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January 18, 2021 12:00 am
God is giving using working for diligent on improving read the rivalry and competition all describe her this text is that they have this in common PC success.
I have enough leisure. They will always count on about what they have is a common perspective, lack faith and trust in God. We live in a world with many incorrect perspectives, motivations and opinions so as people who seek to honor God. How can we discern who to listen to and who to ignore. Welcome to wisdom for the heart. Today Stephen baby begins a series from the book of Ecclesiastes.
It's a book full of God's wisdom from the pen of Solomon. In it he describes some worldly motivations and provides the believer with the key to recognizing the right voice. Today's message is called listening to the right voice is critical, saying in life is to follow the right advice to listen to the right voice. One of the richest men to ever live on the planet is reaching the end of his life recognizes he spent decades following the wrong voice of living on my many attempts to settle the score to set things right many ways by writing a personal journal you want to.
Summary of the reason we been studying it ever since.
Back there with me. Would you call the book of Ecclesiastes. If you're new to our study and we arrive at a place in this journal where Old Testament scholars consider the middle part of his journal. Chapters 4 through the end of chapter 10 are considered the middle section in this book and notice as we study it together sounds a lot like the book of Robert.
It has short paragraphs seemingly disconnected thoughts. It's nearly impossible to outline if at all. He covers tremendous territory at a very brief period of time.
It's time to survival guide it's in a manner of speaking, it is a manual to avoiding pitfalls and in the data is how to navigate rough water in life and if the first part of his journal could be referring to finding meaning under the sun.
This middle part of his journal. I think it be entitled to surviving evil under the sun.
What he does. The very outset begins to describe very graphically and very realistically the world around him and you discover fairly quickly. The world over the last 3000 years is now in chapter 4, he pulls back the curtain on four different scenes and describes them for us. Now if we had a program guide that always sort of created as a way to outline the first scene could be entitled heartless oppression and you can subtitle it in your playbills something like being on the wrong side of of earthly power. The curtain opens verse one. Reeves noticed there. Chapter 4. Again, I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun, and behold the tears of the press, they had no one to comfort them on the side of their oppressors.
There was power and there was no one to comfort them with the scene is a very emotional entry in Solomon's journal twice. He says there is no one to comfort them. In other words, there is no escape, no indication no improvement, no rescue inside.
He is essentially saying there is no earthly resource down here under the sun to give them comfort come back to that old.
This is an intensely emotional entry didn't really meant for speed reading other were connected through a fairly fairly quickly, but he's looking around he spent a long time is an older man and he categorically describes the world as if all oppression use. This Hebrew root word for oppression three times by the way, in that one verse we've just read notice look back. He uses the first to describe the actions around him. I saw all the pressure was of the disease. Then he uses it to describe the victims and behold hello tears of the oppressed have no recourse other than tears of despair, and the third time Solomon uses it to describe the culprits noticed on the side of their oppressors.
There was power so you have oppressions you have the oppressed and you have the oppressors that dug into my Hebrew help in my study this root word refers to those in power who abuse burden literally can be rendered to trample or to crash those who are weaker or smaller or indefensible or poorer or lower down there on the food chain for that Solomon you'll notice doesn't specify exactly individuals.
These thinking that's good because frankly stop everything in their simply referring to in this particular scene. Those with more power than others and they miss use it to cross other people to her other depressor might be an abusive husband or parent can include everybody from a bully at school to dictator in some country sex slaver and abortionist again leader Tim and employer in a suit, the word for oppression can refer to driving someone that has no legal recourse of the land or personal rights or even food. It includes those who suffer under tyrannical rule for their faith as millions are suffering today around the world for the testimony of following Christ. You deliver very long before you can add to that list that I created in my study in about three minutes what it means to oppress others. You need not delivering on in in in the world before you'll see your own illustrations with your own eyes of oppression acting out on the stage of human history you go all the way back to the beginning. Go back to Adam and Eve, and it all began with their sin there expelled from the garden. In chapter 3 and eight verses later you have a record of the first murder longer time involvement.
It is eight verses of the record of human history where you get to the first event where an older brother stronger and more powerful rises in a rage identity and kills his younger brother for doing the right thing oppression. The corruption of the human heart seems to defy description. Like the teenage boy a few days ago I read about their country got into his pickup truck he was driving past his elderly man walking on the streets with his cane minding his own business is young man did a U-turn sped up and literally ran over that man crushing him to death when he was caught and later interviewed just a couple of days ago said just as cavalier as you can imagine is you just wanted to know what it would feel like to kill somebody follow the news world is filled with oppression and with this kind of heavy bleeding, discouraging scene, he would think that following that description, Solomon would repeat what he said over in chapter 3, where he would remind everybody that God is sovereign and one day all of human history will culminate in a holy justice, God will make everything right. He doesn't he's he's focusing on down here.
