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Following the Best Advice

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
April 5, 2021 12:00 am

Following the Best Advice

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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April 5, 2021 12:00 am

We don’t know what is going to happen the day after tomorrow. We don’t even know what’s going to happen an hour from now. God is in control of all of that: the day of our birth, the day of our death, and the winding crooked road with the ups and downs of life. So remember: God constructed the twists and turns of life to strengthen our spiritual confidence in Him. And God created the ups and downs of life to stabilize our dependence on Him.

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Number think about how it's flying along so that we may present at the heart of wisdom. So my neighbors there's a connection between the brevity of life and the beauty of life. When you contemplate the brevity of your life you understand the beauty of life and ask God that you will be allowed to become most of it for his glory.

Thinking about death invites us to become and make the most of life while we can. We don't know what's going to happen the day after tomorrow.

We don't even know what's going to happen hour from now. But God is in control of all the day of our birth the day of our death and all of the ups and downs of life in between today were going to be reminded that God constructed the twists and turns of our lives to strengthen our spiritual confidence in him, and to stabilize our dependence on him here.

Stephen Devi with a message called following the best advice arrived today at the half way mark of Ecclesiastes and at this point, Solomon transitions from asking for the most part a lot of cynical questions to giving sound godly advice and as we begin the second half. Now with chapter 7. You'll immediately notice to be just glance down the page that it looks a lot like the book of Proverbs is delivered in rapid fashion a series of contrasting statements. Statements of comparison of completion he is going to show us a better way to live. If you want to pursue wisdom down here under the sun during a very brief life here something better. In fact, is going to use that word better 11 times in this chapter, you might circle them when you encounter them as we study three are now in order to navigate our way through these opening verses of the cover 14. This is going to be miraculous. I've I've organized his advice in the four categories I just couldn't find a way to break it up.

Something to do all of it, but I probably give it to you in four categories with four categories categorical statements and I want to think of it this way, Godfrey Solomon is going to give us four pieces of very good advice. Here's the first piece of advice contemplate your casket seriously verse one a good name is better than precious ointment in the day of death implied is better than the day of birth. Now you might think this isn't the best way to start giving advice for life how to live, but wisdom tells us that we are only prepared to live when we are truly prepared to die to Solomon begins this proverb now by contrasting what matters most. And again he uses the word better.

What's better contrasted good name that is your reputation with your physical impression or appearance, she might have. He says the best ointment you could translate that into our culture. The best perfume or the best cologne, but it's not worth much without a good name.

What good is perfume or cologne. If your reputation stings is what you say Solomon referred to himself back in chapter 1 is the preacher Ecclesiastes literally means assembly gathering begin to work at Clay. See you in the Greek language from Ecclesiastes. This is the gathering in Solomon's is on the preacher now resorted turns into a profit. Any urges us to look down the path a little further to something that most people don't want to think about. Most people don't want to talk about. Most people don't want to contemplate. They might even refuse to think about, it becomes this evangelist and it looks as MDI grapples by the lapels and asks us. Are you ready to meet God that baby crib will never preach a sermon quite like that casket.

If you think Solomon doesn't want us to miss the point.

He in the next three verses essentially takes us on a field trip to a funeral home. We conversed to is better there is again to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting in this context that these things a birthday party celebrating the day you were born for this is the end of all mankind and the living will lay at the heart.

Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face. The heart is made glad that is you've contemplated the path your feed and now you have something be glad about the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

Fools waste their lives on mirth. You could think of this as fun and games they never think beyond fun and games in Solomon's mind. Nothing is more instructive. Nothing is more enlightening than going to the house of mourning, which to us in our culture is going to funeral home. Maybe you've noticed if you been the one funerals are a wake-up call to the living and everyone is up is a captive audience Tell my students that Shepherd seminary and of course I teach on pastoral theology that that there is one event in their ministry life where one may stand to preach. Everyone will listen to every single word they say that to the funeral.

It's as if the room is filled with placards and signs that people are forced to read. Death is inevitable. Life is brief, walk wisely, relationships matter most live for Christ. Life is short and on to Solomon is saying here.

Let me give you a great piece of advice go to a funeral home maybe going to a cemetery walk around sit out there for a while and contemplate your own life contemplate the direction of your life. Think about the fact that one day will be your casket and people will gather to speak of you, Solomon is telling us is because he wants us to have a morbid moment or become melancholy know he he is and against laughter is good medicine right is against fun birthday parties, but in this context, is telling us something that is better because it will take us deeper. The psalmist prayed it this way, teach us to number our days, teach us to think about how fast it's flying along so that we may present in the heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90 verse 12. There's a connection between the brevity of life and the beauty of life. When you contemplate the brevity of your life you're going to understand the beauty of life and ask God that that you will be allowed to become most of it for his glory. Thinking about death invites us to become people, shallow person. The foolish person never gets beyond the party life because of that. The second piece of good advices come into play for those who want to pursue wisdom down here under the sun. Here's the second piece of good advice. Choose your companion carefully. Notice verse five.

