Summary: Throughout this series in Ecclesiastes, we have been provided with some directions for life. And in this chapter that we are looking at this morning, we are given the wise direction to fear God and follow His commandments.
FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS
Following directions. It’s a concept that is taught in kindergarten, and ignored every year after that. Following directions is not easy for many, or so it seems…Many of you probably have memories of buying your kids some kind of toy for Christmas. And instead of following the directions that are provided, we usually just wing it…ending up with several parts left over.
Following directions is how we learn. It’s how we learn to do things like tying our shoes or driving a car. Maybe it’s just a lost art. I tell you though, sometimes people’s inability to follow directions really frustrates me. Things like people who use the passing lane to drive 10 miles under the speed limit, or people who think that 30 items are close enough to 10 at the express check-out line at Wal-Mart, or people who allow their kids to cut in line at the concession stand and then pretend not to notice. Following directions. It seems so easy, yet it baffles so many.
Throughout this series in Ecclesiastes, we have been provided with some directions for life. And in this chapter that we are looking at this morning, we are given the wise direction to fear God and follow His commandments.
THE DELIVERY OF WISDOM’S TREASURE (Vv. 9-10)
Throughout this series, we’ve followed Solomon in his search for meaning and purpose to life. We’ve seen him try all sorts of experiences and attitudes. But I don’t think Solomon’s search was included in this book for his benefit, I think it was included for our benefit. Not only was Solomon the possessor of wisdom, he was also the dispenser of wisdom as well. It’s quite possible to have a lot of wisdom and keep it to yourself, but Solomon didn't do that. He’s referred to as “The Preacher” over and over again because he shared his wisdom with others in a way that anyone can understand. Let’s look at the different ways he did this:
1.) He taught the people knowledge (v. 9)
I want you to notice that there are two aspects to Solomon’s teaching:
a.) He taught knowledge: There has to be some sort of subject when you’re teaching. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time.
b.) He taught the people: A teacher doesn’t really teach unless they are teaching other people. It’s not enough to simply teach a particular subject. You can know everything there is to know about that subject, but if you’re not teaching it to other people in way they can understand it then your teaching is in vain.
A little girl was sitting beside her mom in church when she asked, “Mommy, why does the preacher always pray before his sermon?” Her mom replied, “Well, he’s asking God to help him preach a good sermon in way that people can understand.” “Mommy,” came a second question, “Why doesn’t God answer his prayer?”
Well, Solomon knew people. He knew what made them “tick”, therefore he was able to relate to where they were in life.
2.) He pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. (v. 9)
This implies a labor of study. People ask me all the time, “Preacher, what do you do all week?” Well, much like Solomon, I don’t just show up on Sunday morning and say the first thing that pops in my head. I have to think and pray and study about what I’m going to preach, and that takes time.
3.) The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright. (v. 10)
Again, it’s not enough to just have knowledge. It’s not even enough to have it all arranged intelligently. Solomon also labored to speak in an acceptable manner. He looked for the right words. He gave thought and put in an effort to communicate in way that would capture the attention of his audience.
4.) The Preacher sought…words of truth. (v.10)
Finally, and most importantly, Solomon sought to communicate TRUTH. We live in a relativistic age. People have long since bought into the idea that truth is only relative. We hear that something might be "true" to one person but not true to another. The Bible knows nothing of such a concept. According to God’s Word, truth IS.
A particular style of teaching means nothing without truth. A lie all dressed up in eloquence is still a lie.
This tells me something important about the book of Ecclesiastes. In spite of its often dark and gloomy view, it’s a book that teaches TRUTH. It shouldn’t be understood as the outlook of a skeptic, or as an advocate of a comfortable lifestyle. It was written to give us a realistic view of life in the hope that we might live it for the Lord.