Weekly Devotional 2-1-21
The Natural Man Contrasted by the “Born Again” Man
“12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind. 15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, And what is lacking cannot be numbered. 16 I communed with my heart, saying, ‘Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.’ 17 And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. 18 For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:12-18).
This is an odd way to begin a devotional you might say. This would be true if it were to end here, but there is more, much more.
The above passage is from the writings of Solomon, a man gifted of God with great wisdom. In this passage Solomon is addressing the plight of the man who can only see with the natural eye, who can understand life only by that which he perceives from such a view. Another man, the apostle Paul of many centuries later, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God wrote: “9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one” (1st Cor. 2:9-15).
In writing this first of two letters to the Christians of Corinth, Paul reminds them that he and his fellow laborers had not come to them in human wisdom, but in the wisdom of God, which had been revealed to them through the Spirit of God. His address concerned spiritual matters but what temporal matters can rightfully be judged apart from having the influence of the Holy Spirit. “There is a way that seems right unto man, but the end thereof is death (destruction)” (Provers 14:12).
Jesus, before his arrest promised His disciples that upon His departure (physically out of their presence) He would send the Holy Spirit, and He would lead them into all truth, note: 12“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:12-14).
In another letter, his letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote that God had made known to them (he and those who accompanied him- “born again” Jews) “the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself” (Ephesians 1:9). Paul went on in that letter to write, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (1:13). It was not therefore to just a selected few that the Holy Spirit has been given, but to all those who come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As those first disciples of Jesus, the Holy Spirit also leads every disciple (every believer) into spiritual truth.
Knowing God (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) ends the frustration of Solomon’s vanity of life. There is purpose to life after all. Those of us who have come into a personal relationship with Him (God the Son—Jesus Christ) see and understand things differently than the natural man. The chief end of man is to glorify God and Solomon was right about the natural man, without God, all is vanity; there is no real meaning to life, but Paul was equally right when he wrote, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’’
I close with this question, where are you in all of this?
Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man