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Ecclesiastes 10:1-20

 

“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour:  so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. 2 A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left. 3 Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool. 4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offenses. 5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler: 6 folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place. 7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth. 8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. 9 Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby. 10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength:  but wisdom is profitable to direct. 11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better. 12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. 13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness:  and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. 14 A fool also is full of words:  a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him? 15 The labour of the foolish weareth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city. 16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! 17 Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is a son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of hands the house droppeth through. 19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry:  but money answereth all things. 20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber:  for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.”

 

Introduction

 

“Ecclesiastes chapter 10, we are on the heals of the end of chapter 9 where he is talking about the wonder of wisdom.  Of course as he wrote this, he didn’t stop and then put chapter 10, verse 1, this was one thought to him [i.e. the whole of Ecclesiastes].  In chapter 9, verse 17 he says “The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.” that just to sit with those that are wise, and to hear their counsel, their wisdom.  Wisdom is better, he says, than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.  So wisdom, a blessing, but one person’s sin, you know, this has never changed and never will.  Sin makes a mess.  Just put the bumper-sticker, “sin makes a mess,” your sin is never going to be exempt from that rule.  It’s not like everybody has sin through human history and it’s been a mess, and you’re gonna do it and it’s going to be a good thing, it’s never going to happen.  Sin makes a mess.  It’s with that thought then, he moves on to chapter 10.  Solomon, you’ll get to ask him, ‘What were you thinking when you kind of put that in there?’  He says “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour:  so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” (verse 1) that’s the only good fly, as far as I’m concerned.  I don’t like flies, I can live without the little yellow-jackets in the ground, mosquitos, and I think the lord of the flies bothers me sometimes.  Sometimes I’m trying to study and there’s one in the house, this whole house, there’s fruit upstairs in the kitchen, he doesn’t want to be up there at all, he’s down buzz, going by me, buzz, you guys know what I’m talking about?  ‘you have the whole house, just leave me alone, I’m trying to study.’  It gets worse.  One time I was drinking iced tea, some of you have heard this story before, and you know how you get to the orange and the lemon, you kind of get the pulp?  And I was chewing it up and taste something funny, spit it out and it was a fly that had one wing [loud laughter].  It happens.  I still like iced tea… “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a sinking savour:  so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” (verse 1) so he ends the chapter before this, he says “Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.” Because one sinner, to make a mess, destroys much good.  He says it’s like a little fly, the person in the apothecary, you know there were different ointments.  If you’ve been to the Middle East, we don’t know nothing about perfume, let me tell you here, I’m telling you that.  You think you know about perfume, go on over there.  They have these shops in the market, and they’ll actually mix scents, you think you know about jewelry, you don’t know nothing about jewelry, go over there and look at jewelry.  You have anything that would be big and gawdy here, is big and beautiful there, they’ve just been doing it so much longer.  So they mix all these scents.  Solomon says in the apothecary all you need is a dead fly to get in there, and…they make this stuff now supposedly with pheromones in it that attract the opposite sex, some of that stuff smells like dead animals.  ‘What have you got on, was he cleaning up the cage somewhere?’  ‘Oh no, he’s got that stuff on that’s attractive,’  ‘What’s it attractive to? female hippopotamus?’  Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking odour, Solomon thinking about how one sinner can make a mess, and he says so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” the thing is, you do one little thing sometimes, it ruins your reputation, you know.  A little leaven leavens the whole lump, Paul says in the New Testament.  So somebody whose in a position, they’re respected, they do one stupid thing, they do something foolish, it ruins their testimony, it becomes a bad testimony, and he says it’s the same as one little fly getting in the ointment to make the whole batch stink, one sinner destroys much good he says here.

 

The Fool Lets His Heart Play Where His Weaknesses Are, And What You Do Speaks Louder Than What You Speak

 

“A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.” (verse 2) and you must be thinking ‘he must be stupid because my heart’s on my left side.’  He’s talking about something else.  “I wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.” Look, Jesus, in the Scripture the right hand, because most people work right-handed, this is nothing against lefties, if you’re a lefty you just reverse the analogy, it’s the same thing.  You know, it’s at the right hand of the Father is where Jesus sat down.  He says in Matthew 25, when he returns he’s going to say to the sheep, ‘Sit down at my right hand,’ the goats he’s going to send away.  So in the Scripture the right hand is always the signature of honour and strength, because most people were righthanded.  So he says ‘A wise man, his heart is at his right hand, and the fool’s at his left,’ in this sense.  The wise man, he keeps his heart where there’s strength and honour.  The fool lets his heart play where his weaknesses are.  We ought to be careful with that, shouldn’t we?  You’re aware, I’m aware of the weaknesses in my life and your life that really nobody else knows about.  They’re not weaknesses necessarily that would be some huge scandal but, just are idiosyncrasies, the thing we get tempted with, where our weaknesses are, if we let our hearts play there.  It bears bad fruit, it doesn’t produce anything good.  He says a wise man, his heart is where strength and honour are, in his right hand.  ‘Keep your heart there, guard your heart, he said in the Proverbs, with all diligence, garrison it, put a military guard around it, because it’s from your heart that the issues of life flow forth.’  If you let your heart, like Job’s wife, she got all the right information in her head, saw the angels, saw the men of the city struck blind, but her heart longed after Sodom, it says as she lingered.  She had all the right information in her head, but her heart was at her left hand, as it were, in her weakness.  And your heart always makes a convert of your mind, given enough time.  So, a wise man’s heart is at his right hand, but a fool’s heart at his left (and I think his was, in regards to a thousand wives).  “Yea, also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.” (verse 3) Now, the idea here is, “yea, also, when he that is a fool” by the way, King James says “his wisdom” the Hebrew says “his heart” and it’s the same word that’s used in verse 2, twice for “heart.”  It says ‘When that fool who lets his heart be at the weak things of his life, when he that is a fool walketh in the way, his heart faileth him, and he says to everyone,’ the idea is ‘by observation, he’s a fool.’  You can’t hide it or keep it secret, his actions, the idea is, are the things that speak louder than words.  That what you do speaks way louder than what you are [verbally, what you say].  Again, your kids, when you raise your kids, more is caught than taught.  You tell them one thing, but they’re going to do the other thing [what they see you doing – with kids the saying goes “the apple never falls too far from the tree.”  You parents are the tree, and their actions are going to never fall far from what you do, regardless of what you tell them.]  You’re going to teach your kids to eat with table manners, but they’re all going to eat like you.  It’s just the way it goes.  So, it says that fool who allows his heart to be at his left hand, when he walks in the way, he conducts his life, his heart failed him, for he says everyone knows by observation, by his actions, that he’s a fool.