You notice under the sun, and he comes up with this particular conclusion. Verse two so I thought the dead were already dead.
More fortunate than the living was still alive better than both is he is not yet been born, that is and is not seen the evil deeds of the gun under the sun you come to the conclusion.
This is the perspective of somebody stuck down here under the song without any comfort and belonging to the God of all comfort. Even though there are answers there is the answer date is but here under the sunny good stuff down here and Mike Solomon again to the observation is better to be dead than alive. Tragically, on 30 people in our country today. On average, you come to the same conclusion. Another life, one of the tragedies of our civilized world or Western world is this increasing rate of suicide. Solomon is a recommend explicit he's actually saying it would be better to have never been born in all that have to suffer through this kind of world which is heartless and destructive and corrupting and dangerous and selfish and painful be better never been born. Twice he writes there without comfort uses. By the same Hebrew word is that views over in Psalm 23 which hints at what we find. Our only real and true and lasting comfort were David writes in Psalm 23 of the good Shepherd's rod and staff. They what comfort the ultimate source of comfort is done here under the sun from the creator of the sun like a believer. I read about recently.
The young lady living in Muslim majority world, which is now disowned by her family, her life is at risk. She's been disowned she's put out. She writes my life is in constant danger but instead of despairing. I am finding comfort in God's word and God's presence. David saw this right. Would Solomon no doubt sign growing up praise and poetry, such as in Psalm 119 day drawing near his brain got a draw near to persecute me with evil purpose, but you are near, O Lord, all my ways are before you see below.
This I rise before dawn and cry for help.
My hope is in your word.
The opening scene is heavy, describes a world of heartless oppression where people are on the wrong side of earthly power of a second seems out of describes equally widespread invective might be a little closer to home will call it India's rivalry and you could subtitle it keeping up with the Joneses notice verse four then I saw that all toil and skill in working to translate that all success in work all achievement in work comes from a man whose energy is neighbor. This also is vanity and chasing after we are solidly speaking in general terms.
Yet it is a tiny savings when we might have in only. It is essentially saying that one of the driving motivations out there in the rat race of this world is nothing less than competition.
It's the you will. It is the competing to succeed on my how do you determine success is determined by owning more than the other guy gets by selling or having more possessing or accomplishing more than your competitors. Which is why you called that we call them are competitors. Our world is often simply divided into two classes there either your clients or their your competitors and the rivalry covetousness, the envying of success, rather than the enjoyment of that sinful desire that means we don't we all just want to get ahead, we want to get ahead of the other guy. It isn't enough to have enough it's only in that I have more than the other guy. We live in a world seal went off the road with Joneses who were trying to keep up with other Joneses. My apologies if your last name is Jones. This is not about you entire any last name or Solomon just suddenly reverses the scene and he starts talking about what will call arrogant laziness is the opposite we could subtitle resigning from the rivers whenever Scott the fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.
I know that sounds great. What what he means is he is self-destructing is cannibalizing himself.
He's the victim of his own arrogant sorority narrator. Keep in mind a fool in the Bible is nothing to do with SAT scores of fool in the Bible is someone wrapped up in themselves absorber with them so so here is somebody is happening here. Somebody you think they're better than all those people out there now represent scramble golf, find, not me.
I'm going to resign from that bowl was a little as I possibly can do my work with. If you doesn't mean unemployed. Clock in and then I clocked out and in between clocking in and clocking out there who don't work really hard at avoiding what you do work around avoiding worker lethargic. Nothing about their work inspires them more fires up there imagination killing time Psalm. This is not directly wasting their life that is the solution you there believer AA Wurster hurting your testimony reputation expecting others to pull her weight and and do the chores and sign for tough assignments. They essentially expected to serve in a folder hand you serve on the concert they're not going to over compete, so they end up underperforming. Neither one is a biblical work ethic to pursue. Solomon is describing a scene of oppression and what it means to be the victim of earthly temporary power and how the comfort must come from God. He was sovereign as places where he displaces for his purposes and those answers might come later. He describes the scene over rivalry and how we can get caught up in the rat race and before you know really just trying to pass somebody else. Not sure why he describes arrogant laziness where which is sort of resign and let those crazy people raise and Ron were and so before I get to Solomon's response. Let me take you one more scene skipped out of her seven says this again. I saw vanity and some one person who has no other eat her son or brother.