It is better there is for Amanda hear the rebuke of the wise then to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot so was the laughter of the fools. This also is vanity. This is fleeting.

The song of fools is fleeting. It's passing the top 40 on the Billboard might be interesting or fun, but there earthbound than shallow and fleeting. Now, in Solomon's day and he's referring to this view through some branches of a thorn bush on a fire, it would flame up quickly. It would provide a short burst of heat you might heat up some tea never cook a meal. It's quick, it's fast sure he's making a play on words here and that the words fourth thorn and hot are similar in the Hebrew Hebrew language is effectively saying that the crackling of a thorn bush fire is like the cackling fool enjoying the company of shallow God deniers might be entertaining for the moment, but the Sheldon L a world of foolish shallow people happens to be our mission field. By the way, so we don't run from it but we don't want to embrace it either. Worse, we don't start acting like it.

Thinking like Solomon writes it's it's vanity. It is the last long, but you're surrounded by foolish people. Solomon hits her to notice verse four. A reference to the heart of fools.

You might circle that phrase as I have drawn a line down the verse five we have a reference to the song of and then down the verse six, where you have the laughter of fool the heart of fools. The song of fools in the laughter of fools. In other words you're surrounded Solomon often refers in his book of Proverbs to the importance of friends doesn't mean you challenge and strengthen one another.

Yeah, the principle of iron sharpening iron is the idea of companions were correcting and improving one another's character.

Proverbs 27 verse 17. The truth is weak, we become like those we allow to influence our lives, we are friends or unbelievers were that close companion needs to be wise, why because whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 1320 and again you gotta keep in mind that in Solomon's mind full as it related to intelligence has nothing to do with Elliott in fifth grade.

The Bible of fool is someone who denies and defies the authority and the reality of God. That kind of fool shows up in all kinds of contacts. In fact the full as described by Solomon in the book of Proverbs 71 different ways. David sorted describes a fool categorically and some 14 one as someone who says it is hard. There is no who is no God. So if you want to pursue wisdom. During this brief live under the sun. Choose your companions. Choose those whom you allow to influence your thinking and your heart in your life carefully.

Verse five again. He points out something better. It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise then to hear the song of fools is what he's saying. Having someone challenge your life is more helpful than having them sing your praises don't be deceived by flattery review.

Why is review is far better than empty silly short-lived accolades member of Congress, was traveling through our area couple of weeks ago called my office and see we could meet at never met him.

We arranged to meet fascinating conversation for about an hour 30 minutes or so. Lawson.

That afternoon he was leaving infected me with the president and he shared with me his testimony a committed believer. After hearing his testimony. I plied him with questions about Washington the state of affairs. I promised him I would mention his name. He told me that over the years he has been given the opportunity to deliver the gospel to many different individuals in the highest reaches of power, he said to me, there are occasions when I am giving the gospel to someone in I it's pretty clear to me that they don't even hear me there so many voices drowning out the can you imagine hearing from thousands of adoring people how great you were only one they realize it was that one person or two or three who were messengers of truth. Solomon is warning us is he saying don't don't be like that. Listen to rebuke be the kind of believer that's open to the companions of wisdom or willing to tell us the truth.

The wisdom of God for our lives, don't turn them off. They will do you more good than a roomful of people singing your praises, contemplate your casket.

Honestly, choose your companions carefully. There's 1/3 piece of good advice. Cultivate your character wisely. Notice verse seven. Now surely oppression drives the wise man in the madness and the bride corrupts the heart now only put this proverb into the form of the question here is how I handle the temptation to cut corners by the price that cannot be bought. Come on, you know when the pressures on doing the right thing is driving you crazy Solomon right in the madness. Just relaxing and go with the flow. Why do you always have to take the high road we trying to prove. Given everybody's doing it, why not take a little something for yourself.

That's the message of the fool.

Solomon is warning all of us. Specially his son in whom he hopes will read this Journal and it seems from what we know from history is that his son ignored.

Don't chase the quick fix. Don't cut corners.

Don't compromise in order to get it just a little more comfortable in life without he reminds us in verse eight, notice their betters the end of things than its beginning in the patient in spirit is better than the proud spirit. In other words, keep on doing the right thing because in the end that quick fix wasn't any better. In fact, it was worse to develop than the characteristics of perseverance and patience even when life is maddening even when the project is taking longer than you thought.