 

Take A Deep Breath And Move On, Don’t Quit

 

“If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offenses.” (verse 4)  I think Peter touches on this in the New Testament, he says ‘Servants, employers, employees, servants be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward and to the proud.’  And here the exhortation is, ‘if the spirit of the person who is your boss,’ and we hear from you all the time on Sunday, ‘This is what my boss is doing, this is what he says, I don’t want to work tomorrow…’ “If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee,” Solomon says “leave not thy place,” ‘don’t get offended and quit,’ here’s the reason, “for yielding pacifieth great offenses.” (verse 4) sometimes it’s just a matter of taking a deep breath, knuckling under, and moving forward.  There’s nowhere in the Bible that teaches you that you have to listen to your boss if he makes you sin, nowhere.  That’s not what it’s talking about.  [as a new believer, working in a famous seafood restaurant, as their lobster cook, I was told by the boss to cook up a lobster that had died in the tank to serve to a customer.  I refused to do it.  I didn’t get fired, because for one, I was an extremely hard worker.  But I stood my ground.  I had lost jobs previously where they asked me to do something I believed was breaking God’s commandments, but God gave me a better job within two weeks.]  It’s just sometime you have an ornery person, that, like everybody here has to deal with me.  You just have some ornery person whose in charge.  It says sometimes it’s better to take a deep breath and move on, don’t leave your place, don’t quit. 

 

‘I’ve Seen Fools Exalted To Leadership And Wise Men Humbled’

 

Now he’s going to say, “There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:  folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.  I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.” (verses 5-7)  He says, look, there are things I have seen.  He says ‘I’ve seen fools exalted, and wise men humbled, sometimes the ruler you’re up against, sometimes there’s mismanagement, there’s wrong, don’t leave your place, yielding pacifies great offense, but there is an evil I have seen under the sun, and there’s a great error, it proceeds from the ruler, he’s the one that’s responsible.’  He says “folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place,” hence promotion seems illogical.’  ‘I’ve been working there longer than him, you give this guy, you give this girl a raise, and they bypassed me again, what’s going on here?’  He says, you know, sometimes that’s what goes on, and by the way it goes on in government too, sadly.  The challenge here to government would be “Build your cabinet wisely.”  Here Joseph Stalin, the Communist [he wasn’t a real communist in reality, he was a brutal dictator.  Nikita Khrushchev was a genuine communist ruler under a top-down socialist government, called communism] slaughtered millions in Russia that were successful, that were wise, because they were people that thought, and they were read, and they slaughtered that class of people and put the poor and the yes-men, put their own stoolpigeons in place and things never progressed.  Solomon’s saying here, you pick your cabinet wisely.  There’s an evil, that’s when a ruler puts the wrong person in the wrong place.  It doesn’t happen anymore, it happened 3,000 years ago, we’ve never seen anything like that in our country.  He just puts the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He says it’s an evil, I’ve seen it, I’ve watched it.  Abraham Lincoln, interesting, when he was running for the presidency, one of the guys he ran against mocked him, because he was huge, he wore a 13 or 14 shoe, he at one point he picked up a thousand pound chicken coop by himself and moved it across the farmer’s yard.  And after he was shot by John Wilkes Boothe, the doctor when he examined him said “I can’t believe how big he was,’ he was a huge man.  And Abraham Lincoln, when he was running for the presidency, one of the guys he ran across called him a gorilla and mocked him and made fun of him, and as things went on and he became president, he brought that guy into his cabinet and made him Secretary of War.  And he said “Why did you do this, how could you like me after the way I treated you?”  He said “I didn’t put you in that position because I like you, I put you in that position because you are the best man for the job, for this country.”  And when Abraham Lincoln’s body laid in State in the Rotunda, that man stood at the end of his coffin and wept.  He said “Next to Jesus Christ, this is one of the greatest men that walked on this earth.”  Solomon says ‘I’ve seen evil, I’ve seen those who are rulers making poor choices, putting people that have no ability at all in power, just because they’re yes-men, and the rich’ now here the rich would be through wisdom and diligence, ‘putting those kind of people in a lower place, not making wise choices.’  “I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.” (verse 7)  Solomon says he’s seen all of this, it is wrong. 

 

‘People Get Caught In The Traps They Lay For Others’

 

He goes on, “He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.  Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.” (verses 8-9) sometimes we get caught in our own traps.  Look, he who digs a pit, the idea is, he’s going to fall into it himself.  I have stories I could tell, but I’ll move on.  Now a hedge in that day was not, it wasn’t arbor vitae, it wasn’t a wooden fence, it was a stone wall, that was the hedge on a property, it was the boundary line.  Someone who breaks down a hedge, a serpent shall bite him, whoso moves stones, that were the boundary lines on the properties and so forth, it says it will be to his own hurt.  He says in the Book of Proverbs, ‘Remove not the ancient landmarks.’  In his context here when he’s talking about this stuff, there are things that are right and there are things that are wrong.  They have been that way for millennia.  You study anthropology, you study archaeology, you study civilizations around the planet, there are just things that have been constant through the history of mankind.  We have changed some of those things.  It says when you do that, the serpent bites.  [One example, J. Vernon McGee said in one of his commentaries, that because capitalism got so evil and nasty during the mid-1800s, that communism came into being to counter it.  When you oppress people enough, taking what’s theirs through one system, another comes up to attempt to balance it out because the other system, out-of-control capitalism, was stealing from others, holding them in poverty.  Communism, the snake in the stone wall, has bitten those in the past century badly.  I don’t know if this is the best analogy, but it kind of fits.]  You dig a ditch, a trap for someone else, it says you’re going to fall into it.  You remove those old landmarks, there’s a poison to that.  You remove stones, it’s to your own hurt, it says even he that cleaveth wood, you can be endangered thereby, if you put the wrong motive, the wrong things go on. 

