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Chinese7/12/2006English
經文:傳道書四∼六章
鑰節:「你到上帝的殿要謹慎腳步,因為近前聽……」(5:1)
提要

        所羅門對於當時邪惡的普遍及壓迫的存在,感到非常失望,一個人沒有憐憫,只知用嚴刑壓迫其他人,他的行為只像野獸一般(3:18);看到這些邪惡,所羅門倒希望自己不要出生,其實在他四周貪婪的邪惡,他認為也是虛空的。所羅門贊同一個人要勤勞的工作,賺錢過生活是理所當然的,因不工作就會挨餓,但若是過度的辛勤為的是堆積錢財,那只會帶來更多的麻煩和壓力,結果仍是虛空的。一個人不如有少許的錢知足享受過日子,剩過那些多有財富卻活在憂愁壓力下的人(4:5~6)。

        一個自私聚財的人,最後只會成為守財奴,因過度的看重金錢,而漸少與其他人聯絡,當然也不會和人分享他的任何利益,如此他是落入悲慘虛空之中;由於他的貪得無厭,他失去了人生中最大的喜樂──親情和友情。所羅門也例舉了一個孤單者的壞處,及有同伴的好處。當你有同伴分享了你的利益時,這利益會不斷擴張,當有難時你們可彼此幫扶,在寒冷的夜晚同睡更可保暖,彼此又可保護對方更加安全(4:8~12),因此一個有朋友的人是幸運的,孤單的人只能活在悲慘中。

        所羅門又提出兩種人做為比較,一是貧窮卻智慧的年青人,一是年老又愚拙的王;年少的被認為聰明,是因他肯聽人的勸戒,而王因已有財富,變得心硬自大不再聽忠言,因而顯出他的愚拙。雖然這王曾出身貧窮,也曾受人民的愛戴,但隨著時間過去,他上了年紀,忘了以往的苦境,也不再想照顧他的人民,漸漸被人民唾棄了,縱使他的權力大、聲望高,但所獲得的只是虛空補風(4:13~16)。

        第五章所羅門提出,人與上帝關係的重要性。一個真正敬拜上帝的人,要以極虔敬的心進入上帝的殿,因上帝的殿是聖潔的地方,去敬拜的人要以誠心願意聽上帝的話而去,若只是外表虛偽的獻上祭物,內心卻不悔改,如此的罪令上帝厭惡(5:1),同樣的,一個人若隨意立誓或說一些無意義的禱詞,這些重複的話也是虛空徒勞的(太6:7),若一個愚蠢人對上帝發誓言卻不存敬意,將帶來上帝的審判,所羅門嚴厲的警戒人要敬畏上帝(5:7),因此我們的禱告及要向上帝許願時都當存最敬虔的態度對上帝。

        接下來傳道者說明了富有人的虛空和平常人的生活。在這世間強權壓迫窮人及歪曲公義之事彼彼皆是,我們無需為此訝異,因人本性的罪及貪婪,都存在政治的體制中(5:8),追求金錢的人永不滿足,就算不斷的富足下去,仍貪婪不已(5:10),事實上過多的財富會帶來憂愁焦慮,不能安穩睡眠的傷害,更甚的貪婪可能會失去更多,而實質上錢財是死亡時帶不走的,所以勞力所獲的一切財富也是虛空(5:12~17)。

        上帝祝福那些用正當態度致富的人,使他們能享受他們的財富及生命,他們的生命、財產、富有、能力都是從上帝而來的禮物,上帝也祝福他們的生命充滿喜樂,與生活中的難處相比,難處就顯的微不足道了(5:18~20)。如果一個人不能享受他的財富及親情,那一切所得都是虛空,像是一個不幸的人,所有的只是痛苦無奈(6:1~2),如此生活的人倒不如不要生出來的好;而那些所得不多卻能滿足於中,勝過那些富有卻不滿足的人(6:9)。那麼,什麼是享受生命及滿足的關鍵呢?無可置疑的是,靈堛犖”洸M順服上帝的旨意,只有上帝知道什麼是真正對我們最好的,而上帝最好的一切已藉著祂的兒子耶穌賜給我們了。

