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Making it Safely Home

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2021 12:00 am

Making it Safely Home

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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January 27, 2021 12:00 am

For the Christian, our life here on this earth is but a temporary stay on our way to eternal happiness in our eternal home. We may call where we live now our "home," but we won't find our true home until we die. In this lesson, Solomon looks forward, far into the future. Stephen Davey concludes this series with a special lesson from Ecclesiastes, and a bit of Revelation too!

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It goes all the way back to people who defied their creator and worshiped creation and, by the way, became subjugated to that creation. You deny your creator and you no longer know where you came from, you no longer know where you're going. Solomon says, who knows beyond this brief life down here under the sun what is ahead for man? Who knows?

Well, the answer is make that a capital W. God knows. Many people wander through life. They have no idea where their life came from and they're uncertain about where their life is heading. For the Christian, our life here on earth is nothing but a temporary stay on our way to eternal happiness in our eternal home. We may call where we live now our home, but we won't find our true home until we're with Jesus. Welcome to Wisdom for the Heart. In today's Bible lesson, Solomon looks forward far into the future. Stephen Davey concludes this series with a special lesson from Ecclesiastes and a bit of revelation too.

This message is called Making it Safely Home. In his bestselling book entitled Into Thin Air, the author tells the account of an expedition to the summit of Mount Everest that took place about 25 years ago. One member of the expedition was a 46-year-old Japanese woman, Yasuko. She had a long list of accomplishments in this field as a climber. She was renowned in her home country of Japan. Yasuko had already climbed six of the famous seven summits, which hardcore climbers all want to accomplish, representing the seven highest points on the seven continents.

So far, less than 500 people have accomplished that in history. There was one summit left for her to conquer, and that was Mount Everest. This had been her lifelong goal. As the expedition team climbed, she pushed herself extremely hard, even jostling her way on the last leg to the front of the line. She wanted to get to the top of the mountain. Eventually, she did with the rest of her team. Later that same afternoon, Yasuko and a number of other climbers were caught in a sudden and blinding blizzard.

The temperatures plummeted and the icy winds blew unmercifully. Having expended all her energy to get to the summit already physically weakened, she succumbed to the exhaustion of the climb and froze to death on the mountain. According to their guide, who was interviewed later, her fatal flaw was that, as he said it, she had mistaken her ultimate goal.

What she had wanted the most was to stand on top of the world, so to speak, and all of Japan, by the way, cheered for their favorite daughter when she did. But the guide said that was the wrong goal. In fact, he said it's a common and fatal mistake even among experienced climbers. He said the goal of climbing is not to reach the summit. It's to get back down safely. That's the goal.

And she had pursued the wrong one. For several months, before any of us knew how to pronounce coronavirus, we've been reading from what is essentially the expedition journal of King Solomon. He's been climbing such great heights that we find hard to imagine, from buildings to parks to gardens to palaces to a global reputation of splendor and honor, not to mention every utensil in his dining room is made of solid gold. He was the golden king. What a king.

Right? What a king. What a climb to the summit of life. Somewhere along the way, he began pursuing the wrong goals, didn't he?

He began heading in the wrong direction. And now, as an old man, having come to his senses, and I believe, as we've explained, to genuine repentance, God's back in the story, so to speak. He's writing about this expedition, and he's informing primarily his son.

And to our benefit, we're able to have it as well by divine inspiration. He's wanting him to know where he got off track, why he ended up expending so much energy in the wrong direction, and how we can avoid the same mistakes. So we're going back to our study, and we're now at chapter six and near the end of it, the last paragraph. Now, over these past five months away, I'm sure you've been reading daily from Ecclesiastes.

I haven't either, but I've been looking forward to getting back. Now, in chapter six of the last paragraph, by the way, Hebrew scholars believe this is the midway point of the Hebrew text. It's almost as if Solomon now is going to pull us over at halftime and remind us of the big picture. He's going to make several sweeping statements in this last paragraph, and I'm outlining them in the form of three declarations just to help guide us in our study today. These are three reminders, so to speak. We need to remember as we climb the mountain, so to speak, of life in order to make it safely home.

