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January 2, 2006

Ecclesiastes – updated 4.14.2016

Filed under: Bible Studies,Old Testament — Adam Osborne @ 8:35 pm

Chapter 6

Taught on 16 October 2005

Leonardtown Baptist Church

This chapter concludes Solomon’s pursuit and enjoyment of wealth in his search for satisfaction.

INTRO: From Ray Stedman’s commentary.

… We are all facing to one degree or another some sort of hard times ahead. That makes everyone’s heart sink a little; we tend to react emotionally to these circumstances.

Yet our view of life may be so distorted that if hard times actually do come to us they may be the best years of our lives. That is what the Searcher (Solomon) tells us this morning in the passage in Ecclesiastes 6, where he declares that things are not what they seem to be. We think life is one way and it turns out to be something quite different. The thesis of our passage this morning is that we may be reading everything that is happening to us entirely wrong.

In Chapter 6, the Searcher of Israel, says that prosperity may not always be good; and in the first fourteen verses of Chapter 7 he takes up the opposite and accompanying truth — that adversity may not always be bad. What we need, of course, is a true view of good and evil: how to tell good when it is good, and how to recognize evil for what it is. We would save ourselves much heartache if we could do that. The wonderful thing about Scripture is that it does just that. The Searcher here gives us the true view of good and evil.

SHEPHERD NOTES: In verses 1 through 6, the Teacher described a hypothetical person who is superrich by the standards of the ancient world. He had money, things, honor among people, and a hundred children. More than that, he lived 2000 years! For the ancient Israelite, wealth, children and long life were the STANDARDS for JUDGING whether a person was rich. The Teacher contrasted this man with a fetus who is stillborn. Thus, the ultimate “have” (the superrich person) is contrasted with the ultimate “have not” (a stillborn fetus).

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Adam’s comments: It is important to remember here what we are talking about in this chapter. We are not talking about us, about us Christian saved men and women. This chapter is talking about the man or woman who doesn’t know the saving grace of God. A person who does not recognize that all good things are from God.

1 I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on men:

God causes his sun to shine upon the evil as well as upon the good

Matt 5:44-45 (NIV) But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

QUESTION: Why does God cause his sun to shine upon the EVIL as well as upon the good?

Matthew Henry: “Common” mercies sent from God, more proof of God’s goodness to all.

It is given to the just as well as the unjust, so that so that we cannot know love and hatred by what is before us, but by what is within us; not by the shining of the sun on our heads, but by the rising of the Sun of Righteousness in our hearts.

The gifts of God’s bounty to wicked men that are in rebellion against him, teach us to do good to those that hate us; especially considering, that though there is in us a carnal mind which is enmity to God, yet we share in his bounty.

Those only will be accepted as the children of God, who study to resemble him, particularly in his goodness.

2 God gives a man wealth, possessions and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires, but God does not enable him to enjoy them, and a stranger enjoys them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.

Verses 1 and 2: Immediately, Solomon recognizes that to have abundance and possessions — all that money can buy — and yet lack the power to enjoy them is a very heavy burden to bear.

To make matters even worse, the Searcher says, material wealth and abundance can be frustrating: imagine a stranger enjoying what you cannot enjoy.

That would make one very frustrated, even resentful: “Why couldn’t I enjoy it?” he would be entitled to ask.

The key to all of this is in the words, “God does not give him power to enjoy.”

WHY WOULD GOD NOT GIVE US THE ABILITY TO HAVE PLEASURE? The answer has already been given. Look at Ecclesiastes 2: 25-26.

25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.

Ray Stedman….”To the man who pleases him.” Again, I am afraid many people read that as though it means that some level of religious performance, some standard of morality, like joining a church or coming to meetings, is what pleases God. We must understand that the Scriptures never say that. Faith is what pleases God, believing him, taking him at his word and acting upon that word. This is what pleases God: obedience based upon faith. To such a man or woman God gives the gift of enjoying whatever he or she has. How little or how much it may be, is a gift poured out and taken from his hand. That is why gratitude, to be grateful for what you get, is the most important element of our lives.

3 A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.

Why did Solomon say “a hundred children”?

Represents a long life, a lot of children and grandchildren…things that would normally make us very happy.

Then to make it even more grand he will live for MANY years, which should even make him happier.

The “reference” referring that a stillborn child is better off than he:

Matthew Henry says: “Better is the fruit that drops from the tree before it is ripe than that which is left to hang on till it is rotten.”

Job also thought of this…that it would have been better to have never been born….

Job 3:16 (NIV) Or why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day?

4 It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded.

In other words, the stillborn child is very sad, never knowing the light of day, knowing only darkness, with no name.

Note: Solomon was not trying to teach us anything about the eternal destiny of a stillborn child. He was just saying that the child had never seen the sun.

5 Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man–

Those that live in willful ignorance are no better than an untimely birth that has not seen the sun nor known any thing.

6 even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?

This man will meet the same fate as the stillborn child and will ultimately die.

7 All man’s efforts are for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied.

Adam Clarke’s commentary: “When a man learns to provide for his soul as he does for his body, then he will begin to be happy.

Worldly sinful desires are insatiable.

Still focusing on “wealth” here.

8 What advantage has a wise man over a fool? What does a poor man gain by knowing how to conduct himself before others?

Conversation now shifts to WISDOM. Solomon says, “What advantage has the wise man over the fool?”

Adam Clarke’s commentary: “They must both labor for the same end. Both depend upon the labor for of themselves or others for the necessities of life. Both must eat and drink in order to live. The necessities of life are the same to both and their condition in life is nearly similar….liable to the same diseases and death.

You may be wise in your investments, careful with your money, you may pursue pleasure moderately, but it is still not going to work; if that is all you have you are no different than the fool.

“who knows how to conduct himself before the living”

Even a poor man who learns how to attract others to himself by means of his charming personality is still left empty, lonely and miserable inside.