禱告

        親愛的主,感謝您,當我們讓您坐在我們心堛瘧_座時,我們的生命就充滿喜樂,幫助我們學習保羅的榜樣,無論在什麼光景下都能知足。奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Ecclesiastes 4, 5&6
Key Verse:"Walk prudently when you go to the house of God, and draw near to hear..."(Ecclesiastes 5:1)
Overview

        Solomon expresses his disappointment and disgust at the prevalence of wickedness and oppression in the world. That one man would unmercifully and cruelly oppress another made him no better than a beast (3:18). Solomon concludes that it is better to never be born than to have life and see the evil on the earth. Included in this evil is greed and covetousness among neighbours, which is futile (vanity). Solomon confesses that working diligently to gain money is I necessary, for the one who does not work will starve; yet, too much hard work in order to amass riches causes troubles and stress, so this too is vanity. Having contentment and peace of mind with just a litte money is better than having a lot with worry and stress (4:5-6).

        The individual who selfishly amasses wealth can turn into a miser who often withdraws from contact with other people so he will not have to share his profits with anyone. Such a person is in a pathetic and futile situation, for his covetousness has deprived him of one of the greatest joys that life offers — family and friends. Solomon lists some disadvantages of being alone by explaining the advantages of having a companion. With a friendly business partner, the profits can be greater even though they must be shared. With a companion, one has help when he falls. In the cold night, one has the warmth of another beside him, as well as the benefits of protection and security (4:8-12).

        The one who has a companion is fortunate, but the one who remains alone lives in misery.
Two other types of people are contrasted by Solomon: the "poor and wise youth" with "an old and foolish king". The youth is considered wiser ,because he hears the reproof and admonitions of others. The king, however, has become so hardened and self-sufficient because of his riches that he will no longer listen to counsel. Such a king becomes self-centered and forgets about serving others. Although he came out of a background of poverty ("prison") and was a popular king, with time he forgot the plight of the poor and no longer tried to help them, thus he became unpopular. His rise to power and popularity was therefore vain and empty (4:13-16).

        The importance of one's relationship with God is stressed by Solomon in chapter five. A true worshipper must come before God with the utmost respect and enter His House reverently, for it is Holy Ground. He must also have the sincere intent to hear and be obedient to the Lord. He is not to be a hypcrite by merely acting religiously in offering sacrifices when his heart is unrepentant, for this is a sin and an abomination to the Lord (5:1). Nor is anyone to make rash vows or nonsensical prayers to the Lord that are mere words and vain repetitions (Matt. 6:7). A vow to God that is not honoured could bring the judgment of God upon the foolish person. Solomon's stern admonition is to fear the Lord (5:7). Our prayers and promises to God must be done with the deepest reverence.

        From the remainder of chapter five and continuing in chapter six, the preacher illustrates the vanity of riches and of life in general. One should not marvel at the oppression of the poor and the perversion of justice in the world, since this is a natural result of man's sinfulness and greed which is evident in the governmental system (5:8). Those who love money will never be satisfied with it, even if it increases to abundance (5:10). In fact, too much money can bring harm: worry and anxiety causes one to not sleep well; there is the risk of misfortune in loosing it all; and upon death he can take nothing, so all his labour to attain riches has been in vain (5:12-17).

        Those who have the proper attitude toward riches (without selfishness and greed) and those whom God has blessed are the only ones able to enjoy their riches and their life, since for these people their life, heritage, wealth, and strength are gifts from God, and God has blessed them with enough joys of life that the difficulties of life seem insignificant (5:18-20). If one is unable to enjoy one's wealth and family, however, it is vanity and like an "evil affliction" which produces much misery (6:1-2). For such a person, it is better to have not been born. Those who find satisfaction and contentment with what they have, even if it is little, are far better off than those who are rich but can never find satisfaction and fulfillment (6:9). What is the key to being satisfied and finding enjoyment in life? It is without a doubt the spiritual satisfaction of the soul (6:7) and in yielding of oneself to the will of God, for only God knows what is truly best for mankind, and His best was provided through His Son, Jesus.

Prayer

        Dear Lord, thank You for the great joy we have in life when we keep You on the throne of our heart. Help us to learn, as did the Apostle Paul, the secret of contentment no matter what our situation.


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