Here's the first reminder, and then we'll get into the text. What has happened in the past took place under the creative authority of God. Now, notice verse 10, just the first phrase. Whatever has come to be has already been named.

Stop there for a moment. God isn't specifically mentioned, by the way, but he's in between every line of this summary statement. Solomon is essentially saying that whatever has happened throughout history, it has been named, meaning it's under the authority of God. Throughout the ancient world, the idea of naming something, the idea of naming someone is a sign of authority over that thing or over that someone, and that's what he's referring to.

Whatever's happened has been named. That refers to the authority of God. If I go back in your memory to the sixth day of creation, God creates and then names, we're given the details later in chapter two, he names him Adam. He is demonstrating his authority over mankind. And if you remember your creation history, God brings all of the animal kinds, families, to whom?

To Adam. And he says, name them. He is allowing Adam to demonstrate that God given a right to rule over the animal kingdom. In Genesis chapter one, we're given the details.

God creates the universe. The Bible tells us that he names everything without really telling us he names them. We're just introduced to what he named. The prophet Isaiah tells us that God created the galaxies of planets and stars and then calls them all by name. Isaiah 40, 26.

That's a lot of names. You may remember Daniel and his three Hebrew friends are taken to Babylon. And what does Nebuchadnezzar do immediately? He names them. He gives them new names. He's saying, I have authority over you.

Of course, he's going to find that differently. I'm exercising authority over you. God will change Abram's name to Abraham, the father of a multitude. He'll change Sarai's name to Sarah, the princess of many families.

What's he doing? He's demonstrating authority in their lives. Jesus one day later he looks at Simon and what does he do? He says, I'm going to rename you, Peter.

I'm exercising my authority over your life. And by the way, this is another sermon or two, but we're told that God has already chosen for each of his redeemed a new name he's going to give us in heaven. A special pet name, as it were, as we are under his new and glorious eternal authority. Now here in Ecclesiastes, Solomon broadens this idea. And this Hebrew construction is what we call a divine passive. I know that's thrilling to know, but what this means is that God is behind the scenes who is naming everything.

That's how broad this is. God has named whatever has come to be. Whatever has come to be has been named, meaning God has authority over all of history. It's the idea. Whatever has happened, there is nothing that has happened, but that God doesn't say, I got a name for that.

Yeah, I got a name for that. He has authority over all of past history. Here's the second reminder. What is happening in the present is taking place under the caring sovereignty of God. Here's the next phrase in verse 10, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he. The more words, the more futility or vanity, and what is the advantage to man? In other words, what is the advantage to argue with someone stronger than you? Who is the one stronger than you? In Solomon's mind, he's expecting us to know. The one who named us knows us. He's stronger than we are, superior to us. God not only named you, he knows everything about you.

He knows everything you're going through. You can argue with me, God essentially says. You can dispute me, but you're disputing with someone far more brilliant, far stronger than you.

C.S. Lewis put it well when he wrote that to argue with God is to argue with the one who made it possible for you to argue with him. I'm going to clear things up for God as to what I think ought to be happening in the present. This is Solomon, by the way. I think this is a reminder as he pens this to himself that even though he was considered what? He was considered the smartest guy on the planet, the wisest man. He's nothing compared to the wisdom of God's sovereign glory. So instead of arguing with God, he's recommending instead of arguing with God more, let's surrender to God more often. Another pastor I was reading on this text wrote of our own sense of independence and confidence.

Sometimes it's humorous if you think about it. He illustrated by writing this. When I started a new church, I was soon overwhelmed with pressure and stress, long work weeks, pressing worries, finally the inability to sleep. When we eventually moved into our home, I had saved the heaviest piece of furniture for last. It was the desk from my office. As I was pushing and pulling that desk with all my might, my four-year-old son came over and asked if he could help.

