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Reversing the Rules of the Race

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
January 25, 2021 12:00 am

Reversing the Rules of the Race

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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January 25, 2021 12:00 am

Winning a sprint in the Olympics may feel like the very height of human achievement. What can be better than running a successful race? Well, Solomon tells us that if you run the wrong race, even if you win, you still lose. Then what is the right race? Stephen explores that question in today's lesson.

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Even if you don't have children. Even if you're unmarried you love and pursue good things. Do you have a taste for holy thing for pure things for appropriate things.

Righteous things are you leaving godly testimony behind you and a legacy to those around you. None of that mattered to this man. Here's the point.

He was dishonorable in the life.

He is dishonored anyone blessed with family sessions and how long life and yet has an empty soul. Each person has to choose one of two races, you can run toward earthly success and fame and fortune and reputation. Or you could erase toward heavenly glory in Ecclesiastes 6, Solomon describes two men who think they have success but are losing the race of life. Welcome to wisdom for the heart.

Today Stephen shares the strategy for winning the internal oasis of heaven. The lesson you're about to hear is called reversing the rules of read a story recently about an annual bicycle race in a town in India. This become quite an interesting tradition in this community. All the cyclists lineup with their bicycles at the starting line. The crowd lines the street to cheer on their family member or friend or associate the official fires his starter pistol into the air in the race is off, but in this interesting tradition. The rules are what you would expect them to be effective. This race there reversed the object of this race is to see who can travel the shortest distance without tipping over.

During the specified amount of time racers would be disqualified if their feet touch the ground. The crowd grows wild as each of the racers inch forward just enough to keep their bikes balanced with the time is in the garden. Sounds the contenders who've gone the farthest lose and the person he was gone. The shortest distance from the starting line is declared winner. Imagine you're traveling in India you enter that race. You brought a bike along you understand how race works and when his starter pistol goes off you pedal is hard and as fast as you can when you're soon out of breath. You're sweating but you're absolutely delighted because when you look around. There's nobody in sight.

You've left everybody in your dust as far as you can tell nobody in India knows how to ride a bicycle as well as you can.

You're thinking this is fantastic on a pedal harder pedal faster. I'm going to go farther then the gun sounds and your throat because you are unquestionably the winter, when in fact you are unquestionably the loser if you you misunderstood the rules of the raise you misunderstood how the race is one it is in a matter of speed. It is in a matter of distance to better balance if you take your Bibles to the starting line of Ecclesiastes chapter 6 Solomon is no lineup to racers to contenders for the prize, so to speak is a brief description of why each contender things there winning the race and so show us why they are actually unquestionably losing in the race of life for chapter 6 now in our journey through this private journal. Solomon and verse one. He just introduces some comments. Let's look just there there is any leave all that I have seen under the sun and analyze heavy on mankind.

This is its introductory moment. Don't read any further. Don't read any further up here. The problem with going verse by verse. Everybody's in verse three of you want to talk about verse one before the official fires his starter pistol.

Solomon is telling us ahead of time.

This is going to be a tragic tale is the stomach churning story a heartbreaking scenario that's fine that people were we've already looked at evil. This is a tragic waste. Solomon is going to describe for us. Marcus Solomon right it lies heavy on mankind itself weighty, saying the human race groans under this troubling burden, both to experience or to even witness Solomon essentially says let me tell you what I witnessed in the rat race of life.here under the sun is not a pretty sight.

Now that introduction.

The race begins. He focuses our attention on this first contender notice verse two is a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires stop notice the threefold description of this man were were told of underlined it in my text he has well or riches you could translate that Hebrew now. It can refer to gold, silver, blocks hers houses whatever were also told that he has possessions of two different Hebrew noun that describes a tremendous stockpiling just have Goldie's got mountain nobody done just that silvery's got its stockpile just never heard you can't believe the urge or the houses. He's got this tremendous accumulation of all of it thirdly summarizes man as honor the workers comp means heavy. It refers to fame it refers to splendor's got it all. This is to me were gets intriguing because as I read the description it sounds like somebody we know. Sounds like Solomon talk about riches document amount of gold. Talk about herds and flocks and houses more than he could ever enjoy Aaron Abbott and fame who had it like him. In fact, many Old Testament scholars I encountered in my study believe that Solomon is actually making a cameo appearance in this race, he is effectively photoshopped himself in. He's the first contender. Another clue and I think the most significant one is the fact the only other place you find all three of these nouns in the Old Testament, describing someone is over and second Chronicles chapter 2 verses 10 and 11 where God tells Solomon in a dream that he's gonna give Solomon. These three things well possessions, and honor the same nouns used herein. Ecclesiastes chapter 6. In fact, it's interesting to note that the only passages in the entire Old Testament are these two passages where these three nouns appear.