9 Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Now we have moved from “wealth”, then “wisdom”, to a roving dreamer who wants more and more.

Better to take pleasure in what you have (what the eyes see), than to daydream about pursuing something more.

SUMMARY SO FAR: (Shepherd Notes) The intellectual seeks knowledge with the same zeal by which the miser seeks money. Both are driven by the “appetites.” Their motives are not really all that different. Both seek permanence and significance in the face of death and a tumble into meaningless.

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And here is the answer, here is the “reason” why you can not be happy without God…verse 10

10 Whatever exists has already been named, and what man is has been known; no man can contend with one who is stronger than he.

Stedman: – The Searcher (Solomon) is telling us here that God has decreed that enjoyment cannot be found by effort, by work, and by the pursuit of pleasure. Enjoyment must be taken as a gift from God’s hand; that decree is as unalterable as the law of gravity. You may not agree with God about it, you may not like it, but there it is; it cannot be changed.

OUR study book said: “Solomon says we should celebrate and enjoy life for what it is–a precious gift from God. God made life to be enjoyed, not to be collected.

The Searcher points out three things about this:

First, God decreed it before man was ever created Whatever exists has already been named ” — before it happened. Even man did not come to be before he was named in the mind and thought of God; and God created this strange law of life before man ever appeared on earth.

Secondly, it was decreed in view of what man is: ” what man is has been known.” God made us. He knows what we are like, how we function, what will satisfy and what will not. In view of that, he set up this decree that enjoyment cannot be found from the possession of things. Jesus stated that very plainly: “A man’s life does not consist of the abundance of things which he possesses.”

Then, thirdly, the Searcher says that it was decreed in spite of man: ” no man can contend with one who is stronger than he.” How are you going to change the laws of God? They govern your life whether you like it or not. Though this may appear to be very much against us, nevertheless there is nothing we can do about it.

” no man can contend with one who is stronger than he”. When Job was discussing his dilemma with his “friends”, he said this….

Job 33:12 (NIV) “But I tell you, in this you are not right, for God is greater than man.

11 The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?

Arguing does not help.

C.S. Lewis said: “To argue with God is to argue with the very power that makes it possible to argue at all.”

Shepherd Notes: Now that we have fallen, and now that the knowledge of good and evil has enslaved us in death, we realize that an excess of words (knowledge) will not save us.

Our study books said ” Solomon is basically saying that we can talk back to God allwe want, but we will just end up frustrated.” God says “Life is to know me.”

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Before reading verse 12: QUESTION: How many times in life do we think “WE” know what is good or bad for us? How many times have you really wanted (or even prayed) for something only to find out later that it would have not been good if that would have happened?

What are some of the times when “we” are making decisions based on what WE think is good or bad for us?

job hunting

marriage

moving

12 For who knows what is good for a man in life, during the few and meaningless days he passes through like a shadow? Who can tell him what will happen under the sun after he is gone?

Verse 12:

First he asks “Who knows true value in life?” Where is the man who understands everything, who knows what in life is good and what is bad?

“Who can tell him what will happen under the sun after he is gone”?

In other words, “Who can what the results of our present choices will be?” In other words, we don’t even know what we should wish for.

QUESTIONS from the study book:

1) What are some lessons you have learned that have had a “high tuition.” Are there things you did not learn except from experience? What was the process like?

“high tuition”…. When you walk away from God, God does not walk away from you. I forfeited many years of joy and peace while trying to run my own life apart from God.

Are there things I did not learn except from experience? I learned about how “hard” life can be apart from God. My rough times eventually drove me back to God, but I don’t feel any better because I have experienced those times. I only experienced those times because I was outside the will of God. God never intended those hard times for me, I caused them because of my sinful behavior. I didn’t have to go through those hard times.

2) What are some of the things you do just to enjoy life?

Pray. Get close to God. Enjoy the peacefulness of his STRENGTH and his love.

Eat dinner as a family. Sit, talk, laugh, smile, cry, etc. Get to really know them, how they think, how they act, what their friends are like. Sometimes I use these conversations to “shape” their thinking, to teach them Christian principles.

Reading the bible…sometimes it can be a real comfort. A calmness in the storm.

3) You can be miserable or you can be happy. Think back to times when you have made that choice. What factors influenced your attitude? How do we make the choice to be happy?

Factors influencing my attitude: The more I read the bible, and the closer I get to God, the more I know when I am sinning by my ungodly attitude. When I get angry at my wife, or my co-worker, God’s holy spirit convicts me of that sin much more than in the past.

I have actually thought in my mind…. you can make a choice here… you can just walk away from this anger or you can chose to be sinful and angry…..

4) Why is it so hard sometimes to chose to be happy, rather than choosing to be angry or sad?

Our pride. Sometimes choosing to be happy means forgiving others of something they have done to us. Our pride wants to pay them back or to get angry.

5) Talk about a time when God used “hard times” to drive you back to the throne of Grace.

LOOKING AHEAD TO CHAPTER SEVEN

Stedman: If prosperity is not always good, as he has clearly shown in Chapter SIX, then it is equally true that adversity is not always bad. Suppose the hard times do come? Many good and even great things can come out of that.

Bibliography:

1) A Life Well Lived, A Study of Ecclesiastes. 2005. Tommy Nelson. Broadman & Holdman Publishers, Nashville, TN.

2) Shepherd’s Notes. Ecclesiastes / Song of Solomon. 1995. Broadman & Holdman Publishers, Nashville, TN.

3) Adam Clarke’s Commentaries. First release in England in 1810. Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN.

4) Ray C. Stedman, Title: Why does God allow This? Series: Things that Don’t Work: Ecclesiastes
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 4:1-5:20 Message No: 4 Catalog No: 3809 Date: October 10, 1982

5) Matthew Henry’s Study bible, World Bibles, 1994.