Even when living with integrity and purity is much more taxing and much more exhausting than you ever imagined. Stay at develop a kind of character that refuses the shortcut in life. Verse nine. Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart fools anger you could translate it is constantly lurking in the heart just for people who deny God, he's telling us not to be like them because we can be like, don't be quick to become angry.

Let's turn this proverb in your principal convicting as it might be. Here's what Solomon is saying an angry spirit is a reality check. I might not be as distinctive from the world as I thought it was or think I where does anger show up where is where were that fuses real short what he isn't telling us another you follow God that that's all been taken care of in a rep to worry about that again know you have that that issue to deal with this move on to verse 10 say not. Why were the former days better than these, for it is not from wisdom that you ask why were the former days better than these is that our verse for today, let's talk about a good old days used to be back in whenever good days back then why can't we get the good old days back again when we ever going to get those good days back again. Think about it for think about this. Solomon is writing this about his generation in 970 BC the good old days back.

Every generation has this problem every generation is the natural inclination toward a discontented heart about today and yesterday was so much better, really.

Oh for the leaks cannot be Jeff, can you believe actually said that everything was better back then was away while the runners common areas and here's what the good old days really are the good old days are a combination of a good adulation that a bad memory. But here's the larger issue. Why is it not, why, why does he say you talk like that you're not why we put it into a principal pining for the past doesn't solve any problems in the present. Just makes you complain about the present and and furthermore it overlooks the fact, which is an glorifying to God.

God was God was just as involved. Back there in 970 BC as he was in 1950 8D or 2020 for that matter. The bigger issue is that we tend up high for the past week we we airbrush the past. We glorify the past which is unbelief. We miss them the opportunity to bring glory to God in the presence what you do today Lord.

This is the day the Lord has made we will complain about what used to go we will rejoice and be glad little convicting verse 11. Wisdom is good with an inheritance and advantage to those who see the sun for the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has Solomon is delivering a warning here that receiving an inheritance is a good thing but without wisdom that inheritance is more than likely going to destroy your life is think about how many lives you've read of who receive some immense inheritance a child or a grandchild and they just the truck backed up and unloaded you've read about their lives essentially disintegrating. Why, because suddenly they had wealth, but they did not have wisdom you cannot manage it. It isn't wrong to have it. But with that comes the great need for wisdom. Solomon faxes say here that inheritance of the bed, but your life is protected or preserved in a life worth living without wisdom, a wealthy multimillionaire once told me that in confidence a few years before he died that he was going to leave his millions to ministry causes because he'll he said if I left it all to my children, is that I know it will ruin their lives.

Let's cultivate the characteristics of integrity and patience and trust in God that Solomon is delivered some life-changing counsel here first, contemplate your casket seriously. Second, choose your companions carefully third.

Cultivate your character wisely.

Not here's the final category of good advice. Number four.

Consider your creator humbly verse 13. Consider the work of God who can make straight what he has made crooked in the day of prosperity be joyful in the day of adversity, consider God has made comments, created the one as well as the other so that man may not find any find out anything that will be after him put this text in the form of two statements.

First, God constructed the twists and turns of life to strengthen our spiritual confidence in him. Verse 13.

Again, consider the work of God, who could make straight what he has made crooked get the implication God has created your winding crooked path. The reason you can't see very far ahead down that path is because you can't see around the corner. And God has created all kinds of corners in your life, you designed your race with one turn after another.

Your walk with God is not a straight line from Earth to heaven. We all wanted to be God did that God created that winding path for reasons he may never explain this side of and so with humility. We ballot his throne and we develop confidence not to smooth out or straightened out. But confidence in our creator made. Second, here's the second principle God created the ups and downs of life to stabilize our dependence on him.

Verse 14 again in the day of prosperity be joyful in the day of diversity. Consider God is made one as well as the other.

He has created the ups and downs of life. It is always up and it is always down, and the truth is a Solomon answer. We don't know what happened the day after tomorrow. We don't know what can happen an hour from now God is in control from the day of your birth to the day of your death that winding crooked Road all the ups and downs of life, the creator design that had just me.

So what are we going to do so, things really considered trust created.

We all want good advice. We want to make good decisions and follow the advice of wise people who can guide us in today. We've received advice from the wisest man who ever lived. King Solomon in his advice to you no matter what happens, trust and follow your creator God thanks for joining us today here on wisdom for the hearts with this lesson. Stephen Devi began a new series from Ecclesiastes called pursuing wisdom under the sun to be looking at what it means to live wisely in the days ahead. Today's message is called following the best advice I invite you to learn more about our ministry and access all of our resources by visiting us Thanks again for listening today. Join us next time. For more wisdom for the heart is

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