 

It's Difficult Getting God’s Work Done When We Loose Our Edge

 

Verse 10, “If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength:  but wisdom is profitable to direct.”  The idea is this, if the iron be blunt, the ax is dull, and the person whose using it does not whet the edge, they don’t sharpen it, then they have to put more of their strength into the operation to get the job done.  But the person that’s wise, wisdom is profitable to direct.  Sharpen the stupid thing, it’s just way easier.  I remember when I cut my foot, swing carefully.  Why would you sharpen your ax and swing stupidly.  Abraham Lincoln, again, said “If someone gave me six hours to cut down a tree, I would spend the first four hours sharpening the ax.”  Evidently you read his life, he was a remarkable woodsman as a younger man.  Point here, in some ways I guess, we can loose our edge, we can all loose our edge, and it makes everything we do more difficult.  Sometimes we have to draw back, get back in God’s Word, get our heart before Jesus, we need to sharpen ourselves, we need to get our edge back, because we can loose it.  [see https://unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation3-1-22.html and because our edge within the greater Body of Christ is dull at this point in time, we need revival, see https://unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zephaniah/REVIVAL.html]  And it is just more difficult getting any of the Lord’s work done when we lose our edge.  If the ax be blunt, it’s dull, and a person who has it doesn’t sharpen it, then he’s gotta just put more strength into getting anything done.  Wisdom is profitable.

 

Snakes & Babblers

 

“Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.” (verse 11)  ‘Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment,’ what goes through your mind when you hear that?  Na, na, na, na, na, and a cobra coming out of the basket, it’s kind of talking about a snake charmer, and he says ‘certainly a serpent is gonna bite without that charming,’ as everyone knows back in the culture then, but he says ‘but a babbler is no better.’  The idea is, a snake front-bites, and a babbler backbites.  You’re gonna get bit either way.  So, he says the babbler is like that.  Somebody who babbles, and the idea is here, they never shut up.  They’re full of themselves, they talk about other people, they kind of slip little inuendoes in, and he says what will happen with the babbler, as long as that babbler finds you charming, you’re ok.  But if you tell them the truth, you’re honest with them for some reason, and the babbler [gossip, talebearer] no longer finds you charming, you’re gonna get bit.  Anybody here ever been bit?  Just four of us, come on…because somebody who talks smack all the time around you, to you, when they’re done with you they’re going to talk smack about you [and that’s happened to me, so this is the truth].   It’s just the way it goes.  So you see a babbler, think about the serpent.  So if you see a babbler, somebody who talks all the time, and they want to be in every conversation, and be on the inside, when you see that person, in your mind go Na, na, na, na, na [the snake charmer tune], they’re just coming out of the basket and they want you to charm them.  And when you stop charming them, they’re gonna bite you.  Same thing, it’s what it says, no better, a babbler is no better.  James tells us that the tongue is set on fire with hell. 

 

The Fool

 

Grace In The Heart Puts A Bridle On The Tongue

 

“The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.” (verse 12) now he’s going to show the difference between the babbler and the wise man.  The words of a fool, they’re going to come back on him [or her] they’re going to swallow them up themselves.  My pastor, Chuck, before he died, I just watched him sometimes, sometimes even when people attacked him, just the way he was.  I said “Chuck, just, you know when somebody stabs you in the back,” and he said, ‘You know, grace received is grace bestowed.” he said, “God’s been so gracious with me in my life, forgiveness and kindness and mercy, extending to me things I never deserved,” he said, “how can I be judgmental.  People get under my skin, they bug me, but grace received is grace bestowed.”  One of the author’s I read said “Grace in the heart puts a bridle on the tongue.”  So is even a babbler, when he [or she] gets graced out quiets down.  “The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.” (verse 12)  “The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness:  and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.” (verse 13) now it’s referring back to the fool.  As soon as he opens his mouth and begins to talk it’s there, “and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.”  You start listening to him thinking ‘What is he talking about??’  by the time he’s done talking, he’s just mischievous madness, he’s out of his mind.  He starts one way, but as he goes on, if he’s a fool, he’s a babbler, he’s vindictive, he’s divisive, by the time he’s [or she’s] done, you think ‘This guy [or gal] is illogical, this guy needs help, this person has lost their mind.’  And I have seen enough of them [and I’ve just experienced one in my life recently too, and that’s enough to last me for a lifetime].  He says “A fool also is full of words:  a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?” (verse 14)  King James says “a man cannot tell” this is what the Hebrew says, “a fool also is full of words, he, the fool, cannot tell what shall be.”  A fool is somebody who cannot receive instruction, that’s a person who knows everything, they’re never wrong.  No matter what you say to them, as you’re talking, they’re already forming the answer [Proverbs 18:13, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”], the comeback is already rolling, you can tell by the way they’re looking there, the slot-machine is going, che-gung, che-gung, the answer’s already coming out.  And that person talks, you know, they talk to you until blood runs out of your ears, you know, it says they’re full of words.  You’re thinking ‘I’m gonna faint and this person’s gonna feel terrible when I pass out here.’  “The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness:  and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.” as he goes on, he establishes the fact that he’s out of his mind.  ‘A fool also is full of words, he’s overflowing, he multiplies, the Hebrew says, he multiplies words.  And here the fool, he doesn’t know what’s coming, he doesn’t know what’s coming after him, you can’t warn him.’  And it says “The labour of the foolish weareth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.” (verse 15)  Because they’re foolish, the way they go out to do things, they wear themselves out, and nothing gets done, and it says, because he doesn’t even know how to get to the city.  This is an agrarian society, so the work would take place in the fields, it would take place out of the village on the farm.  It says the fool working for you, and you watch him, he’s wearing himself out and he ain’t even done.  And the problem is, even when he gets a basket of something, he can’t find his way into town.  You know, he just wears everybody out.  These are Solomon’s observations.  And no doubt he had enough people working for him that he observed many of these things.  It gives us the idea in the Book of Proverbs, that some days he put his civvies on, he took off his robe and crown and went out and walked in the field, and he says ‘I beheld a man, I beheld a sluggard, I watched a man working in the field,’ he just went out when nobody knew who he was and he watched things, a wise man. 

 

Foolish Rulers verses Wise Rulers

 

“Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!” (verse 16)  Now, Josiah was young when he took the throne, and in the nation of Judah it wasn’t nepotism, if you wanted to be a king your dad had to be a king, that was the deal.  You want to be a singer, your dad had to be a singer, you wanted to be a musician your dad had to be a musician.  May seem like nepotism, but John Hopkins in the Human Genome Project discovered that pitch is actually in the genes, your DNA, it’s inherited.  So it’s wisdom for God to say ‘ok, you’re a singer family, you’re a player family,’ you don’t want somebody who can’t sing or play up there, certain families were established to do those things.  But it says ‘But woe unto the land when the king is a child,’ you can put ‘childish, a child in regards to wisdom and understanding,’ certainly here in the context.  And it says, ‘and the princes, his cabinet,’ as he said earlier, some don’t know how to choose wisely, ‘they eat in the morning,’ we eat in the morning too, it’s literally ‘they feast in the morning.’  Now that of course, in that culture, meant drunkenness and gluttony, they feast in the morning.  You can tell that in the contrasting verse here, verse 17, “Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!” there’s dignity in the person, son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, not in the morning, and the reason they do it, is for strength, not for drunkenness.  So that helps us define the verse before, ‘Woe to thee O land, when your king is a child, childish, no understanding, no wisdom, and the people he’s gathered around his throne are getting pickled first thing in the morning.’ But “Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!” there’s nobility, there’s dignity, it is something that is right in the person, and thy princes eat at the proper time, in due season, and the reason they eat is for strength and not for drunkenness.  You know, it’s interesting, Billy Graham years ago,…he just looks at food as fuel.  I like rack of lamb fuel, sometimes I like Burger King fuel, steaks for fuel.  But he said, he’s just scheduled, he stops once in awhile to eat, and he just sees it as fuel, so he can keep going.  I’m not there yet, pray for me.  I see it as ‘Oh man, look at that!  Looks good!’  I’m back in the other verses, we have under the sun, but to eat and enjoy as food, I’m that kind of person.  But the wise dignified dynasty, where the right person is ruling, and the people that rule with him are not drunkards, they’re not taking advantage, they eat in due season, there’s a proper way to enjoy a meal and so forth.  But they don’t do it for drunkenness, they do it for strength.  You have a good square meal, keep moving, doing your job, it’s just common sense. 

 

Everything You Have Takes Maintenance

 

He says “By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.” (verse 18) [I’m in the process of checking out houses that are on the market for sale, and have actually seen a house that is in the process of “dropping through,” roof peak sagging, had powderpost beetles in the supporting beams in the cellar, circa 1850.  Another house I checked out, of similar age, the owners had replaced the old cellar beams with brand new 4x6 beams, and the roof peak was a straight as an arrow.]  And he’s just saying, this is what it means to be a homeowner, you are never done working.  I’ve been working on everything we’ve lived in our whole life.  When I turn 50 I want to be done [haha, good luck!], haha, that never happens, you know.  If you’re a homeowner, just think, you build a highway, and then you’re done with it.  No you’re not, it takes maintenance, they just finished repaving the street in front of my house, you’re always cleaning it, repaving it, you’re putting new things in it so people don’t go across the lane, everything you have takes maintenance.  Here it’s talking about a house.  Somebody whose a sluggard, slothful, lazy, the building decays, it falls apart right under you.  Because it constantly takes maintenance and care.  Listen, a building is a picture of human endeavor, so the same truth is attached to anything we do in life.  This is earth, everything wears out.  Everything takes maintenance and care.  Your ministry, your wife, government, he’s been talking about that.  Wherever we put our hand to, it takes diligence, it takes stewardship, if not to decay, not to fall apart, by slothfulness though the building decays.  Human effort, again, years ago I had one of the pastors come to Bulgaria with me, and he was over there with us, and he said in Bulgaria if you want a new car, then, he said it was at least a 15 year wait for a new car, you have to order it and wait.  But, we were leaving the castle in Austria to go down to then it was Yugoslavia, Tito was still there, we were going and preaching in this church, and we were talking and laughing and didn’t see the car full of Yugoslavians that we were following in front of us stop, and Bill slammed into the back of them and drove them into an Austrian, an Audi in front of them, and everybody’s out, and the cop, we’re talking in English, the guys in front of us were talking in Serbo-Croatian, and then the German guy, it sounded like an orchestra, everybody was yelling in a different language.  So then we bent out their fender, and we followed, we did this kind of…It was funny, on Sunday in church one of the guys got up and said we were so glad (we were using an interpreter) that Pastor Joe and Bill were with us.  But when we got down into Yugoslavia, crossed the border, they pulled over, and a bunch of these guys jumped out of this Mercedes they were driving, and all of a sudden they popped up the hood, took out this leather, unrolled it, all the wrenches in it, took the top of the engine off, put a part in it, put it back together again, it took an hour and they rebuilt the whole top of the engine, and we were off again.  Because that may be the only car they were going to get.  See, if it was the only car you were ever going to get, how often would you check the oil?  This car, ok you can have a new car, you’re going to have this car for the rest of your life.  How slow would you go over bumps?  How much would you speed?  How often would you check the oil?  Would you maintain it?  Listen, you guys that are married, the wife you got, it’s the only “car” you’re going to get for the rest of your life.  How often do you check the oil [as often as she lets me “under the hood”].  Do the maintenance?  The dipstick to make sure she’s not dry [careful with your analogies Pastor Joe, that’s pretty suggestive].  And he’s saying here, through slothfulness, human endeavor fails.  Human beings can do great things, that crumble as time goes on, if they’re not cared for, without a sense of stewardship, things fall apart.  “and through idleness of hands the house droppeth through.” (verse 18b) the Hebrew says, the roof starts to leak.  I don’t know about you guys, that drives me out of my mind.  Something breaking down in the house, that’s one thing, if my roof is leaking, I will loose my mind.  It’s just psychological, pray for me.  A number of years ago, it was one of those hurricanes that came to visit us, there was lightning, there was wind, and my bay window, water is dripping, hanging on the bottom of the lightbulbs and dripping in.  So we got towels, plastic buckets, and I hear drip, drip, drip, listening to that, the tv’s not working, we got candles out, I’m going out of my mind, instead of watching Foxnews all I can watch is drip, drip, drip.  And I got out with a flashlight and an aluminum ladder, ‘Get in here, you’ll get struck by lightning!’  “Don’t worry, I’d rather be struck by lightning than listening to this thing drip all night anyhow,’ out there with masking tape, patching everything up, coming back down, the wind’s blowing all over, but I stopped the leak though.  Just came back in, there was a tremendous sense of accomplishment, you know.  But through idle hands, there’s just a little insight into the problems that human beings have.  I hate leaky roofs, but it says through that, idleness, you get leaks in your roof, in your wife, in your marriage, in your ministry, it leaks [or as the King James says, and I’ve seen it with houses, they “droppeth through” as well as the Hebrew “drippeth through”].  A man asked Mr. Spurgeon, “Mr. Spurgeon, if you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, how come you keep talking about being filled with the Spirit?”  he said, “I leak, I need to be filled afresh.”

 

Money Answers All Things, Well, Not Quite

 

“A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry:  but money answereth all things.” (verse 19)  “money answers every problem”  Eeeh, wrong.  Look, money helps, money’s a blessing, it’s better than just certainly eating and drinking, there’s a stewardship involved with money, managing, family financing, money’s a good tool, money’s a tool to use against the devil, it’s a means to an end, not an end in itself.  It can’t buy health, it can’t buy moral excellence, it can’t buy immortality.  If the only thing you leave to you kids is something a lawyer has to settle, you haven’t left them anything at all.  It is a blessing, to pay somebody to fix your roof instead of going out there in a storm.  Money is not the answer to all things.  Sometimes a government, and they pick the wrong people to be in the cabinet, and they think it is, ‘There’s a problem, raise taxes!  Oh, another problem, raise taxes!  Money’s the answer to every problem,’ how is it that my money is the answer to all your problems?  My money is the answer to my problems.  You’ve got to forgive me, I’ve gotten off track here. [laughter]  The wisest man in the world made me do that.  Money is a blessing, poverty is never a blessing.  But it isn’t the answer to everything.  That’s why there’s millionaires in Betty Ford Clinic, that’s why we see movie stars with AIDS, that’s why we see people in the MBA and NFL, they’re worth millions of dollars, and their lives are falling apart with drugs, with a battered spouse, it doesn’t answer everything. 

 

‘Curse Not The King, You Never Know Whose Listening’

 

“Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber:  for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.” (verse 20)  I’m sure Solomon enjoyed writing that, “curse not the king.”  We say ‘A little bird told me,’ that’s what we say these days.  Now that’s just our saying, the truth is, these days it’s not a little bird or a winged creature that carries every single thing you say, it’s the National Security Agency (the NSA) that carries every single thing you say [don’t believe that? watch Oliver Stone’s “Snowden,”] every single thing, trust me, every twit, whatever that is, every Tweet, whatever that is, every facebook, every Google, every text, every cell phone call, every EZ Pass transaction, every single thing.  Now of course, God’s even better than that.  So don’t worry about the NSA.  But every single thing.  If Solomon had the NSA, man he’d have nailed things down around him. 

 

Ecclesiastes 11:1-10

 

“Cast thy bread upon the waters:  for thou shalt find it after many days. 2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. 3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth:  and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north,  in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. 4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. 5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child:  even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. 6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand:  for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good. 7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: 8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many.  All that cometh is vanity. 9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes:  but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. 10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh:  for childhood and youth are vanity.”

 

Introduction:  Don’t Stop Giving To Those In Need

 

“Chapter 11, now again there’s no chapter break when he wrote it.  But he kind of turns up a little bit here, he’s been through ‘this is vanity, and that’s vanity, and I’ve seen this, it just doesn’t go anywhere, and what’s the point,’ and now it’s almost he softens a bit and he starts to say some things that we would probably just apply to our own lives in the day that we live in.  He says “Cast thy bread upon the waters:  for thou shalt find it after many days.” (verse 1) I’m gonna read this, because it kind of all goes together, “Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.  If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth:  and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.  He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.  As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child:  even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.  In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand:  for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” (verses 2-6)  So, it’s this passage here, where he says four times, in verse 2, twice in verse 5, and again in verse 6, there are certain things we just don’t know.  ‘Thou knowest, that you don’t know, there’s no answer to this, you don’t know this, you don’t do this because you got it figured out, that’s not why you do certain things, because you’ve got it all figured out, because we don’t know this or we don’t know that, and we don’t know that.’  This is Solomon.  “Cast thy bread upon the waters” there’s a million opinions, it’s certainly for you and I, this is speaking of charity, it’s speaking of giving, it’s speaking of caring for others, doing what is right, “Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days.” (verse 1) we have of course in 2nd Corinthians 9 we have this, ‘I say unto you, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.  Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound towards you, that you may always have all sufficiency in all things…to every good work.’  So, here what Solomon is going to say, there is a person who strictly operates in the realm of logic, and that logic will say to that person ‘You need to hold onto this, just in case this happens, your wisdom’s telling you, you just need to hoard right now, and you need to hold on, because this might come, or this bad situation may come.’  And 2nd Corinthians chapter 9 only operates by faith, there’s not human logic attached to it.  And what Solomon is saying here, here’s the wisest man that ever lived, he says this is something that I’ve learned, is that we don’t live on explanations, we live on promises, you and I live on promises.  We look at what’s happening in the world around us, and the thing that holds up our hearts is we know there is an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, that fades not away, reserved in heaven for us.  You look at what’s happening, man in his injustice to his fellow man, Satan, you can hear him laughing out loud as the blood of man runs into the sand, because he hates mankind, because man was created in the image and likeness of God.  And every human he can snatch out of this world, before they’re redeemed, before they’re saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, they’re gone forever, gone forever.  [Comment:  now I don’t necessarily believe that, because that doctrinal stance makes God out as the loser to Satan, like God is in some gigantic struggle against Satan and Satan is winning, like God doesn’t have the power to save, and give every human being that’s ever lived a sound opportunity for salvation, which most of mankind who’ve lived and died have not received yet.  In my humble opinion, having studied much secular history, and seeing how much of mankind historically has not received Christ, it leads me to believe there is an element of God’s overall plan of salvation which most of Christianity is missing.  Some Christian denominations may be getting close to an answer, some amongst those who hold differing views about heaven and hell.  To search out some of those differing secondary beliefs, see https://unityinchrist.com/plaintruth/battle.htm]  And in this logical world, so much of what we have by God’s Spirit and by God’s Word, is to be exercised by faith, because we are living not by explanation, but we are living by promise.  Wisdom accomplishes it’s work in activity, not in worry.  Wisdom accomplishes it’s work in activity, wisdom is knowing to do the right thing at the right time.  Wisdom does not accomplish its work in worry.  Now he’s going to say, he’s going to give us some principles here, and then he’s going to talk to us about that.  “Cast thy bread upon the waters:  for thou shalt find it after many days.  Give a portion to seven, and also to eight;” the reason, “for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.” (verses 1-2) the idea is, people who work in investment, people that are wealthy, that are handling their money, put their money in gold (don’t put your money in gold), gold ain’t even 2 percent of the wealth in the world now, the wealth of the world is in electronics, not gold or silver anymore.  Diversify, that’s wise, have some Euro’s, have some money in stocks, money in bonds, some money in gold, some in silver, diversify.  Real-estate’s good, it’s not in liquidity all the time.  He’s saying here spiritually, generosity, diversify, give to seven, not just one place, ‘this house is broken down, let’s get involved [and fix it for someone, I’ve done that] and adopt a family for Christmas…hey why don’t we give here,’ it says ‘Cast your bread upon the waters, it’ll come back, you’re going to find it after many days, give to seven, even give to eight,’ he says the reason, “for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.” (verse 2b) ‘you don’t know when it’s going to be your turn, to go through a terrible situation.’  Our security is divine faithfulness, our security is divine faithfulness, there is no other security.  God says ‘I want you to bless, I want you to give, I want you to care for this person, but while they’re struggling, do this.’  Wisdom then is exercised in activity, not in worry.  And only the person who lives in faith is going to see this, because logic is going to say ‘we can’t do this, we can’t get by, we can’t do this.’  So Solomon is saying, ‘Look, cast your bread upon the waters, you’re going to find it after many days.  Give a portion to seven, also to eight,’ the reason, ‘for you knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.’  I love that fact that we as a church, help these churches here, help that church there, help the church in this place or in Japan when the tidal wave hit, there right away we contributed, in Haiti, we were there right away.  Whatever the things, that when the door opens up, an opportunity, we are involved, because you know what, because some day it may happen here in Philadelphia, some day there may be a terrorist attack and this whole thing may fall apart before we know it, some day we may be the ones whose church burns down.  And then I hope those who we’ve given to, those who we prayed for, then they’re going to remember us, and it’s going to come back, amen? it’s gonna come back. 

 

The Paralysis of Analysis

 

He says, look, he’s going to give some practical examples now, he says hey look, “If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth:  and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.” (verse 3)  doesn’t seem very profound, does it,  because he’s going to say, some people, they never get any work done, ‘Oh, you can’t go out there, it’s gonna be a rainy day, can’t go out, can’t go out.’  He says, ‘here’s the truth, if the clouds are full of rain, they’ll empty themselves.’  The next one’s better, he says ‘If a tree falls toward the south, or towards the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall be.’  Sound like Yogi Bear wrote that verse.  ‘there it’s gonna be, where it falls down, that’s where it’s gonna be.’  If somebody asked him ‘What time is it?’ he says ‘You mean now?’ that’s the kind of thing, you know.  What he’s saying is, ‘stuff happens, you’re afraid, you’re not going to give, you’re not going to sow, the clouds are full of rain, oh, a tree is falling, what are we going to do?’  ‘Hey look, the clouds are going to empty themselves, the tree’s going to fall, wherever it falls, that’s where it lands, that’s the deal, stuff happens.’  “He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.” (verse 4)  My wife is a weather addict, when there’s a storm coming, we watch it, Foxnews channel, we watch it on channel 10, channel 6, we watch it on channel 6, channel 5, we watch it on channel 5…just in case all the other channels are wrong, just to make sure.  I don’t care about the weather anymore, by then, I want a tornado to take the house away by then, and the tv, and it all.  ‘He that observes the wind shall not sow, oh we can’t sow today, if we sow the seed a percentage of it’s going to blow away in the wind,’ or ‘you can’t go out to reap today, it’s gonna rain, it’s not a good day to cut down the grain because it’s gonna rain.’  You know, problems are constant throughout life.  If all we know is the wind is blowing, the rain, is that produces idleness, worry makes inactivity rule in our lives.  It becomes the paralysis of analysis.  If some people think that ‘What if, and if we do this, do you think? and what if? and what if we do that?’ and sometimes I listen for awhile, ‘No, no, stop, I don’t think any of that stuff!  I don’t want to think that, don’t make me think that, I don’t want to think that, I could get a PhD in thinking and not be able to think that, I don’t want to think that.’  “He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.” (verse 4) he didn’t get anything done, he says, look if the clouds are full of rain, they’re gonna empty, if a tree falls down, it’s going lay where it falls, if you stand around and worry about everything, you’re not going to get anything done [burying the talent]. 

 

With God You Can’t Judge Things By Their Natural Appearance

 

He says, he makes an example of the way of the spirit, “As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child:  even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.” (verse 5)  You can’t judge it [these things] by natural appearance.  If God’s telling you to do something, you need to do it.  Because we don’t know this, we don’t know that [i.e. we don’t know how things are going to turn out, God’s in control, he’s doing a work, he doesn’t always give us all the details, he just tells us to do certain things and trust him for the outcome].  He said, you have kids, and you don’t know how that all works, you don’t know how the spirit gets into the body [and it does at conception], how the bones form, scientists still don’t know the whole process.  [A scientist] said “I think it’s morphic resonance,” in case you’re wondering.  Because, with the onslaught of AIDS and the research that was done in the Human Genome Project, what they discovered of course is, you have one cell fertilized by another cell, sperm and egg, it splits into two cells, and in the two cells, the two nucleuses are exactly the same, they have the same genes and chromosomes, they spit into four, into eight, they split into 16, and every single one is like the first one, no differentiation, until all of a sudden for some reason, some cells decide to become bone cells, some cells decide to become nerve cells, some cells decide to become heart cells, they all have the same information.  And as they’ve observed it, blood vessels and nerve endings go to an area and a human organ forms in the middle of it.  So the blood vessels and nerve endings know an organ’s going to form, so they go there and wait for it to form.  Wilbert Sheldig says “This must be morphic resonance,” he says “there’s something resonating outside, that conducts the  whole process.”  It’s not morphic resonance, it’s the Lord our God [that’s what’s resonating outside].  Every human being is a distinct creation [see https://unityinchrist.com/Psalms/Psalm%20139%201-24.html].  They’re still trying to figure it out, now they’re talking about the Epigenome, there’s epigenetics, and what epigenetics proves is there could never have been evolution [not blind evolution, theistic evolution, where God was turning on and off genetic switches during creation, is possible, and we’ll find out later how all that worked, if that was his method].  That’s the wonderful thing about epigenetics.  But ya, he says ‘look, how do you think all of us got here? You were in somebody’s womb, and if they had worried you’d have never showed up, and all you worriers have little worriers all running around.  It didn’t stop you from having another generation of little worriers.  You’re worrying, you have all these things you don’t know, there’s lots you don’t know, you don’t know the way of the spirit, you don’t know how bones grow in the womb of her that’s with child…’ “even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.” ‘so you need to sow your seed, you need to cast your bread on the water, you’re always involved in something you don’t understand.’ 

 

In Spite Of All The Craziness Going On Around You, Keep On Sowing & Reaping

 

“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand:  for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” (verse 6)  You know, for you and I, in our lives and our families, sow the seed, sow the seed, sow God’s Word.  If it’s cloudy, sow God’s Word [and sow good works, remember “Cast thy bread upon the waters…give a portion to seven, and also to eight…”], if it’s raining, sow God’s Word [and good works, the Gospel walks on two legs, see https://www.unityinchrist.com/evangelism/samaritan_purse.htm].  If there’s just been a storm, sow God’s Word.  Sometimes when there’s a storm, the seed goes in deeper, sometimes a storm makes a heart fertile and broken, and breaks up the fallow ground [but not by just preaching at someone, but by doing good works for them, and often if they know you, they know your beliefs, so then they’ll ask questions, and then provide the verbal, written Word to them, read the article at that link, it’ll explain this principle].  For you and I, in that context, we should understand sowing and reaping has a spiritual context also.  Solomon looking at all of these things, going through this, it’s great stuff to read through, think about.  And finally he comes to, he’s winding things up, and he says ‘Look, cast your bread upon the waters, I’ve seen all kinds of injustice, I’ve seen all kinds of folly, you stand around and say, you could stand around and say ‘why the heck even take the next breath, what’s the point?’  but he says, ‘We live on promises, we don’t live on explanations, so let’s live this way, we cast our bread upon the waters, it’ll find its way back to us, it’s not going to be lost.  There isn’t anything we do in the Lord’s name that he doesn’t notice, and that he doesn’t bring back to us.  God will never be our debtor, ever.’  [A Proverbs says when we give to the poor, we’re actually making a loan to God, which he promises to repay.]  Sometimes you’ve given to seven different people, eight different persons, just do that.  You look in the natural realm, the clouds are forming, where a tree falls, that’s where it lands, somebody stands around and says ‘it’s windy, I can’t do this,’ if a farmer did that, we wouldn’t have to worry about anything, because we’d all starve.  If a farmer did that none of us would eat, you don’t have to worry about anything, because we’d all starve, we’d be gone.  It’s always a fight against the elements, it’s always a labour, you have children, you go through the same process, there’s all kinds of things we don’t know.  ‘How does it work Pastor Joe?  What if I do this, what if I do that, serve here?’ I don’t know, look at this Scripture, I don’t know, it just told me four times ‘I don’t know.’  But if I do it his way, I do it by the leading of the Spirit, and I submit to the Word of God, then it puts it all in the supernatural realm, then he’s responsible, the ball’s in his court.  ‘Lord, you asked me to do this, I’m going to do this,’ and then he says, ‘then it comes back, then it’ll be a blessing.’  So all those opportunities, sow while you can, give, serve one another, bless one another, do it in his name, you’ll never be impoverished, only what’s done for Christ will last.  Amen?  Let’s stand and pray…we’re going to have some great stuff as we get to the end of Ecclesiastes, there’s an interesting wrap-up of the whole thing, next Wednesday evening if the Lord tarries, if the Lord tarries we’ll finish up Ecclesiastes.  Read ahead to the Song of Solomon, we’re going to go from “Vanity of vanities” to the “Song of Songs.”  We’re going to go from “I gave myself to wine,” to “LORD, your love is greater than wine.”  We’re going to make an amazing transition, so be reading ahead….chapter 11, the Book of Ecclesiastes, we’ve come down as far as verse 6, where Solomon seems to be turning a bit more of just a challenging direction, I think probably understanding he’s, as the Spirit is moving on him, he's giving a last series of exhortations, now as he’s summarizing the things that he’s written, saying, ‘Not to be afraid to work, not to be afraid of sowing and reaping, we can’t stand around and look at the weather and find excuses not to work, because each day is different.  So he says just go, in the morning sow your seed, verse 6, in the evening hold out your hand, for you don’t know whether it shall prosper in this or that, or whether both will be good, everything might turn out fine.’ 

 

The Deal Is, How You Finish, Not How You Begin:  “Youth Is Heat Without Light, Old Age Is Light Without Heat”

 

And then he says “Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:  but if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many.  All that cometh is vanity.” (verses 7-8) after these few days I’m looking forward to more of these, they say it’s supposed to be sunny Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I’m looking forward to that [as I transcribe this, it’s been one of the coldest, rainiest springs in New England since 1912, I’m really looking forward to more warm, sunny days].  Waking up in the morning at my age and seeing the light is a nice thing, just one more day, it’s always a good thing, I enjoy the sun, I enjoy God’s blessing, he says it’s a good thing, sunlight is good light.  “but if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many.  All that cometh is vanity.” “many” or “abundant,” the idea is “unending.”  Now by the way, he’s writing here, challenging those who have their own ideas, because in the end of chapter 12 he’s going to sum up everything, he’s going to say ‘the conclusion of all this, is man is made for God’s purposes, that we should obey him.’  Here he’s saying, ‘Just remember, light is day by day, things are great, you wake up, you take each day for granted, things seem great, and that’s fine, rejoice in all the years of your life, but remember there are days of darkness,’ now not for us, ‘O death where is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory?’ Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians 15:55, so we’re not looking, foreboding the days of endless darkness which are ahead of those who don’t come to Christ, being cast into outer darkness, he says ‘remember the days of darkness, they will be abundant.  All that cometh is vanity, it’s all emptiness,’ if there’s no picture in relationship with Jesus in measuring these things.  So a bit of cynicism here as he says this.

 

Remember O Youth, In The End There’s Accountability To God

 

He says, look, “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes:  but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.” (verse 9) his exhortation is ‘I hope you can learn something from me, those are the mistakes that I made, but do that, but if that’s what you’re gonna do, do that, youth, there’s nothing wrong with youth, we’re to enjoy youth, not to waste youth in sin.’  One philosopher said “Youth is heat without light, old age is light without heat.” [So true!  My circulation is going in my hands and feet, and I always seem to be cold, can’t wait till the 1st Resurrection to glory!]  So you can talk to people ‘Would you like to be young again?’  ‘I’d like to know what I know now and be young again,’ where we’re saying “I’d like to have heat and light.” [and that is part of God’s Plan of Salvation for us, spending our time as believers, growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and the Word of God, giving us that “light” and then at the time of the 1st Resurrection, being given back our youth, eternally, where we get the “heat” of eternal youth back again.  O what a glorious plan!]  Youth is heat without light and old age is light without heat.  Solomon is saying, the light that he’s in, in his older years now, he’s saying ‘You can learn of me, and do what’s in your heart, walk your ways, do what you’re going to do, and walk in the sight of thine eyes,’ “BUT know that thou for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.”  There’s a definite article in the structure of the Hebrew, “God will bring you into the judgment.” and it is a judgment that he expects those who he’s writing to, to be aware of.  We remember in the end of the Book of Judges, it says “In those days there was no king in Israel, every man did that which was right in his own sight, in his own eyes,” he said ‘Alright, you’re going to do what’s right in your own eyes, do that,’ in Isaiah it says this, and you and I are both familiar with this, “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” we’re thankful that we have that, because he’s saying here, ‘Alright, you’re young, rejoice, there’s good, there’s good things about youth, and there are wonderful things about it, and walk in the ways of your own heart and in the sight of your own eyes, but remember there is accountability,’ and that’s what we never think of when we’re young, there is accountability, there are consequences.  Now, again, Jesus said when the Holy Spirit comes, ‘he’ll convict the world of sin,’ and that is that there’s things that are wrong in this life, ‘of righteousness,’ the things that are right, ‘and of judgment to come,’ there are consequences.  The simple impression that the Holy Spirit puts on our hearts as he’s drawing us to Christ is, ‘look, there are things that are wrong, there are things that are right, and in light of both of those, there are consequences.’  And he’s saying that here, as the Holy Spirit is inspiring him to write.  But he says ‘But know this, you do all this stuff, it’s a shame at the end of your life, that you have nothing of eternity you’ve invested yourself in.’  “but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.” (verse 9b) what’s right in your own eyes, your own heart, God will bring you into “the” judgment, there will be an accounting.  “Therefore” Solomon says, “Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh:  for childhood and youth are vanity [emptiness, temporary].” (verse 10) “childhood,” interesting structure in the Hebrew there, it says “the dawn of life,” we have “childhood” there.  It literally says “the dawn of life and youth are vanity,” the beginning, childhood, it’s wonderful, but he says, ‘look, the deal is, how you finish, not how you begin, finishing well, has to be the issue, because we all do that.’  Everybody is laying there at some point, somewhere, with life passing in front of them.  So he says, there’s vanity in youth, in the dawn of life, he says, take heed, remove sorrow from your heart.  Solomon would say, as any father would say to his kids, ‘Now look, why am I telling you this? We’re tired of hearing about sex, drugs and Rock’n Roll.  I’m not telling you that because I’m a Pharisee, I’m telling you that because I was emancipated from all of that, I was drowning in it, I thought that it would do something for my life, and it left me empty and miserable.  So you’re my son, you’re my daughter, I want the cycle to break, I want to see you do it different than I did it.’ that’s love, not judgment.  Solomon says here, “remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from thy flesh:” don’t involve yourself in things that are going to break down your physical frame, destroy you internally, destroy you physically, he says, ‘the dawn of life and youth are vanity, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.’  Going into chapter 12, there’s no break here when he’s writing this, so he says “Remember now” this is what to do…[transcript of Ecclesiastes 10:1-20 and Ecclesiastes 11:1-10, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

Related links:

 

The Gospel walks on two legs, to see how, see https://unityinchrist.com/evangelism/samaritan_purse.htm   

 

To see how we’re designed by God before conception and woven in the womb by God before birth, see https://unityinchrist.com/Psalms/Psalm%20139%201-24.html  

 

 

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