In fact, they appear in the same order. Solomon is the man with incredible wealth, staggering accumulation of possessions is fame is world renowned far and wide.

And if you can say if you know I first would be that little phrase tucked in there at the end of this one. Whatever he desires.

That's exactly what he lacks nothing of all, he desires whatever Solomon wants. Solomon gets little doubt that Solomon is painting himself into this race be easy to spot some EU brats arrived. You know you can spend a little bit of money being spent a lot of money he would be the guy with the best shoes. The most aerodynamic helmet you have the coolest outfit. His water bottle would be made of solid gold is way out in front of the pack. He is unquestionably winning the race of life that so fast. Solomon finishes the self-portrait notice. The last part of verse two. Yet God does not give him power to enjoy them.

These gifts, but a stranger enjoys all you laments this is vanity. This is futility. This is an winning.

This is an empty life. Solomon is out of fellowship with God until he is writing this self disclosing journal. He was obedient to God. He was no longer grateful to God, so we had all these gifts that he had no power, which is another gift from God to come separately to enjoy them and were told in verse two to notice a stranger is enjoying Hebrew word is often translated foreigner literally rendered a foreign are eight so you could translate Solomon doesn't tell us who the stranger is good be any number of things could be a thief could be a conquering foreign king or Army could be the stranger, a broker that you thought you knew and trusted to rip you off. It could be someone he was a friend and he found it he really did know them, they took something from you.

Point is, Solomon is essentially saying my look like he's waiting the race is way out in front come to the realization he's been racing. According to the wrong set of rules. He's been loaded down but without satisfaction or joy. He doesn't enjoy anything back to the race and notice contender number two in verse three just the first few lines. He writes if a man fathers 100 children and lives many years so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life's good things stop for a moment. Listen carefully to this description, because as far as many people in the world are concerned, this guy, this guy is the real winner.

He might not have any money, but he's got a full quiver. I look at 100 children. Solomon's writing with hyperbole that is exaggeration in order to make his point in his point exaggeration is simple.

This contender doesn't have a lot of money but look at are you surrounded by huge family and he's a little long enough. Evidently, the implication is easily longer to see children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren and maybe more.

That's probably why he doesn't have any money. It's all in diapers minivan. Whatever she put in the near East family is the definition of success. This man is obviously winning the race of life is so far ahead. Nobody okay inserts the spoiler's rather tragic phrase.

Did you notice it, but his soul is not satisfied with life's good thing Gregory, the second century church leader who wrote the first commentary we have stamped on the book of Ecclesiastes paraphrases to read. There is no goodness in his soul would be accurate.

But it means the word good counted already Hebrew word which means beautiful or fitting or appropriate or excellent, precious, valuable thing you go after the reference to those things that are truly good things in life but his soul is not satisfied. Eight. 1/5.

He's not interested in the best things he's not interested in the right things, the fitting things. The righteous things. The pure thing is no taste for goodness in his soul. Now that might not be obvious to his coworkers out there that people who work around a bend they might think man really got him. The word translated soul here in the text is a reference to his inner secret life. His true feelings. His true intentions's true loyalties is true.

Inclinations what he truly loves. In other words, what Solomon is doing is introducing us to somebody's unredeemed unconverted polluted inwardly. He's got a big family but he's got a wicked heart. What is is any appetite for that which is pure and holy and righteous. Evidently, in the privacy of his home surrounded by children. These are good gifts, but he doesn't really care about implication is he is no genuine interest in loving them more, discipling them or leading them or modeling integrity before that he's got this huge family, but there just near Eastern status symbols you look at me for just pawns.

He really only cares about himself and evidently who he really is. Over time becomes obvious to his children and to his family because of this rather stunning development in verse three notice of soul is not satisfied with life's good things. He also has no bearing.

He has no barrier more minimum. Solomon goes on to say that a stillborn child is better off than he for Thompson vanity goes in darkness and in darkness. Its name is covered secured. Moreover is why it's better this stillborn child is not seen the sun or known anything finds rest rather than ease sounds contrasting baby who dies in the womb with the death of a man was 100 children. Solomon concludes that a stillborn baby is better off in this man's live a long life. Why would that because the baby don't experience the difficulties of life under the sun.

He never saw it.

He didn't experience suffering and pain. In fact, we know that upon death. It goes immediately to be with its creator God and immediately enjoys the honor and glory of God. It's really another sermon, but this man surrounded by children experiences the greatest dishonor imaginable.

He's not even given a proper burial by his kids and don't put them in the burial plot. The family cemetery you could translate. He literally dies on lamented always trying that is going through a funeral for implication is that he's been a revered man out there among his peers. He's been impressive to those people that don't really know that well probably envied. Probably such a large family somewhat well-to-do and no doubt famous in his neck of the woods. Everything the outside looks great.