Yet there is no end to all his toil is describing someone with blinding vision. He's describing Amanda doesn't have an air doesn't have a family doesn't have an extended family. By the way, and the implication here is that he doesn't want one. They're going to get in the way of this materialism and his money is further desires are never satisfied with riches so that he never asks. He never does come around asking the obvious question for whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure.
This also is vanity and an unhappy business. What is describing here is a miser is like in my mind it in the subtitle of the scene would be imitating Ebenezer Scrooge. This is noses in the ledger's only friends are money and work in an elite anybody anybody in front of everybody leaving them alone.
Anyway, Solomon informs us that this person never does look up as it were, open his eyes get past his bank account or his possessions or his toys are as trophies or whatever might be saved. Why my dunes. Why am only working and living for myself why am I not helping anybody else. Why does everyone belong to me and why is it that there is no satisfaction my riches. Why is it that today I'm just like I was last year and the year before. I still want more, more tough in the middle of the scene. Is this proverb notices go to verse six better is a handful of quietness, than to hands full of toil and strive to win.
Solomon is describing someone if you want to write one word in your notes, or maybe in the margin. Your Bible writer. This text is the work back. Why is balance his hands scratch unfolded idle.
He is trying to stuff more into two hands are already stuff all but given up on work eateries got one work working hand. But it is the picture of balance and that hand is filled with what not saying he's not successes, not achievements, not not possessions. It's quite that's a word in the Hebrew language that is synonymous with content content within me. Solomon is describing balanced, wise, contentment says I have one hand, and I one handful God is giving me what I have on using it on working diligent on improving doing my due diligence with, but I understand this from God and it is ultimately for God and one hand is enough enough to grasping the greed and the rivalry and competition all describe her this text and it struck me. This is somewhat of an artificial out of it struck me that they have this in common. None of these scenes have anybody in the more they're able to say I have enough power-of success. I have enough leisure no.
They will always count what they have what they want and you do not and Solomon right here. Did you notice how the proverb begins with the word better or something better or something circle that were this is superior. This is worth pursuing. This is a voice to listen to this is this is inspired advice to follow. And by the way, if you listen to this voice which is the advice of God's spirit. It will invite you to trust what God has put in your hand just enough like use it were counted. Enjoy it.
Ultimately give him glory for I can think of a more powerful testimony. Frankly of contentment in recent generations that about 100 years ago from an eight-year-old girl who had every reason to spend your life complaining for what had been taken away from when she was six weeks old. She caught a cold family physician was away was a country doctor. Somebody told them about talent was recommended to see her passing.
Turns out he was in the doctor. He was pretending he prescribed some hot poultices to be applied to her eyelids, which become swollen, rash the infection cleared up. Eventually the treatment scarred her eyes. It wasn't long before her parents realized she had lost her sight country doctor had long since disappeared was never seen again. She was five years old friends and neighbors collected enough money to send her to a specialist to see if anything be done even though she was five years old at the time. She would later write she never forgot hearing that Dr. eventually say to her, you poor child you will probably never see again. That wasn't her attitude.
She would give her life to the Lord.
She was old enough to understand the gospel and committed her life to Christ and she turned to poetry to express her confidence and commitment and contentment and was a long before Fanny Crosby wrote her first poem came back to my mind it's convicting. It's confrontive for those of us in a world engulfed with status, power and prestige rivalry, competition, arrogance she seemed to understand this proverb of lies. Balance even at a very young age he got it put something in her hand, glorifying sore first poem written when she was only eight years of age sort of underscores this got the contact with the cyclone. She writes how many blessings I enjoy that other people don't.
So we or sign because I'm blind, I cannot. Oh what a happy child. I am although I cannot see I am resolved that in this world content that's the perspective that you and I need to have if we want to honor God with our lives.
We need to be content with whatever God has for us. I hope this time in God's word has helped you today. Perhaps there are some worldly perspectives that you've adopted take the time for some self evaluation and allow the wisdom from God's word to shape and form. Your perspective today. Thanks for joining us here on wisdom for the heart.
This was less than one in a series called surviving evil under the sun. It comes from Ecclesiastes are Bible teacher Stephen Devi will be continuing this series over the next several broadcasts between now and the next lesson. Please take advantage of the resources we have available for firstname.lastname@example.org you can listen to the entire archive of Stephen's Bible teaching ministry. You can also download the manuscripts for each message.
Thanks again for joining us. Be with us next time. For more wisdom for the heart