I smiled and said, sure. And then together we started sliding that desk across the carpeted floor of the living room. He was pushing and grunting and straining as we inched our way along. And then after a few minutes, my four-year-old stopped pushing, looked up at me and said, dad, you're in the way. You're in the way. And then he tried to push it all by himself and of course it didn't budge.

It occurred to me that my problem was that I was handling my present situation like my son thought he could handle that desk. God isn't really helping all that much. In fact, he seemed to be in the way. Solomon has spent years, by the way, leading up to this journal, putting God over on the sidelines. Or in the analogy of a mountain climber, he's leaving God at base camp while he strikes out on his own.

God's going to get in the way. The good news is God was long suffering in Solomon's life like he is with you and me. He didn't leave Solomon alone. Yeah, Solomon's paid a high price in consequences for his rebellion. He's virtually lost so much of what matters in life. He's going to see the kingdom crumble. His son is never going to have what he had hoped to give him. But I'm so glad to see him here now as an old man realizing he'd been following the wrong goal.

It wasn't reaching the summit of all those achievements. It was walking with God and getting home safely. So an older, wiser Solomon, I see him dipping his quill in the ink and making another entry in his expedition journal. Here's a third reminder. What will happen in the future will take place under the comprehensive wisdom of God. What's happened in the past, what's happening in the present, and what's going to happen in the future, really all of it, is under the comprehensive wisdom of God. By the way, what strikes me as interesting on a personal note is I wrote this outline before the virus shut everything down. This was the sermon I was going to preach the Sunday, the first Sunday we had to cancel. This is the outline. This is the truth.

Then it is the truth now. Notice the last verse in Ecclesiastes 6. Verse 12. For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain, fleeting life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun? Now, what I want to do is break down this reminder into the two questions that Solomon asks here. And these are two questions, again, Solomon would have expected us to answer with the only answer with which we can answer.

Question number one. Who knows what's best in life? Go back to the first part of verse 12. For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his fleeting life? Who knows?

Make that a capital W. Who knows? God knows. God knows. God created, he named, he ordained, he managed history all the way up to the point where he dropped you right in the middle of it. So who really knows what's best in your life while you spend it racing through it like a shadow passes along? God does. Who has the best advice for life today?

Solomon is reminding us, well, that would be God. This is the struggle, isn't it, with parents as your children age? And the older they get, the tougher it gets. And you try to give them advice.

Maybe you've lived long enough to know that's the challenge too. Mom, you tell your daughter, sweetie, I want you to know that popularity or whatever isn't the most important thing in middle school. And she looks at you like you just, you never lived through that.

Dad, you tell your son, look, son, I don't think it's a good idea to make your college decision based on where your girlfriend is going. And he looks at you like you don't have a clue. Dad's so out of touch with reality. Solomon says, do you know about life? Are you older than God? Have you been around that long? I think we appear to him as silly, often as silly as our children do to us.

With the gravity and what they believe to be the gravest of questions. What do you think is best for your life? Go back to the beginning. God made you. God named you. He knows you. He knows everything about the mountain you're climbing.

He's completely aware of what will satisfy and what will not. Solomon asks, who knows what is good for man while he lives so briefly. By the way, keep in mind now that Solomon is the kind of man who lived the kind of life that everyone who knew him, everyone who heard about him, everyone who met him, everyone who watched him would have categorically said the same thing. That man is living a good life. If anybody knows what a good life is, it's Solomon.

Oh, really? Now God knows Solomon is drawing us back to him. Are we listening to his word, which is the best advice there is?

Question number two. Who knows what's beyond this life? Solomon writes in the last part of verse 12, for who can tell man what will be after him under the sun? Who knows the future? Again, he's driving us into this cul-de-sac where the only answer we can give him is the only right answer and that is God knows.

But isn't this still the question of the ages? Where did I come from? Why am I here and where am I going? God knows the answers to all those. You go all the way back to Nimrod, it occurred to me, and the Tower of Babel, we call it, in Genesis 11, and defiant mankind is refusing just 100 years after the flood, already the human race is defying God.

