A Reason to Eat and Drink with a Merry Heart
“Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.” (Ecclesiastes 9:7)
These words are not addressed to everyone. They are specifically addressed to the righteous and the wise, those whose works are in God’s hand, those who, being the objects of God’s mercy, love and grace, have been made righteous and wise in Christ (Ecclesiastes 9:1; Matthew 10:16).
“Go Thy Way”
How often we are brought low and downcast by distressing providences, outward temptations and inward sins! Here we are urged to set our hearts on our God and his grace and march through this world with triumphant joy. The word translated “go thy way” has many shades of meaning. It might be translated “pursue your way,” or “march your way,” or “vanish in your way.”
The admonition carries with it a sense of joy and victory. That is how we are to live in this world. That is how we ought to walk through the earth, joyful, triumphant and confident in faith. If Christ is our Way, we have no reason to live with fear. Though our way is the way of the cross, “the way of the cross leads home.” So let us walk with joy. — “The way of the righteous is made plain” (Proverbs 15:19). — “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:6).
Our way is the way appointed by our blessed God and Savior. He is with us in the way, holds us in the way, and carries us all the way. Our way is the Highway of Holiness by which the ransomed of the Lord return to Zion, “with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads” (Isaiah 35:8-10).
“Eat Thy Bread”
Next, the wise man urges us, by the Spirit of inspiration, to eat our bread with joy. That admonition certainly refers to the bread of daily providence. — “I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labor the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 8:15). Believing men and women ought to be the happiest, most cheerful people in the world. Everything we possess is blessed to us by Christ; and our God has promised that we shall be blessed in basket and in store, blessed in lying down and blessed in rising up, blessed in going out and blessed in coming home, blessed in time and blessed to all eternity!
But we have other Bread to eat; and we are ever to eat that Bread with joy. Christ is our Bread. He is Manna for our souls. He is the source of all our blessedness. Let us go our way and eat our bread with joy, for Christ is our Way and he is our Bread.
“Drink Thy Wine”
“And drink thy wine with a merry heart.” How kind, how gracious, how good our God must be, if he commands his children to be merry! Like bread, wine is here set before us as a part of our daily diet. Bread represents that which is necessary. Wine represents that which is pleasurable. Both are to be used freely and enjoyed by us.
But Solomon’s admonition reaches far beyond eating bread and drinking wine. Solomon urges us to enjoy the bounty of God’s providence and grace in this world. Christ is our Way; so let us go our Way. Christ is our Bread; so let us eat our Bread with joy. Christ’s love is better than wine; so let us drink our wine with a merry heart.
“Accepteth Thy Works”
“For God now accepteth thy works!” — As we make our pilgrimage through this world of woe, we ought to eat our bread with joy and drink our wine with a merry heart, because God accepts our works. God accepted us in his dear Son before the worlds were made; and here the Spirit of God assures us that the Lord our God accepts our works. Imagine that. — “God now accepteth thy works!”
Mark that word “now.” — “God now acceptheth thy works.” This is much more than an assurance that God will accept our works in eternity, or that God accepts some of our works. Rather, it is an assurance from God himself that he presently accepts and perpetually accepts our works, just as he accepts us in his dear Son.
Because God my Father accepts me in Christ, I should “rejoice in the Lord always!” May he teach me and give me grace to joy in what I have; joy in what I expect, joy in even what I want, for those very wants will bring me to my Savior. Do I have fears? Yes, just as you do; but even our fears should not destroy our joy. Our fears keep us clinging to our Savior, depending upon him for everything. When we suffer, our light afflictions are sweetly blessed to our souls’ good, when they are made renewed occasions for the Lord Jesus to come to us and soothe our hearts with love. In his time he will deliver us from our troubles.
If we suffer loss, let us still eat our bread with joy and drink our wine with a merry heart, for lose what we may, we cannot lose Christ. We cannot lose his love, his favor, his grace, his Spirit, the efficacy of his blood, and the merits of his righteousness. Oh precious security, precious salvation in the Lord our Righteousness! — “Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.” (Isaiah 3:10).
As God now accepts our works (1 Peter 2:5), because the works of our Surety are our works and we have been washed in his precious blood, in the Day of Judgment God will accept our works (John 5:29; Revelation 20:12); and our works shall follow us to glory (Revelation 14:13). In free justification the righteous works of Christ as our Surety have been imputed to us. And because the death of Christ demands for us the non-imputation of sin, God now accepts our works, — all because we are “accepted in the Beloved!”
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