6) Thru the Bible with Vernon McGee. Thomas Nelson INC, Nashville, TN. 1983.


Last edited for HTML content on 1.22.2016… God’s blessings upon you all!

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CHAPTER 7

To be taught on 23 October 2005

Leonardtown Baptist Church

Vernon McGee’s comments: This is the last experiment that Solomon tries. He has made experiments in everything under the sun to see if any of it would bring satisfaction and enjoyment to him. He tried science, the study of the natural laws of the universe, which made some contribution but did not satisfy him. Then he went into the study of philosophy and psychology. They didn’t satisfy. He went the limit on pleasure and materialism. He tried fatalism, which is such a popular philosophy of life today. He tried egoism, living for self. Then he tried religion — no religion can satisfy because only Christ can satisfy the heart. Wealth was another thing which Solomon tried. He was the wealthiest man in the world, but he found that wealth did not bring satisfaction in and of itself.

Now we will see him try the last experiment: morality. Today we would call him a “do-gooder.” I would say that this is the place to which the majority of the people in America are moving. (I think the majority would still be classified as do-gooders.) They are going down the middle of the road on the freeway of life. This group can be described as the Babbitts, doing business in the Big City, under a neon sign, living out in suburbia, in a sedate, secluded, exclusive neighborhood, and taking it easy. Their children go to the best schools. They move with the best crowds. They go to the best church, the richest church in the neighborhood, the one with the tallest steeple, the loudest chimes, and the most educated preacher, who knows everything that man can possibly know, except the Bible (of course, if he did know and preach the Bible, he would lose his job). This is the kind of do-good society Solomon now tries.

VERSES 7:1-14 OUTLINE = HARD TIMES ARE NOT BAD; THEY SHAPE US.

QUESTION for the group: The study book says that “trials, such as cancer, have a very beneficial purpose, they purify you.” What do you think that means? Give examples:

Trials show you what you are.

They put your faith to test.

Whatever comes out of you when you are hit, shows who you really are.

Trials perfect you. It will bring you to the end of your physical, intellectual rope.

Trials make you pray and go to the bible.

Trials make you trust.

Trials make you go to Christ.

Trials prove you.

Trials humanize you, they can make you sweet and sensitive.

QUESTION for the group: How does the group feel about this quote from A.W. Tozer: “God cannot use a man until He has hurt him deeply.”

Certainly is true in my case. God had to drive me to my knees before I would listen….. (1) Mary’s illnesses and (2) crisis at work

QUESTION for the group: What would you do if you only had ONE MORE DAY to live?

Go around the room, ask for answers. Discuss.

Discuss how that day would be different than the way we are actually going to live out the rest of this week, month, year.

Wisdom

1 A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.

“A good name” = God is committed to our character, not our “ointments or perfume”.

What does “fine perfume” represent in this text?

That is how people during this era got ready for a party. They would dress up for the occasion and put on their best perfume.

What is Solomon saying when he says “and the day of death better than the day of birth”?

Our study book says, “If you want character and a good name, sometimes death is better than life.” Sometimes a funeral is better than a party because pain makes you real. Pain can get you thinking straight.”

2 It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.

Why does Solomon say that it is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting?

Because in a house of mourning you see the end of every man. The wise person will take it to heart. The house of mourning will change you.

I REALLY liked the point that Tommy Nelson (author of our books) said here….”I can go preach a sermon at the bar, but people don’t want to listen because they are too busy laughing. But whenever I conduct a funeral, I have the audience’s full attention. Funerals are a reminder that one day you are going to die.”

3 Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.

Why does Solomon say that “sorrow better than laughter”?

A person who is laughing is not facing reality. He’s not learning anything about the nature of life; he’s just pretending that happiness will make him whole. But man’s highest purpose is not simply to enjoy life, but rather to know God.

OK, at this point, it is important to remember what Solomon is trying to teach us here. Here’s trying to teach us that hard times are useful, they serve a purpose, they force us to reach out to God. I think Solomon is just like one of those old time, southern Baptist evangelists like my dad was (is), he restates things, time and time again, sometimes over exaggerating the point, just to drive the point home.

Next section = HARD TIMES BRING WISDOM

4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.

SUMMARY OF 1-4: Knowledge alone will not save us or allow us to escape the fact of our mortality. In fact the wisest thing we can do is face death and reckon with the issue of how we ought to spend our days.

QUESTION for the group: Is the point of all of these scriptures so far that we should be MISERABLE? If not, what is the point?

We should face facts soberly and make good decisions about how to spend our limited time.

QUESTION for the group: Has anyone here ever had a near death experience? Something that really shook you up and forced you to face your mortality?

struck by lightning, a bad car wreck where other people died, etc.

Did it actually change your opinions about life?

5 It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke than to listen to the song of fools.

How many of you can honestly say that you respond “favorably” when someone rebukes you? What is our natural tendency?

Can someone give an example of when a wise man’s “rebuke” led you in the right direction?

Pastor John Fields took me aside for quite a few discussions after I first became a deacon. Sometimes I came on a little strong, or I said things that might offend the other deacons….his counsel was wise and timely and CORRECT! God used John to help me relate to the other deacons.

Prov 9:8 (NIV) Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.

Prov 15:31 (NIV) He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise.

6 Like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of fools. This too is meaningless.

What is this “crackling of thorns under the pot” stuff? What’s that all about?

Study book: Thorns are great to start a fire with because they burn bright and hot. But the also burn quickly and then they are gone. While they are burning they crackle and pop like laughter.

Solomon is saying that a fool’s laughter is like burning thorns. It sounds great and makes a lot of noise, but it’s gone in a flash.

7 Extortion turns a wise man into a fool, and a bribe corrupts the heart.

OK, so where are we going here? Why would a wise man even consider extortion, or why would a wise man consider a bribe?

