Daily Encouragement

September 3 – What Victimizes the Poor to the Tune of $70 Billion Annually?

Ecclesiastes 4:1-6:12
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:7
Psalm 47:1-9
Proverbs 22:16

Ecclesiastes 4:2 — What does the mindset “This is all there is in life!” lead to? Suicidal or even genocidal tendencies. If life has no meaning for humans, then perhaps humans are just keeping from the earth some other organism that has meaning.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 — Solomon shares more of his advice on marriage. Life is suffering/vanity/emptiness/a breath, but it’s better to be together than alone (excepting the examples Solomon shows us in Proverbs where in some cases it is better to dwell alone in the corner of a roof – Proverbs 21:9).

Ecclesiastes 4:13 — It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks, we might say.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 — Note the back and forth between Solomon and Job. Solomon gives Job advice, albeit after the fact, and Job gives wisdom that develops into the Proverbs.

Ecclesiastes 5:15 — Here’s another example, expounding on Job 1:21

Ecclesiastes 5:18 — Is Solomon teaching epicureanism? No, this isn’t hedonism being advocated, but rather a foreshadowing of 1 Corinthians 10:31.

2 Corinthians 6:14-7 — Many people today value unity at any cost. But Paul goes into an extended comparison, explaining that you cannot be unequally yoked with unbelievers. Speaking of the offerings to idols, he again brings up that you can’t belong to God’s temple and the idol’s temple at the same time. As my friend says, “If you work for Coke, you can’t drink Pepsi!” Yes, separation is painful, but its mandated. As John MacArthur says:

Not to be bound together with unbelievers is our greatest challenge. To live a separated life is a tremendous challenge, particularly in a culture which is bombarding us with all of the elements of paganism. It is not only our greatest challenge. It is our greatest source of joy and usefulness when we obey that command.

The pure and the polluted share nothing in common ultimately. And the people of God cannot form intimate relationships with those who don’t belong to God. All relationships like that are superficial. You cannot make a meaningful relationship with an enemy of the gospel.

2 Corinthians 6:18 — Why is separation important? Because if we abandon those wholly inadequate substitutes for our spiritual fathers, the LORD Almighty will be our Father. We’re not primarily separating from unbelievers, we’re separating to the LORD.

Psalm 47:2 — The KJV uses the word “terrible”. Unfortunately, today we’ve corrupted the English language so much that we use “terrible” as a hyperbole for “bad”. But as we rewind the English language, we can see from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary that at one time the meaning of the word was:

Adapted to impress dread, terror or solemn awe and reverence.

The LORD works terrors that should create a response of the fear of the LORD. He is not some lowly bureaucrat that we have to endure, He is a Great King over all the earth!

Proverbs 22:16 — What is a system today that oppresses the poor, takes money from those who have little, offers but empty dreams in return, and in many places subsidizes the rich? The lottery. $70 billion will be spent this year on the lottery. And it is the poor who are disproportionately the victims.

From The Journalist’s Resource:

Those in the lowest fifth in terms of socioeconomic status (SES) had the “highest rate of lottery gambling (61%) and the highest mean level of days gambled in the past year (26.1 days).” Moreover, there were “very few observed differences in lottery gambling for those in the three upper SES groups — 42–43% gambled on the lottery and the three upper groups averaged about 10 days of gambling on the lottery in the past year.

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