It’s been wonderful to see the Spirit moving in your lives, bringing transformation. I am so blessed by the readers and the participants on this blog. I want to continue in the same theme as Hearts of Flesh, going even deeper. We’re going to begin by looking at our voracious soul appetite, and then when the holy season of Lent begins (something that high liturgical churches have taught me to appreciate) in two weeks, we will look not only at the deceitfulness and futility of our idols, but at our TRUE LOVER, the only one who can free a woman of idolatry, which is what, if we are honest, we all are. Idols cannot be removed, only replaced, because our soul hunger is not going to go away.
This week would be a great week to jump in. I’d also like you to pray about inviting others to jump in, especially when Lent begins in two weeks.
Take a question a day or more if you like. I love the women who have been participating, and pray for them. If you are new, I think you will find them very embracing, so you don’t need to be fearful that they are too close and will not welcome you. They will!
Song to go with this week’s theme: Jesus Calls Us (One U-Tube version puts the lyrics over a while restless sea) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYIQw8w2TEw
1. Meditate on this verse from Ecclesiastes 3:11:
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (NIV)
A. What has God set in the human heart?
B. What does this mean?
C. Pascal called it a “God-shaped vacuum,” which reminds me of the whirlpool analogy. What does a vacuum, and a whirlpool have in common?
D. How has your soul been like a whirlpool? What have you devoured in an attempt to feed your soul hunger? Be specific, please — and tell the results too.
D. What mystery do you see in Ecclesiastes 3:11?
2. Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes, felt this vacuum in his soul and couldn’t imagine how to fill it. He felt pain, boredom, and a longing for relief. Find phrases that describe this in Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1::1-11.
3. Then he goes on a pursuit to try to fill this hole. List both the ways he tried to fill it and how he felt when his “whirlpool” sucked up these things in each of the following passages:
A. What did his soul hunger try to feed on and how did he feel in 1:13-18. (This is not godly wisdom, but “under the sun” or worldly wisdom)
B. What did his soul hunger try to feed on and how did he feel in Ecclesiastes 2:1-2l?
C. He continues to embrace worldly wisdom and wine, but adds to his quest in Ecclesiastes 2:3-11. If a phrase jumps out at you, the Spirit may be quickening you, so slow down, turn it over, and see if God is speaking to you. List your discoveries and meditations here.
4. This is such a fascinating book — one of my favorite studyguides I’ve done is A Woman of Contentment that contains T. M. Moore’s wonderful contemporary paraphrase of Ecclesiastes. Here are a few phrases from that paraphrase. Meditate and comment on each:
Amazingly, he was able to keep the iambic pentameter rhyme, so it needs to be read like that, aloud:
A. Ecclesiastes 1:4
What does a man retain beyound the grave
from all the work in which he, like a slave,
consumes his days, as though this early life
were all there is? What’s left from all this strife
B. Ecclesiastes 1:14
I could not be content to stay
within the orbit of his love. Instead
I set a course — but now I am ahead
of where I meant to be. Suffice it here
to say that if this earthly life is dear
to us above all else, that is, if we
deny heaven’s claims upon our lives and see
ourselves as beings of this space in time
and nothing more, then neither things sublime
nor silly will cohere or satisfy,
I’ve tried it all, my son, I will deny
it not. And it is vain, I tell you, vain!
Like feeding on the wind.
5. What is your take–a-way this week?
Tremendous insights by Elizabeth into reacting to her mother and great affirmations and aha’s from the group. Great insight by Susan into Ecclesiastes. Love that T. M. Moore paraphrase. Sometime I must tell you a story about that….but need to get ready to fly home.
The group in S. C. was very quiet which shook me a bit, but they told me it was because they were listening. May the seed go deep.
I love you and am excited about the next post which I’ll post when I get home, Lord willing, this afternoon. So finish up any sharing on this one.
Prayers for you safe trip home, Dee