We're not going to spread out, we're not going to scatter, we're not going to fill the earth, we're going to build an empire, we're staying together. They build a tower, the top which reaches heaven, which is a little confusing, it means it represents heaven. Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a tower in this region, a step pyramid, a ziggurat, which is part of a worship system. The Arabs in this region have nicknamed it the Tower of Nimrod, we don't know if it's the ruins of that original tower, probably isn't, it probably dates back to Nebuchadnezzar. What we do know is that here in early Babylonia, Nimrod and this defiant human civilization formalizes the worship of the stars, which they believe can reveal and even influence your future. I found it interesting that 400 years before the birth of Christ, the historian Herodotus wrote that these ziggurats dotted the landscape, and they do, you can find them in ancient civilizations around the world. Same thing, the ziggurat, which was part of their worship of the stars, the zodiac originating back here in early Babylonia, the astral signs originally created by Nimrod. And from the Tower of Babel and the worship of the stars and the belief that somehow they influence our lives and they can help us understand the future, it traveled into, of course, ancient Egypt. There in Egypt with their smooth-edged ziggurats or pyramids, which were constructed with mathematical relationships to the stars. You have the famous Sphinx, of course, still there as a tourist attraction, the head of a woman, the body of a lion, the head of a woman more than likely representing Virgo, which is the first sign of the zodiac and Leo the lion, the last sign of the zodiac.

The Sphinx representing astral worship, it is the worship of the beginning and the end. The universe is eternal. The universe has the answer. To this day, people around you can tell you what sign they were born under, right?

You probably know your own. Millions pour over their horoscopes believing the stars influence their lives. Part of common language today on our own vernacular is, well, the stars were aligned.

This is new. It goes all the way back to people who defied their creator and worshiped creation and, by the way, became subjugated to that creation. You deny your creator and you no longer know where you came from, you no longer know where you're going. Solomon says, who knows beyond this brief life down here under the sun what is ahead for man? Who knows? Well, the answer is make that a capital W. Who knows? God knows. God knows. Let me read for you, believer, let me read for you a description of your future. Just listen. I mean, you can turn if you think I'm making it up, but it's Revelation 21.

Here it is. Then I saw a new heaven, that is literally a new universe, and a new earth for the first universe, all the galaxies, the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, that's the father's house, that's the ziggurat made up gold.

Mankind has been imitating it since the beginning of time. Here it comes, descending, coming down out of heaven from God's going to rest on earth, a new earth, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, gold decked out with precious gems, as he describes it earlier. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people. God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more. Neither shall there be mourning or crying or pain anymore for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, behold, I am making all things new.

I'm recreating everything brand new. And he said, write this down for these words are trustworthy and true. Here's your future. This is trustworthy and true.

He said to me, it is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega. I am the beginning and the end. And to the thirsty I give from the spring of the water of life at no charge.

I love that. The best way to understand the past is to trust him because he was in authority over it. The best way to handle the present is to walk with him because he is in control of it. The best way to prepare for the future is to look for him because one day he will lead you into it because of his faithful grace and mercy all the way safely home. If you're a child of God, that's your destination.

Thanks for joining us today. This lesson is called making it safely home. It's the eighth and final lesson in Steven's series from Ecclesiastes called surviving evil under the sun. If you missed any of the lessons in this series, you can go back and listen to any or all of them. They're posted to our website, which you'll find at wisdomonline.org. Not only will you find this series, but you'll be able to explore the complete archive of Steven's Bible teaching ministry.

For some of the lessons, including this series, you can also watch the video that was taken when Steven preached the message to the church he pastors. Again, all of that and more is at wisdomonline.org. Also be sure and interact with our ministry, Wisdom International, on social media. Thanks again for joining us. Be with us next time for more wisdom for the heart. I'll see you next time. I'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-05 13:44:07 / 2023-12-05 13:53:22 / 9

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