who keep steady its pillars. Selah
4 I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’
and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn;
5 do not lift up your horn on high,
or speak with haughty neck.’ ”

6 For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
7 but it is God who executes judgment,
putting down one and lifting up another.
8 For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup
with foaming wine, well mixed,
and he pours out from it,
and all the wicked of the earth
shall drain it down to the dregs.

9 But I will declare it forever;
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10 All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.

Understanding and Applying the Word

For the next several days we will be looking at different passages from the Bible that speak of giving thanks. I today’s reading, the psalmist thanks God for being near and for his wondrous deeds. As we look at the whole psalm, we see that the focus is on God as judge of all people. He will hold evildoers accountable and he will lift up the righteous.

We live in a world where it is easy to become discouraged. It often seems like those who desire to live their lives for Christ face the roughest road. Christians face mocking and ridicule. Some face constant harassment or social ostracism. Christians in many parts of the world are severely persecuted for their beliefs and face beatings, prison, and even death.

Thinking about these realities can make us feel less than thankful. However, when we keep the future in mind, we know that God stands with us. He is near. And God will not abandon his people. The Judge will hold each and every one accountable and the wicked will be cut off. God will lift up his people and give them an eternal inheritance in his presence. There is much to be thankful for!

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Judgement of the Wicked

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Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a Scripture reading for the day. We are currently reading through the Book of Psalms and would love to have you follow along. Be sure to subscribe to this page and join us each day!

Reading the Word

Psalm 109:6–15 (ESV)

6 Appoint a wicked man against him; let an accuser stand at his right hand. 7 When he is tried, let him come forth guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin! 8 May his days be few; may another take his office! 9 May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow! 10 May his children wander about and beg, seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit! 11 May the creditor seize all that he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil! 12 Let there be none to extend kindness to him, nor any to pity his fatherless children! 13 May his posterity be cut off; may his name be blotted out in the second generation! 14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out! 15 Let them be before the Lord continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth!

Is It Worth It?

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Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested reading for the day. Please subscribe to this page so you can follow along as we read through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 73:10–14 (ESV)

10 Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them. 11 And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” 12 Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. 13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning.