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April 19, 2021 12:00 am
CS Lewis got it right when he wrote to a friend. Even after living through World War II and losing his wife to cancer. He says this is the Christian's duty to be as happy, according to Solomon. The chairs were delivers this most unusual advice to young listen young. Everything is out in front of you don't wish these days were away. Enjoy where you are right now begin now developing a thankful, joyful spirit with the life God is giving believers walk around with sour expressions on their faces hardly ever cracking a smile and rarely laughing. Is that really true or I guess a better question is, should that be true or does God want us to enjoy the life that he's given us. How can we make the most of our lives. Well, working to learn some tips today as we explore the wisdom of King Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes. This is wisdom for the heart, and Stephen Devi has a message for you called how to maximize your life journalist, put it well when he wrote and I quote inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened inside every old person is the person is wondering I mean to say out loud while. How did life go by so fast. What just happened. Everyone today I'm sure to chime in with your own personal unexpected events that occurred in life. Maybe unexplainable things.
Life is fast and is filled with the unexpected and unexplainable. If you were with us in our last study. When we began Ecclesiastes chapter 11, Solomon essentially told us not to let the unexpected things in life. Paralyze us with fear, nor the unexplainable things in life.
Rob us of joy.
How do we do that go this point in his private journal. Solomon is in the process of clearly bringing God back into the scene. Down here under the sun, and that sense of security in that sense of joy can occur as we recognize that the unexpected is actually the expected the perspective of God planned by his sovereign will and what is unexplainable to us is fully known by the wisdom of God.
So he's pointing us, pointing us, pointing us to God.
I appreciate the lyrics of a gospel song that has the walk of faith for a believer in mind and it has a wonderful perspective. Some of the lyrics go like this.
We see the present. Clearly, but he sees the first and last and like a tapestry he's leaving you and me to someday be like him. God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. So when you don't understand when you don't see his plan. You can trace his hand thrust his heart.
Karen, when you can't trace his hand.
Trust is hard. Solomon is an old man now and in their success of you could almost feel and say what happened is that like any older person by the way bring God back into the scene you want to pull up a chair, as it were, and sit down with the young person and say that you need to listen to some things that I've learned give advice. And that's what is really going to do here in the text were going to look at today so if you have your Bibles were in Ecclesiastes 11 right the last two verses of this chapter where this father-son shack is going to take place. I don't want to send the reader listen to it here at. Certainly this is God's word to us. Rejoice young man in your youth and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the site of your eyes, but know that for all these things, God would bring you in the judgment remove vexation from your heart and put away pain from your body for use in the dawn of life are fleeing away. This is an incredibly loaded conversation. Let me let me for our studies take break it down break God's advice through Solomon down into three statements in the first one is really a little surprising here is enjoy your early years thoroughly. Verse nine.
Again, just the first part rejoice young man in your you let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth night you might notice that this command word choice. You might circle that word trace it back up to the earlier verse because that's given to believers of all ages rejoice.
He says in verse eight, but at this point it is God wants to pin this advice on on the lapels of every young person's heart rejoice young man in your you let your heart cheer you in the days of your you Solomon doesn't say here.
Listen here you are, don't forget one day you're gonna be old know somebody says even for the kind of cold water on their enthusiasm.
He doesn't right here you're young. But one day you're going to be old like me.
He actually writes young joy yet to the Ms. Texas convicting the as I read it because I guess I'm old enough thought about it. I'm kinda given that advice, you know, I see the look before you know these days your be over to be over. Even the young parents, you know, before you know those kids going to drive will how encouraging is that doesn't help anybody. I can still remember that the moment I can still picture in my mind, which is another sign of being old you can remember something 30 years ago, but not three minutes ago you there, but I can still remember that moment Marcy had gotten the twins all bundled up and they were in the twin stroller which was as long as a freight car loaded down.
We went to the mall. I guess were a little sick to fix it and I remember her holding the door not pushing that double stroller through and a woman stopped and looked at us and smiled look down at the stroller and and and asked me are those twins and I said yeah you want them will pay you to potty train and then give them back. She kinda laughed and and then she said something that was really music to my lighters especially. She said well I have twin and it'll get easier. That's actually encouraging. Don't don't you know survive but survive and while you're doing it know that it's good to get a little better a little easier but enjoy enjoy where you are right now. By the way, this is especially wonderful advice for young people because whether they want they want to get older they want to get older software in life that reverses, but when you're young you want to get older I can't wait to get older I can't wait to drive. I can't wait to go to college and can't wait to graduate. I can't wait. What just happened. Solomon wants to challenge really there's a positive side of the negative side he wants to challenge the cultivation of discontent that can be begin at a very young age.
I don't like where I am right now. I can't wait to get over.
That's really discontent and it shows up at a very young age, and I've seen it might grant centered six. Not too long ago and in and I could tell they afterward I saw he's already over the thrill of fact he told me I'm going to be seven just turned six and then he said I can't wait can't wait to get older. By the way, don't over.
Don't overlook the fact the rejoicing.
Here's this command to command, which is another way of saying a discontented heart starts very young.
Be careful, deal with it in effect throughout the Scriptures disappears.
It made me think about the fact that its first appearance was back in the garden of perfect paradise, a perfect world believe you've got everything you want, when you like something more. I think it would spirit of discontent. By the way, it appears we might chuckle basically wants to be seven enjoy life now. Enjoy life. Cultivate this command of having a joyful spirit and life enjoying rejoicing in where you are right now effectively does battle with the spirits of ingratitude. This spirit that says I want something different.
I want to be here. I want to be down there only get a little further down the road to be 15.
I'm 15 going to be a dinner they didn't want to be 21 God is given us the gift of our individual lives. Solomon is reinforcing Chapter 11 and there's a reason for the we can easily overlook CS Lewis got it right when he wrote to a friend.
Even after living through World War II and losing his wife to cancer.
He says this is the Christians need to be as happy as he can.
It's really different advice. It is true why rejoice is a command. When's the best time to start practicing the obedience of a joyful spirit. According the Solomon when you're young you pulls up the chairs that were delivers this most unusual advice to young people listen. You're young.
Everything is out in front of you don't wish these days were away. Enjoy where you are right now begin now developing a thankful, joyful spirit with the life gift God has given you. How you do that well start small and work up find something that you can thank God for make Thanksgiving a daily practice. Ask God for eyes to see those gifts great and small, whatever they may be in. Don't wait to get over before you start by doing everybody in the auditory of the days in their youth.
Your younger today and you'll be tomorrow. This is the youngest day of your life so far. Or I guess I should say in terms of the future so suspended wisely. Secondly is another piece of advice here and it's good to spend your early years wisely look at the next phrase in verse nine walk in the ways of your heart and the site of your eyes you could literally translate this follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eye's and you're probably thinking what I thought the first time I saw that what kind of advice is that to get to a young person. Are you kidding you don't tell young person to follow the impulses of their heart when you're trying to corral. That stuff is like giving a 16-year-old. The keys to our sports car, hoping they'll drive under the speed limits that to happen. Tell young people to follow their dreams of all other creative thoughts exactly what Solomon writes Solomon looks to the young person says what is it what is it in life. It really gets you excited about life.
When you see that you want to go after what are you interested in doing with your life, what is it that you really like to pursue.
Now here's the qualifier notice last part of the verse, but know that for all these things, God will bring you in the judgment.
In other words, just make sure that whatever it is you're going after God would be pleased if you caught it. If you found if you did it but don't misunderstand, this is not a negative wet blanket. This is not a this idea of judgment is not to be understood in this context to some kind of damper is it Solomon said joyride. Just remember one day getting a hold of God judge know that's not the spirit of the phrase.
Solomon is simply reminding young people to freedom has offense that the privileges come with responsibilities that that liberty has accountability, forget that. He reminds the youth of their ultimate accountability is this coming day we will stand before their Creator God. So with that, then there's this idea of coming to pursue life because I want to infest these early years wisely, which is another way of saying don't waste these early years. Don't waste your life when other rights. It is a boy used to hear illustrations from his preacher father when he preached here at the one of his father's most gripping illustrations was a man, the church prayed for her for many decades old church where he pastored his older man was resistant to the gospel at all hard hard hard demeanor your eyes go one day for some reason this man showed up on a Sunday. My father was preaching at the end of the service. Everybody is amazing he came and took my father's hand and they sat down together on the front pew of the church is the people were dismissed and God open his heart to the gospel of Christ. He was saved from his sins. Given eternal life that did not stop him from sobbing and saying as tears ran down his wrinkled face and what an impact it made on me to hear my father repeat with this man said through his own tears have wasted wasted. This author writes the script me more than the stories of young people died in car wrecks before they were born again the story of an old man weeping that he wasted his life awakened in me a fear and passion not to waste my sounds like Solomon here in the closing portion of his private journal is one more point to make to the youth of every generation. I believe in the providence of God.
This is exactly what he wants you to hear today. Enjoy your early years. Currently, invest your early years wisely now. Thirdly, guard your early years carefully verse 10 remove vaccination from your heart. The word vexation, by the way, combines two ideas, anger and resentment when anger and resentment coexist in a young person's heart, you end up with rebellion.
Put away anger put away resentment and you will be putting away rebellious spirit.
Young people struggle with this early on because life seems to get in the way and older people seem to get in the way parents, teachers and coaches there are chasing down why something gets in the way anger and resentment can build. Solomon is effectively saying here, you better learn how to deal with this early in life because you get to find out through my the matter how old you are, that something or somebody is going to get in your way of you pursuing what you think you want in life might be an illness might be a financial disaster. It might be a coworker who beats you to that promotion to be anything but something is always going to be in the way so to speak of your happiness that you can use as your excuse. Learn to resist anger and resentment from growing in your heart. Then notice the next part of this command in verse 10 remove vaccination from your heart, put away pain from your body for use in the dawn of life, translate the prime of life are fleeting, vanity passing away youth and dawn, the dawn of life are fleeting.
This expression comes from a word that literally means black dawn of life use and blackness are fleeting, typically used, to refer to a full head of black hair, as opposed to the gray hair of a Solomon is writing here, you could render this way, use, and that black had a hair your is fleeting that God cares and it turned gray words given turn loose one of those.
So during the days of youth and that expression vitality. Solomon writes or did you notice put away pain from your body, what you say.never know where your helmet and elbow pads and no work paying refers the evil sin in the context of its relationship to the body. Specifically referring to the sins of the flesh, immorality, Solomon is referring here. Candidly, the sexual sin that brings danger pain as a consequence to the body but I can tell you young people. One of the tragic failures of the older generation in our culture.
Here, growing up under is that it is our proofing and applauding and endorsing and promoting and selling sexual promiscuity to young people as if it will not bring pain and danger and regret that one of the blights on our generation is a culture is that we have taken the word safe and attached it to the word sex that relates to any sexual relations outside of marriage is what they're talking about.
There is no such thing as safe sin.
Sin is never safe.
Sin always has consequences be like going to the beach where sharks have been cited in hammering up a sign that says safe swimming Solomon.
I find it interesting will write more about sexual sin than just about any other topic you know because he wasted his life and denies an old man is essentially saying to bring you a lot of pain a lot of regret. He writes to the young man in Proverbs 5 is an illustration of the danger of sexual promiscuity, and he writes in verse 11 that at the end of your life you're going to grown when your flesh and your body are consumed is to be understood literally.
This is a warning is never going to make it in the movies never going to make it in your textbooks is ever going to make it in the commercials sexual activity is creating this tidal wave among our youth and our culture with its consequences.
That is, for the most part the unspoken pandemic.
Listen to the Centers for Disease Control of you heard of the Centers for Disease Control, we would listen to a statistic.
You'll never see on the news and I quote a new sexually transmitted disease or infection is diagnosed on average every 45 seconds and in its wake are pain, blindness, arthritis, infertility, brain damage, heart disease and death. In spite of 50 years of penicillin and wonder drugs, millions of people are contracting new generations of incurable, sexually transmitted diseases every 45 seconds, another author wrote 300,000 people will contract hepatitis B every year globally imagine any disease spreading the 300,000 people a year and never hearing about it.
It's a virus primarily transmitted through sexual contact that causes permanent liver damage and death. The Centers for Disease Control issued a statement of fact, just 24 months ago and I quote combined cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia reached an all-time high in the United States this year there were more than 115,000 syphilis cases reported this year. Gonorrhea increased more than 580,000 cases and chlamydia increased to more than 1.7 million cases in one year. Do the math. 2.4 million Americans contracted sexually transmitted diseases causing sickness, pain, contagion and even death. Ladies and gentlemen, you've not seen one press conference you've not heard one mandate you've not heard one warning you not seen anything on television.
Why isn't it obvious our world doesn't want to own up to anything related to God's design defense. The boundary this protection, it doesn't want to hear any advice from Solomon or the church or God for that matter. That would in any way restrict they wanted to with their bodies. Solomon pulls up a chair and he looks every young person and the guy gives a warning that youth are not hearing today saying essentially, this is God's word. This is God's design. This is God's protection put this is far away from you is you can while you're young I want you to enjoy your youth want you to make the most of it got to do it God's way.
God knows what's best. God created these diseases are warning.
Enjoy the gift of life is given.
Enjoy these early years thermal investor early years wisely. Guard your early years carefully and let me say this again.
No matter how old you are today. It's never too early is a powerful lesson from God's word today. Enjoy this day thoroughly invest the time you have wisely and guard your life carefully.
I'm glad you took the time to join us today here on wisdom for the heart.
This is the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey, I'm Scott Wiley. The sermon you heard today is called how to maximize your life. It's message number 11 in a series entitled pursuing wisdom under the sun.
If you'd like to hear the full length message. This series is posted in the archives of our website, you can listen to Stephen's message read along in his manuscript, or if you want you can watch the video of Stephen teaching this message to the church he pastors.
You'll find all of firstname.lastname@example.org once again it's wisdom online.org and you can go there anytime you can send us an email if you address it to email@example.com or phone number if we can help you today is 86 648 Bible or 866-482-4253. Thanks for taking the time to join us today. Be with us next time. For more wisdom for the