Eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart
Ecclesiastes 9:7 Eat, drink and be merry… with Jesus in mind
“Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.”
Ecclesiastes 9:7 NASB1995
When you saw the headline of today’s devotional, did your thoughts go to the bread and wine sacrament of Communion? Mine usually do; in fact, every time we have a meal at home (usually Italian) with a nice red wine and bread (usually a hot garlic bread baguette), Barb and I celebrate Communion.
In 1 Corinthians 11:26 (NASB1995), Paul says “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” This comes just after his description of the Last Supper, with Jesus asking for His followers to “do this in remembrance of me” each time they take the bread and drink the cup.
It is a powerful remembrance of Jesus and what He was about to suffer through and of His ultimate victory for all of us on the cross. Communion shouldn’t be celebrated just when your church decides it’s the right time; any time you “eat this bread and drink the cup” — whether or not it is wine — your thoughts and actions should be directed to Jesus.
Ecclesiastes was written well before the time of Christ — possibly around 935 BC. So why does King Solomon (writing under the pseudonym of “The Preacher”), who is thought to be the author of the book — seem to be writing about a sacrament that won’t appear for almost a thousand years?
I find Ecclesiastes to be quite depressing, with The Preacher repeatedly saying that there is “nothing new under the sun”. In a change of heart in this verse, he adds a touch of humor, basically saying “Hey, we’re all going to die, so have a good time”. That’s a very small touch of hope to desperate people, but it is his best advice.
But what about the “for God has already approved your works” bit? Is The Preacher saying, “Eat, drink, and be merry, because if God hasn’t approved of your behavior, well, it’s too darned late!”? Possibly… but remember that this is about a thousand years before the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Unlike the prophets of the Old Testament, King Solomon didn’t have foresight given to him by God. He didn’t know about the Messiah, had no idea of His perfect and sinless life, and His ultimate sacrifice upon the cross to bring salvation to all who believe in Him. Without God speaking to him about what was to come, Solomon — with all of his incredible wealth and storied wisdom — simply saw a life (good or bad) that ended in death. He knew nothing of gaining eternal life through Jesus. Is it any wonder that Ecclesiastes is, in so many ways, a rather depressing book of the Old Testament?
Today’s Christians truly have a reason to “eat our bread in happiness and drink our wine with a cheerful heart”! We have been blessed with the Gospel; we can commemorate our Savior’s life, death, and resurrection with respect through the sacrament of Communion; and we know that our faith in God, confessing and repenting of our sins, and following the New Covenant brings eternal life!
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Lord in Heaven, thank You for the words of wisdom that King Solomon left for posterity in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon knew nothing of the Good News of Jesus, but his perspective is incredibly powerful in making us appreciate what Your Son and Our Savior has given us. During the rest of my mortal life, please gift me with wisdom to make my life productive for You. I thank You for the joy that Your provision and goodness give me, and pray that You convict me if I waste my days worrying, complaining, and being fearful. May the cup and the bread always remind me to proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. AMEN.