Power, more and more power. Being surrounded by godless people, who seek power and position, can tempt you. In order to keep up with them, if you are “power” driven, you might be tempted to these type of things in order to succeed.

Summary of this verse….be just and live with integrity.

8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.

Relating verse 8 to verse 7….verse 7 talks about extortion, and verse 8 talks about the “end of a matter”. So, what he’s saying here is just be patient, be true, don’t get ahead by extortion or bribery. If you do things the right way, the Godly way, then the “end” will be better than the beginning.

9 Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

Tommy Nelson discussed that this text was actually talking about getting mad at God Himself. Getting angry for a death of a loved one, your sickness, etc.

Have patience with God, his ways are better than our ways.

You are a fool if you choose to become angry at God.

SUMMARY OF 8 & 9. Cynics and fools laugh at the “stupidity” of trying to maintain righteousness in a world where corruption is the norm and where money rules everything. But a person should patiently wait to see how things turn out. Wisdom is justified in the long run.

10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.

Do not complain to God asking Him why he isn’t doing what he used to do…complaining that your life used to be good but now it’s hard.

Remember, God knows what is good for you….you do not.

11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun.

QUESTION: How do we obtain “wisdom” or knowledge? Can we get it from just reading about it?

No, usually you have to “experience” it before you can understand it and help someone else through it. That’s why God will let us suffer some times. To give us wisdom.

12 Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.

The wisdom that God gives you is meant to protect you, or mold you, in your daily lives.

There is a family that goes to this church, I will keep their name anonymous. This is a true story. A father, a mother, a son in his early teens, and a daughter approaching her teen age years. The son is in the youth group. Before his mother was diagnosed with a life threatening disease, this boy was an unbelievable problem child. One of the most challenging I have ever had the displeasure of trying to teach. But then, we all got news about his mother being gravely ill…. the kind of illness that can easily result in death. Over the last year I have seen this boy change, I mean totally change. Now, that same boy, is one of the most pleasant boys in the youth group. I truly enjoy being around him. He is now kind, and courteous, and helpful.

That’s how God works. This news did not have to change this kid for the better, actually things could have gotten worse. But the father and the mother never faltered in their worship. They came week after week, praying and serving and worshipping God. I believe GOD Himself gave the son “wisdom.” God used this scary experience to reverse this young man’s negative behavior.

13 Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?

QUESTION: Do we sometimes want to change what God has done, or is doing in our lives? Do we sometimes want to take matters in to our own hands and run it ourselves?

Solomon reminds us that we can not change God’s ultimate plan. Embrace God’s plan for your life.

14 When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.

How many of us, when good stuff happens to us, wait for the other shoe to drop?

Remember that song, back in the mid 80’s….”Don’t worry, be happy.” When God send you His blessings, rejoice in it!

When times turn back, stay with God and remember that He is probably trying to teach you something. Have faith in God, continue to rejoice, and persevere.

Prov 3:6 (KJV) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

I like what Tommy Nelson said about this scripture: “If you are in a time of pain and adversity right now, be patient. A day of prosperity is coming. And if you are in a time of prosperity, in which everything is great, start preparing. A day of pain and prosperity and adversity is just around the corner.

SUMMARY OF THE LAST FEW VERSES: Although neither wealth nor wisdom can save us from the limitations of our mortality, both have their place in life. We should accept our limitations, fear God, and live balanced lives.

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VERSES 15 TO 29: Solomon is going to remind us that we need to have a correct perspective on not only “adversity” but also ourselves. A person who hasn’t learned humility will always have a problem with God.

So far in this chapter we have discussed (1) prosperity isn’t always good and (2) adversity isn’t always bad. Now we will discuss trusting God even when things don’t add up.

15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: a righteous man perishing in his righteousness, and a wicked man living long in his wickedness.

Off the top of your heads, what “righteous people” do you know of died for righteousness sake?

Jesus Christ

All but one of the apostles

Missionaries

On the other side of the coin, what “wicked” men (women) have you seen living long is his/her wickedness?

Madona…corrupted millions of children, starting the MTV craze.

Larry Flint – Hustler magazine. Pornography is a proven home wrecker and corrupter of minds.

Hugh Hefner – Playboy magazine. This guy is so bad, he even passed his pornography business to his DAUGHTER!

16 Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise– why destroy yourself?

What is this saying? Is this saying that we should just be mediocre Christians? Is this saying that if we work hard to be righteous and wise that we will destroy ourselves?

Our study guide points out that this scripture is saying that we shouldn’t think we are smart enough or wise enough to understand what God is doing.

However, isn’t this also saying to not be a “holier than though” kind of person…. a person who “knows it all” type? God doesn’t want a show off either. A “know it all” or an overly righteous person can actually bring damage to the kingdom of God.

Off the top of your heads, can anyone give me a few scriptures that says we are to keep growing, we are to keep striving, we are to get wiser?

2 Cor 13:11 (NIV) Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

Matt 5:48 (NIV) Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

1 Peter 1:16 (NIV) for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

17 Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool– why die before your time?

How many of us have done wicked or STUPID things? Before you were Christians, did you ever drink and drive? Did you ever intentionally go out of your way to hurt or damage someone in a wicked moment?

18 It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all [extremes].

Grasp one = verse 17…do not be overwicked and don’t be a fool.

let go of the other = verse 16.. do not be overrighteous or overwise. Remember, you are just a sinner saved by grace. Not of works, you can not earn it.

Fearing God will put you in the right perspective.

19 Wisdom makes one wise man more powerful than ten rulers in a city.

OK, so we’ve talked about how we gain “wisdom” from the lessons that God teaches us. Now, how many of you have heard the saying “be careful what you ask for?”

James 1:5 (NIV) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

So….chew on that for a little while. How many of you have asked for wisdom but then moaned and groaned when life became hard? God is answering your prayers but you complain about it.

Yes, it is good to ask God for wisdom, we should constantly strive for wisdom from God. But, just so you know, wisdom might come from a few of life’s school of hard knocks too. Wisdom is just not being able to understand that scripture, or remember the scriptures, wisdom also comes from the experiences in life.

I like what Tommy Nelson said here ” You can surround yourself with the greatest men, but if you know and fear God, you’re ahead of the pack.

More scriptures on wisdom:

Prov 24:5 (NIV) A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength;

Prov 8:11 (NIV) for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

20 There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.

Romans 3:10 (NIV) As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;

21 Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you–

Look at verse 20 first, then look at this verse.

So, let me ask you…. as Christian men and women, have you ever done or said anything that would make a person NOT like you?

Of course, everyone has. We all make mistakes.

In other words…what is this saying?

Don’t be surprised or hurt when you hear that people don’t like you because of your sin. And, don’t be surprised when, because of your sin, people have a reason to NOT like you.

And why did this verse particularly say “you may hear your servant cursing you”? Why “servant”?

Because your employees know the “true” you. You can fool some people that you don’t see routinely, but your employees see the real you.

Now, how do we react when we hear bad things about us? Do we turn inward and evaluate ourselves? Or, do we become angry and strike back? What’s our natural response?

22 for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.

You reap what you sow? What goes around comes around.

Shepherd Notes: Verses 19-22….we need to learn how to get along with people, lead people, and get the best from people, even though they are all sinners. Another way of saying this is that we need to understand what agape love is all about.

What is “agape” love? Dictionary: Love as revealed in Jesus, seen as spiritual and selfless and a model for humanity.

23 All this I tested by wisdom and I said, “I am determined to be wise”– but this was beyond me.

I tried as hard as I could, I tried to get wiser, but I couldn’t. Man can only obtain “so” much on his own. There is a limit even for the richest king, the wisest king, that ever walked our planet.

24 Whatever wisdom may be, it is far off and most profound– who can discover it?

25 So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.

NOTE: The Shepherd’s Notes says this about verses 26 to 29. “The key to interpreting verses 26 to 29 is to recognize that it builds upon Genesis 3:15 – a text that teaches that because of sin, family life will be filled with grief.”

It also says…” The Teacher’s point is not that marriage is a bad thing or that righteous people should avoid it. Rather, those who fear God can have a marriage that is characterized by love instead of strife. but just as sin has corrupted the political realm, so it has also corrupted marriage.”

26 I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare.

27 “Look,” says the Teacher, “this is what I have discovered: “Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things–

28 while I was still searching but not finding– I found one [upright] man among a thousand, but not one [upright] woman among them all.

29 This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes.”

Shepherd’s notes: Summary of verses 15 to 29: ” The teacher here took a serious look at human virtue and sin. He concluded that we should fear God but not be driven by religious scruples, that we should be forbearing in the face of the fact that all people are sinners, and that it is only through the fear of God that we can have a happy domestic life.”

QUESTIONS FROM THE BOOK:

1) Why do you think it is so easy for us to have a higher opinion of ourselves than we should? What are some of the motivations that lie behind this?

2) Has there been a time in your life when you were overwhelmed by someone’s sin against you? Does it help to remember that you have also sinned against others? Why or why not?


Bibliography:

1) A Life Well Lived, A Study of Ecclesiastes. 2005. Tommy Nelson. Broadman & Holdman Publishers, Nashville, TN.

2) Shepherd’s Notes. Ecclesiastes / Song of Solomon. 1995. Broadman & Holdman Publishers, Nashville, TN.

3) Adam Clarke’s Commentaries. First release in England in 1810. Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN.

4) Ray C. Stedman, Title: Why does God allow This? Series: Things that Don’t Work: Ecclesiastes
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 4:1-5:20 Message No: 4 Catalog No: 3809 Date: October 10, 1982

5) Matthew Henry’s Study bible, World Bibles, 1994.

6) Thru the Bible with Vernon McGee. Thomas Nelson INC, Nashville, TN. 1983.


Contact Adam

CHAPTER 8

Taught on 30 October 2005

Leonardtown Baptist Church

Our study book says that this chapter discusses “How Should I Act When There Doesn’t Seem Any Way To Win In Life?”

This chapter discusses being courageous in Life and being bold in doing right even if you are not rewarded.

1 Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man’s face and changes its hard appearance.

In other words, “What authority is intelligent enough to be compared with a person who has a Bible in his hand and who knows God’s will?

Solomon is saying that the wise person is illuminated and has so much joy that you can see it on his face.

Our study book talks a lot in this chapter about “Poise”. Can someone define poise for us?

Poise means that you do not “shift” due to outside circumstances.

I really liked what our study book discussed for this verse: “that there is no greater privilege than understanding where we came from, who we are, where we are going, how sin is removed, and what the will of God is.”

We’ve briefly mentioned this before…but for us born again Christians the “wisdom” that we have of God should give us a bright face and we shouldn’t walk around with a “hard appearance” as mentioned in verse one.

Solomon is saying that in a world full of questions, it’s wonderful to know the absolutes of life. We know and understand that God is in control of our life and that the creator of our universe is with us and on our side.

BIBLE TRIVIA FOR THE DAY

Wisdom “brightens a man’s face”: Can anyone remember times in the bible when a man’s face was brightened?

Moses when he came down from the mountain.

Ex 34:30 (NIV) When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.

Jesus when he was transfigured when he was with Peter, James and John.

Matt 17:1-3 (NIV) After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.

2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Stephen…when he was in the Sanhedrin and the Jews were plotting against him.

Acts 6:15 (NIV) All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Obey the King

2 Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God.

OK, that’s not too hard to understand.

Ezra 7:26 (NIV) Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.

Prov 24:21 (NIV) Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with the rebellious,

Romans 13:1 (NIV) Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

So, how many of you have heard your friends, or even “Pastors” of churches talk “bad” about a certain “PRESIDENT” of our country…. President Clinton, or President Bush, etc.

What does the bible say about talking “bad” about your President? Would God approve of such talk?

Romans 13:1 says, as we discussed a few chapters ago, that the authorities that exist have been established by God….so…. if we talk bad about a government, are we really out of God’s will?

FIRST reason to obey government: because you are a citizen of that government. Remember this…”I pledge allegiance, to the flag..”. When you said that as a child, or as an adult, you made a pledge, or a commitment to obey the laws of the land.

Obedience is not always based on convenience. Getting called to jury duty as you are leaving for vacation is not convenient.

I liked what Will Rogers said about government: “We should be glad that we don’t have as much government as we’ve paid for!”

3 Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases.

Do not be in a hurry: (Be patient)

Prov 14:29 (NIV) A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.

Do not stand up for a bad cause: (Use your head…before you lose it)

Prov 16:14 (NIV) A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, but a wise man will appease it.

4 Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?”

SECOND reason why we should obey government (v 3 & 4): Because it has power to compel us to do so.

5 Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.

THIRD reason to obey government: because if we do, no harm can come to us from the government.

Verses 2 through 5: Our study book makes the following points:

These verses remind us that we are called to obey authority. Don’t abandon that position.

Even if you have an evil King, don’t panic.

Every time a person in the Old Testament rebelled against the king, he ended up being killed.

Nobody can challenge the king, he will do what he pleases.

It takes patience and trust in God to submit to frail, human authority (the King).

Our study book also used the story of David and Saul. David, who could have killed King Saul many times, did not kill him. He maintained his “poise” and obeyed God.

Does anyone remember a New Testament book that says almost the exact same thing as verses 2 through 5?

Romans 13, verses 1 through 7. Someone read that for us please.

6 For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him.

Proper Time = voting day…. vote the evil king out! There will also be times when you are “asked” for your input (polls, election meetings, letters, etc.), those are the proper times to face the political agendas.

though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him.

It is HARD for us to remain quiet. We all have the natural tendency to try to fix things. But, these scriptures remind us to have patience. A time and a place will eventually be revealed so that you can correctly voice your opinion and take the necessary actions.

Don’t we believe that God can take an evil man “out” at any time? Anytime he wants to, can’t God turn a government upside down? What recent world events prove this?

The overthrow of IRAQ.

Though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him“… so, this is just saying that even though we suffer because of an evil or misguided King, God is still in control. AND, here we go again, God is not making it easy on us is He. Once again we are to occasionally suffer from injustice.

I liked this statement (question) out of our study books: “If you are going through great struggles right now, how much of your difficulties involve things you can’t change and how much involves things you can change? Verse 6 indicates that you need not worry about the things you can not change. Rest in the sovereignty of God. The things you can change, you need to change.”

—————————————————————————————————

NOW WE TRANSITION AWAY FROM POLITICS.

7 Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?

Since no man knows the future”: Obviously, God has gotten you here in our church somehow. How many of you had to make “choices” that affected you being here right now? For example, I had prayed and prayed to God to lead me to a good Church after I retired from active duty. I got this job offer in Maryland, and I lived in Florida at the time. I didn’t know about LBC, but I trusted that God was leading me in the right direction. After 3 years of prayer, I felt God was answering my prayers, so I listened and I followed. And, here I am today. In the best church I’ve ever had the pleasure of worshipping God in. I could not foresee all that!

Are there any other examples from the group here today?

We can look at this in lots of ways when we are talking about the “FUTURE”.

We can look at this pertaining to our personal future, or our governments future, our church future, etc.

How many of you here today have been praying, and praying, and praying about something but it doesn’t seem like God is answering your prayer about something?

Why? What are some of the things that might be preventing God from answering your prayers right now?

Right now I have a MAJOR prayer. I’ve been praying that my oldest son get saved. Out of my six children, he’s the only one that hasn’t accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior.

This too is out of my control. I can pray, and pray, and pray. After that, I’m just called to let God handle the rest. God hears my prayers and will answer them in his own time.

Our study book reminds us that we are not supposed to keep a stopwatch on God. We are to remain POISED. Keep going to church, keep singing, and keep listening.

8 No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.

The Stedman commentaries say that this verse discusses the possibility of losing your life when obeying the government, like when you go to war.

Looking at this verse it makes three statements: (1) death is wholly in God’s hands. You can go through a combat zone, people will die next to you, left and right of you, but for some reason, you live. God is totally in control, not you. (2) It states that there is no discharge in time of war. War involves a total commitment to your government to try and preserve the integrity and values of our government. As such it requires the wholehearted commitment of it’s citizens. (3) And lastly it says that war does not justify wickedness. A soldier who disobeys the laws of justice while he is wearing the uniform can be guilty of murder just like any private citizen. Wicked violence is not justified.

NEXT…SOLOMON ADDRESSES THE QUESTION “ARE GOVERNMENTS ALWAYS RIGHT? DON’T GOVERNMENTS DO WRONG AT TIMES?”

9 All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own hurt.

Governments come from God right? Both the old and new testaments tell us that.

BUT, evil in government arises from the evil in fallen man, living in a fallen world. “There are none righteous, no not one.”

Does “evil” usually win?

They might, maybe, win in this world. They don’t usually win for their entire life. Their time of ruling is usually brief.

But, there is a judgment day a coming….and we all know that they won’t win in heaven, and that lasts for an ETERNITY.

10 Then too, I saw the wicked buried–those who used to come and go from the holy place and receive praise in the city where they did this. This too is meaningless.

Any idea what this means: “come and go from the holy place”?

The sacred office which they held. Annointed as either kings or priests to God.

receive praise” : some Hebrew manuscripts show this scripture as reading “receive praise and are forgotten”

Once again, good or bad, the end is the same. Men are eventually forgotten and we can’t control the sovereignty of God.

11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.

“Sentence for a crime: Why does God not immediately punish us for our crimes?

God’s longsuffering is meant to give us time to repent of our sinful ways. If he punished us immediately, every time, he’d be constantly punishing us.

Since God doesn’t punish us immediately, what do we do? What do we think?

Since God doesn’t punish us immediately we think that he disregards evil acts; and therefore we are tempted to sin even more because of our sinful nature.

Does anyone here know the significance of the usage of the word “heart” in this scripture?

According to the Bible, the heart is the center not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life. “Heart” and “soul” are often used interchangeably. So, this is actually an extremely powerful statement.

12 Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God.

If God is so merciful to the unrepentant sinner as to delay their punishment, surely he will be peculiarly kind to them that fear him and endeavor to walk uprightly before him.

I know that it will go better with God-fearing men: Anyone know of any scriptures that tell us this:

Deut 4:40 (NIV) Keep his decrees and commands, which I am giving you today, so that it may go well with you and your children after you and that you may live long in the land the LORD your God gives you for all time.

Isaiah 3:10 (NIV) Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.

13 Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.

wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them : God will judge the wrong in his own time. God will preserve the innocent.

QUESTION: Do evil men get away with evil things indefinitely on this earth? Don’t we believe that for the most part, evil men will be found out one day and will be punished for their deeds?

Job 20:5 (NIV) that the mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.

14 There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless.

Once again, as in previous chapters, Solomon is telling us to not be surprised by injustice. Just know that it is out there and God is still in control.

15 So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.

QUESTION: If we were sad every time we saw an injustice in this world, would there ever be a time when we could be happy?

1 Tim 6:17 (NIV) Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

16 When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe man’s labor on earth–his eyes not seeing sleep day or night–

When I applied my mind to know wisdom = Adam Clarke’s commentary:

This is the reply of the wise man, “I have also considered these seeming contradictions. God governs the world; but we can not see the reasons of his conduct, nor know why he does this, omits that, or permits a third thing. We may study night and day, and deprive ourselves of rest and sleep, but we shall never fathom the depths that are in the Divine government; but all is right and just. But eternity is at hand; and then shall every man receive according to his works.”

17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.

God’s nature is such that (1) That a man cannot find it out and (2) that if he does labor to find it out he shall not succeed and (3) it is beyond our abilities.

S/N = “When wisdom fails, we must simply trust God and realize that we are in His hands. It is more important that we yield to Him than that we know how to master life itself.


Bibliography:

1) A Life Well Lived, A Study of Ecclesiastes. 2005. Tommy Nelson. Broadman & Holdman Publishers, Nashville, TN.

2) Shepherd’s Notes. Ecclesiastes / Song of Solomon. 1995. Broadman & Holdman Publishers, Nashville, TN.

3) Adam Clarke’s Commentaries. First release in England in 1810. Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN.

4) Ray C. Stedman, Title: Can we Trust Government ? Series: Things that Don’t Work: Ecclesiastes Scripture: Ecclesiastes 4:1-5:20 Message No: 4 Catalog No: 3809 Date: November 21, 1982

5) Matthew Henry’s Study bible, World Bibles, 1994.

6) Thru the Bible with Vernon McGee. Thomas Nelson INC, Nashville, TN. 1983.

CHAPTER 11

Taught on 20 November 2005

Leonardtown Baptist Church

“How Should A Christian Deal With An Uncertain Future and Growing Old?”

OUTLINE for our upcoming study:

Be courageous in Life = Eccl 8:1 to 12:8

Be bold in doing right even if you are not rewarded = Eccl 8:1 to 10:12

Be bold in enjoying life, although death will come.

Can someone share with the group a time in your life when you had something planned perfectly, every “t” was crossed and every “i” was dotted, but your plans fell apart?

Another question for the group. Have many of you are “what if” people?

Well, I can’t do that, what if this should happen….or…what if that should happen?

How many of you know people like that?

Another question for the group. Before I ask you this question about yourselves, I’ll tell you in advance that I AM one of these people. This fear still controls me in certain circumstances

How many of you would do “more” but you are afraid of failure? Example: How many of you have thought that you wouldn’t mind teaching a class, but the thought of public speaking scares you so much that you don’t do it?

In this chapter Solomon will explain to us that life is full of unexpected contingencies. Solomon says we can live boldly even though life is unpredictable.

Bread Upon the Waters

1 Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.

Our study book explained the “cast your bread upon the waters” line. It refers to doing business in grain by putting it on a ship and having to set sail to be traded…casting it on the waters.

The only way to get that financial return on your investment was to take the “some” risk.

Isaiah 32:8 (NIV) But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands.

Ray Stedman’s commentaries point out that this verse is also referring to “giving” generously. Cast your bread out generously upon the waters, for after many days, when you might need help too, it will come back to you. In other words, “What goes around, comes around.”

SUMMARY: Don’t be afraid of doing good, even though the reward might be late in coming…at least in this world…

2 Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.

OK, let me ask you. Where do we hear this advice in today’s society all the time? Dividing your portions? Diversifying?

Stock market. Your portfolio manager will constantly tell you that you should not have all your eggs in one basket.

Speaking of “Portions”….where should some of our “portions” go? What does the bible say?

We should give some of our portions to the less fortunate:

Neh 8:10 (NIV) Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

1 Tim 6:18 (NIV) Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.

Luke 6:30 (NIV) Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

In keeping with Stedman’s comments above about giving generously, Stedman goes on to say that this verse also means to give as generously as you possibly can, and then some more.

for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land = Well, don’t take this the wrong way, but this verse makes good political sense. This verse tells you to give good and hard, as much as you can, because you might have problems one day and the more people you have helped, the more you might have that want to help you in return when you really need it.

3 If clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there will it lie.

One of the commentaries said that this verse was a pair of proverbs on misfortune: “If clouds are full (that is to say….if it looks like a storm is coming) they pour out rain upon the earth”. In other words, we should try to read economic conditions and act accordingly. Which way a tree will fall basically means “Which ever way the cookie crumbles” type of thing, in other words, what will happen will happen.

Adam Clarke’s commentary: We should act as the clouds; when they are full they pour out their water indifferently on the field and on the desert. Give charity indiscriminately. He goes on to explain even if you occasionally give it to the unworthy that is better than trying to discriminate and then not giving it to the real needy.

Other commentaries said that this confusing verse was actually referring to God’s continued blessings upon us. Sometimes we get them, sometimes our neighbor gets them:

Clouds full of water: God sends the rain for our crops,

Tree falling: Wood for fires. Sometimes for us, sometimes for our neighbors.

Psalms 65:9-10 (NIV) You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. 10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops.

Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV) As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

LET US ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT EVERYTHING WE HAVE IS PROVIDED BY GOD, OUR PROVIDER AND REEDEMER. All he would need to do is make a whisper and our clouds would dry up and our farms would become desert.

Now, let’s talk about the last verse that we just read, Isaiah 55:11….. 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it…….Someone explain to me what this verse just told us! This is a BEAUTIFUL, awesome, stand-up-and-shout kind of promise!

God’s Word, the Holy Bible, can NOT return empty. God will accomplish what He wants for His purpose.

When God inspires you share a scripture with someone, when God leads you to give someone a bible, God’s Word can not, will not, return void.

4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

watches the wind = How many of you have “delayed” life while trying to figure out what to do? Trying to figure out which way the wind will blow type of thing.

looks at the clouds = How many of you have procrastinated and didn’t act on something, kind of looking at the clouds type of thing….then you procrastinated so long that you didn’t reap?

College / education

Scholarship applications

Finding a new job

Buying that new house

Stedman, in terms of giving says: “watches the wind will not plant” means that do not wait until the perfect time to give (until you have more money than you need) because the perfect time will never come. Give while the need is present.

In other words, verse four tells us to not be so cautious that we never act.

5 As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.

In other words…. Don’t let what you don’t know, disturb what you do know.

Life is unpredictable and mysterious, but God is the Maker (and controller) of all things. Have faith, rest in the knowledge that God, our Father, loves us and will provide for us.

John 3:8 (NIV) The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

6 Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.

Sow your seed in the morning. Obviously this was making a reference the “farming”, but what other “sowing” could Solomon be referring to here?

Hosea 10:12 (NIV) Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.

2 Cor 9:6 (NIV) Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

This is with everything…. tithing…giving to others…your time in bible study… love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.

Be ready at all times to show mercy, to give generously. Start sowing in the morning, continuing to evening.

ALSO, this verse is saying to attempt to try a lot of things, not just a few things. In church, try singing in the Choir, or teaching a Sunday School class, or helping with the Home School ministry. Try lots of things and find out which ones God will bless.

let not your hands be idle = once again, another scriptural reference to “work”. (Steve Vellines knows his stuff!)

Remember Your Creator While Young

7 Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.

Life is good…. OK, we have time for one more verse….”Don’t worry, be happy.”

8 However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. But let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything to come is meaningless.

days of darkness = when you get old and start to slow down.

Everything to come is meaningless…everything to come on THIS EARTH is meaningless. We were not created just for this earth, to just “be here” and now. We were created to have a relationship with God, for all eternity.

9 Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.

How many of you, like ME, wasted so many days of your strong youth on the wrong pursuits? Pursuits of the “flesh.” How many of you have thought, “Man, if I just would have followed God for all those years, how much more he could have used me for His purposes!

Question….is this something that we just all have to go through, do we all need to sow our wild oats before we start listening to God and following his will?

As parents, what role do we have to play in this? Can we teach or train our children so that they do not waste their youthful lives in childish, youthful pursuits?

“Young Man”…..As in the book of Proverbs, Solomon addresses the “Young Man” group so that they may receive special attention in Wisdom Literature because they represented the leadership for the future.

Whoa…OK, this makes the most sense. Be happy, youth is great, enjoy your life, but be careful. Play within the rules. Don’t sow wild oats because judgment time is around the bend.

How many of you think that the secular world thinks that we Christians are just plain old unhappy people? Do we Christians usually look like we are happy? On TV, when they talk about Christians, is it synonymous with happiness?

10 So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless.

So, here’s how to live:

FIRST: Remove anxiety from your mind/heart. The King James uses “Vexation” which combines anger and resentment. Don’t let things gnaw at you that are ungodly.

SECOND: Cast off the troubles of your body.

drugs

wrong use of sexual powers

things that are bad for you like excessive drinking, smoking, any kind of things that are bad for your body.

THIRDLY and lastly: Recognize that being “Young and having vigor” was NOT the reason why you were created. That type of thinking is meaningless. Being young will not satisfy. Recognize that the only meaningful thing in life is recognizing WHO God is! Having a full time, meaningful RELATIONSHIP with God. Life finds its fulfillment, its meaning, its significance, only as you develop a relationship with the living God daily. ETERNITY ALONE IS PERMANENT, LIVE FOR ETERNITY.


Bibliography:

1) A Life Well Lived, A Study of Ecclesiastes. 2005. Tommy Nelson. Broadman & Holdman Publishers, Nashville, TN.

2) Shepherd’s Notes. Ecclesiastes / Song of Solomon. 1995. Broadman & Holdman Publishers, Nashville, TN.

3) Adam Clarke’s Commentaries. First release in England in 1810. Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN.

4) Ray C. Stedman – Title: How, then, Should we Live? Series: Things that Don’t Work: Ecclesiastes

5) Matthew Henry’s Study bible, World Bibles, 1994.

6) Thru the Bible with Vernon McGee. Thomas Nelson INC, Nashville, TN. 1983.

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