Ecclesiastes is the Greek rendering of the Hebrew Koheleth, which means "Preacher." The old and traditional view of the authorship of this book attributes it to Solomon. This view can be satisfactorily maintained, though others date it from the Captivity. The writer represents himself implicitly as Solomon (1:12). It has been appropriately styled The Confession of King Solomon. "The writer is a man who has sinned in giving way to selfishness and sensuality, who has paid the penalty of that sin in satiety and weariness of life, but who has through all this been under the discipline of a divine education, and has learned from it the lesson which God meant to teach him."
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CHILDREN'S GREAT BIBLE TEXTS
THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES
Straightening It Out.
The Month Of Colour.
The End That Counts.
Counting One By One.
Try A Grindstone.
The Little Bird That Tells.
The Book Of Ecclesiastes, J. Hastings
Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck
86450 Altenmünster, Germany
That which is crooked cannot be made straight. — Eccles. i. 15.
The crooked shall be made straight. — Isa. xl. 4.
Those two texts look like a contradiction, don't they?' The second seems to say the very opposite of the first. But you see they were spoken by two different people. The first man looked on the black side. He didn't see any hope of a wrong thing being put right. The second man looked on the bright side. He knew that things could and would be put right.
Now I want to speak to you about making crooked things straight.
1. And will you notice first that there are some crooked things we can't put straight. What is a crooked thing? Well, it is something that has gone out of shape. It was meant to be straight and beautiful, but it has grown twisted and ugly. You have seen a tree that got a twist when it was young and pliable. Something interfered with it and made it grow that, way, and now that it is old it looks all crooked and gnarled. It still bears the mark of the twist it got in its young days.
It is just like that with our characters. They were meant to be beautiful and straight. God meant them to be like that. But we have made them ugly and crooked by wicked tempers, and bad thoughts and desires.
When we speak about a straight boy or girl we usually mean a boy or girl whom we can trust — one who will always be upright and reliable and who is warranted to do nothing mean or underhand. I expect you all want to be straight in that way. You want to be the kind of boy or girl that people can depend upon. And if anyone accused you of lying or cheating you would want to hit them.
Well, I am glad you are straight in that way. It's a splendid sign, and I wouldn't give much for the boy or girl who wasn't trustworthy. But you may be very straight in that way and very crooked in another. Because it isn't just doing dishonourable things that makes us grow crooked. Wrong-doing of all kinds twists and warps our character. Ill-temper, and pride, and selfishness, and greed, and unkindness, and spite, and jealousy, all make us crooked. They leave their mark upon us, and it is a mark we cannot take out. We cannot make our crooked characters straight again any more than we can straighten the crooked old tree. We may improve our outward conduct, we may appear less crooked on the outside, but we cannot make ourselves straight within. And so long as we are crooked within we are never really straight and we are never really safe.
2. God can make all crooked things straight. — He can do what we can't do — He can make us straight and beautiful within and He can take away from us the love of crooked things.
There was once an old Indian woman who took Jesus as her Friend and Saviour, and one day she was describing her life before she knew Jesus. She said, "I was like an unravelled spool of thread that had become so tangled that nobody could straighten it. So I brought my tangled self to Jesus, and He loosened the knots and straightened out the tangle."
Jesus came into the world to unravel all the tangles, to take away all the ugly crookedness. He can make you straight and beautiful if you will let Him.
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