For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;
The phrase “the riches of His glory” is written by Paul five times: EPH 3:16; 1:18; ROM 9:23; PHI 4:19; and COL 1:27.
It is the glorious wealth of God that has been given to mankind. It is Christ Himself and all that comes with His life, way, and truth. It is God’s mercy upon His children. It is our inheritance which is reserved in heaven, undefiled and will not fade away. It is the wealth of God that has been given to every believer, and its source and place is in heaven and not earth, and so, it does not contain anything earthly, not even your physical life, for all things earthly can be lost, and at death will all be lost. But these blessings never fade or diminish.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him.
EPH 1:18 - we are to know it.
EPH 3:16 - it is to give strength to our inner man.
ROM 9:26 - we were prepared beforehand by God to know it.
PHI 4:19 - we are to give of it to others.
COL 1:27 - it is Christ who is in you.
The blessings from God, the goodness of God, the gentleness of God leads men to repentance. God’s patience leads men to repentance. And the Bible shows us that the calamity of God will bring some to repentance. We trust the Father to know what’s best, and especially since all that He does is too high and wonderful for us to understand.
The believer who learns the word of God comes to discover all the blessings that God has given him, and that caused a repentance, or a turning away from self, in his own soul. And that leads us properly to our next passage, the believer knowing how blessed he is becomes an extremely gracious giver.
From the riches of His glory, we receive everything we need for giving graciously to others, for we are to love and give so graciously and abundantly that we need the Lord’s storehouses.
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Note how Paul writes that “I have learned,” “I know how,” and “I have found the secret (been initiated)” showing how he has thoroughly investigated to the point that he was led into the deepest secrets of God’s mystery.
Paul had come to know the riches of God’s glory, and through them, could do anything God called him to do, strengthened by that very glory. He prays in Eph 3 that all believers would enjoy the same strength through knowing the riches of God’s glory.
I think we can conclude confidently that the thorn in his flesh contributed to the deep enlightenment of his inner man. Would he have learned to be content in all things without that thorn and without his having been forced by God to depend upon Him? The suffering and weakness that resulted from that thorn in his flesh forced him to look for the strength that was in the glory of God, and when he found it, he gloried in his weaknesses.
Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast [kauchaomai = “glory in or rejoice”] about my weaknesses [not sin], that the power of Christ may dwell in me [ episkenoo - to spread a tabernacle over; ep’ eme = upon me. “the power of Christ may spread like a tent upon me”].
Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. 15 And you yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. 17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. 18 But I have received everything in full, and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. 19 And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Paul learned the secret of being content. So, although he was limited financially, that didn’t stop Paul’s work. However, with their gift he could likely do more. Yet even that was not what made him rejoice. It was the benefit to the Philippians, “the profit which increases to your account.”
Being a gracious giver has tremendous reward - living content in God’s life and free from the slavery and worry of materialism.
As Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes, all the work and toil under the sun is vanity in the end. All die, all the world is filled with injustice, no one is remembered, time just goes on with one generation after another thinking they’re going to grab hold of life, but it is like grabbing smoke. It’s a depressing book and it’s meant to be. Life under the sun is vapor [hevel - vanity in NASB; meaningless in NIV; can mean breath or smoke].
“Vanity” - hevel = a wisp of vapor, a puff of wind, a mere breath - nothing you could get your hands on; the nearest thing to zero.
Vanity of vanities is the emptiness while holy of holies is the fullness.
The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher,
"Vanity of vanities! All is vanity."
3 What advantage does man have in all his work
Which he does under the sun? [the world’s treadmill]
4 A generation goes and a generation comes,
But the earth remains forever.
The “Preacher” in this book is showing us the man who starts his thinking from man and the observable world, and knows God only from a distance.
He has a romantic venture, or a profitable one, and the appeal of each evaporates as he moves on to the next one.
All things are wearisome;
Man is not able to tell it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor is the ear filled with hearing.
How many ventures will there be? It doesn’t matter for he will be on his last one and he will die. No more ventures. Ah, but he hopes he will leave the world a better place or at least leave something for those that follow.
That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So, there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one might say,
"See this, it is new"?
Already it has existed for ages
Which were before us.
11 There is no remembrance of earlier things;
And also of the later things which will occur,
There will be for them no remembrance
Among those who will come later still.
If all things are mere vapor or futile, does that include holiness, godliness, and God Himself? Solomon will not answer that until the end of the book. Before we get there, he wants us to see the futility of the world by looking closely at things that most people are uncomfortable knowing about. They would rather be blissfully ignorant about them. But Solomon won’t let us. He courageously bids us to look closely at the world around us and he will conclusively show that all of it is futile.
Knowing God, seeing His glory, and having fidelity to His commands alone, is what frees us from the dark complications of the man “under the sun.”
Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. 2 So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. 3 But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.
Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.
But what if you possess life above the sun? Did Solomon lose all sight of it? It is hard to tell.
For it came about when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
The concluding lines speak of the Preacher in the third person as does the introduction, and it is possible that those lines were written by another, though it is impossible to tell. Perhaps Solomon came to his senses when the Lord spoke to him his discipline; we can’t know for sure.
So the Lord said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant.
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.