I mean look at this guy race while he's way ahead. The reality is he doesn't love God and love his family those things that are righteous in life.

And guess what his family grows up to not love him either. In fact, they probably detested to the point that they do the most dishonorable thing nobody's offering funeral. He's going to be buried in an unmarked grave somewhere with others who are either homeless or remain unidentified.

They have grown up and they have grown up to test this hypocrite. They have seen the evidence of what is truly in his soul.

They can't stand he really wasn't winning one wears rewrites on this text is family is merely wondered when the old man will die. And when he finally dies there only interested in the reading of his will. The outside for decades look like this man was winning the mean of the rules of the race or having children and a big family and huge reunions and birthday parties every other weekend. This man was so far I had nobody could ever catch up to the gun sounds. The race is over and you discover the fact they weren't the rules for the race after all nothing to do with how many children he had what he modeling her ability to rest today. Even if you don't have children. Even if you're unmarried you love in pursuit good things do you have a taste for holy things for pure things for appropriate things. Righteous things are you leaving the godly testimony behind you and a legacy to those around you. None of that mattered to this man.

Here's the point. He was dishonorable in life. He is dishonor in death notice Solomon as an addendum to this contenders life. In verse six we read even though he should live a thousand years, twice over yet enjoy no good. That is another thousand years, but it's still unlike anything. He still unlike anything holy.

He still doesn't have a converted even if you lived another thousand years twice over.

He's gonna die just like everybody else and realize that the rules of life were first the oldest man who ever lived was Methuselah recorded in Genesis chapter 5 of 969 years. During the early years of God's newly minted creation. Solomon says, what if this contender is able to stay in the race twice as long as Methuselah.

Let's just say 2000 years.

The conclusion remains the same as hard as been changed, and his heart has been changed.

What good is a long life with an empty heart. It's only another thousand years of self-centered misery and waste here Solomon's point, you could live twice as long as anybody else.

Never live. You could have more children than anybody else's ever had you not more money and possessions than anyone else is ever owned, but of God is not involved, it'll all be worthless without a redeemed heart, a converted soul. A personal walk with God must bring it into the 21st century through faith in Christ, the Messiah came, you could be like one of these contenders today.

The first contender in this race had a full bank account, but no joy. The second contender had a full quiver. No love strikes me that the evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in your life bears fruit. Those of the first two fruits love and joy.

The rules for a meaningful life are reversed, the opposite of what the world is cheering on in the world is to this day lined up in there to your dog, consider pedaling faster and farther Hear your amazing.

It's not how far or how fast you can peddle it's how well you balance balancing those things that truly mattered in life where you begin begin with Jesus saves your soul and changes your heart gives you an appetite for the right and good hitting things you begin with Jesus Christ and you walk with him and you spent time in his word and you obey him and daily confess to him as we've done together already this morning because we fail him and we thank him for his grace and having redeemed us. He is the balancer of our lives. The apostle Paul wrote in this way, it is no longer I live, but Christ who in me and the life which I now live by faith in the son of God.

I live according to this one. A lot of me and gave himself for me. Now that I'm rightly related to him. I can pursue those things that matter. Balance the beloved. It's useless to add years to your life unless you add life to your years.

Jesus said I am the way, I am the truth I am of the life you start with. You balance life through him the day without him. This was the personal testimony of a Methodist circuit riding preacher in the early frontiers of our country who wrote his personal testimony, lyrical form goes like this all my life long.

I had Thurston for a drink from some clear spring that I hoped would quench the burning of the thirst felt within hallelujah I have found who my soul so long has craved. Jesus satisfies my longing for his blind eye now and save well of water ever springing bread of life so rich, so free untold wealth that never fail my Redeemer is to me. Hallelujah I have found him who my soul so long has craved Jesus satisfies my longing through his blind eye. Now am say it's meaning's, it's useless, it's emptiness, no matter how good you look matter how far you run, how fast you get there it's emptiness to try to add years to your life unless you are adding life, his life to your you may be that you're not totally with running the race toward worldly success, but there might be one aspect of your life, or that's true.

I hope this time in God's word will cause you to conduct some evaluation and when you identify areas that need adjusting, that you will reorient those areas of life toward God's glory.

Thanks for listening to wisdom for the hearts, our teacher, Stephen Davey has a desire to help you know God think biblically and live wisely as you apply God's word to your life. The lesson today is called reversing the rules of the race and comes from a series in Ecclesiastes called surviving evil under the sun.

This series is one of those that has a video option if you navigate to Stephen's teaching archive and find Ecclesiastes will be able to watch the video of when Stephen first preached these messages just go to wisdom online.org and you'll find all of Stephen's teaching there. Once again, that's wisdom online.org. Thanks so much for joining us today and please be with us next time


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