Summary: Ecclesiastes 5
GOD VERSUS EVIL, GOOD VERSUS GOODS (ECCLESIASTES 5)
Is there meaning, hope or purpose in life without God? Without God there is no good or sin, no truth or justice, no virtue or morals, no ethics or eternity, no forgiveness and peace. It is a difference between night and day, light and darkness, black and white, continents and cultures apart.
Someone once said, ¡¡±Without God, there is nothing but wars, division, and bewilderment.¡ÆØ Another said, ¡¡±Without God there is nothing but darkness, but mere darkness, but everlasting darkness.¡ÆØ Still others say, ¡¡±Without God there is nothing but total randomness in nature.¡ÆØ Finally, ¡¡±without God there is nothing but death in its many various forms, leading finally to spiritual death.¡ÆØ
Is there a difference if a person believes in God? Is there a difference between a godless, an ungodly and a godly person, family or society? How does belief in God affect the attitude, behavior, and choices of a person?
Reflect More, Remark Less
1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. 2 Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. 3 A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool. 4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. 5 It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it. 6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, ¡¡±My vow was a mistake.¡ÆØ Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? 7 Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God. (Ecc 5:1-7)
Once a young man came to that great philosopher Socrates to be instructed in oratory. The moment the young man was introduced he began to talk, and there was an incessant stream for some time. When Socrates could get in a word, he said, ¡¡±Young man, I will have to charge you a double fee.¡ÆØ ¡¡±A double fee, why is that?¡ÆØ The old sage replied, ¡¡±I will have to teach you two lessons. First, how to hold your tongue, and then how to use it.¡ÆØ What an art for all of us to learn, especially for Christians. (from Illustrations of Bible Truths # 821)
Imperatives Purpose clause Reason (ki)
Guard (v 1)
Pay/fulfill (v 4)
Fear God (v 7)
To hear (v 1)
To utter (v 2)
To fulfill/pay (v 4)
To sin (v 6)
1. For they consider not that they do evil (v 1) (doing)
2. For God is in heaven, and thou upon earth (v 2) (dwelling)
3. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business (v 3) (sleeping)
4. For he hath no pleasure in fools (v 4) (thinking)
5. For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities (v 7) (speaking)
God is central in chapter 5 (5:2, 4, 6, 7), more prominent than in any chapter in the book. Verse 1 is a meaningful and marvelous verse that has every conceivable important literary structure ¡V an imperative, four purpose clause and five reasons. The verb ¡¡±guard¡ÆØ (v 1) is an imperative; it spells attention, authority and action. Guard means to be cautious, certain and critical, not be careless, curious or caught. It is to police, pastor and protect yourself. It is followed by a purpose clause ¡¡±to listen¡ÆØ and a reason or ¡¡±ki¡ÆØ in Hebrew (v 1) ¡V they did not know to do evil (Hebrew). Don¡¦t come to church just to fit in, fulfill obligations or feel good. The purpose of worship is always to hear, heed and honor the word of God. The reason of doing evil will be later expanded from verse 2. The contrast is with two negative jussives of wish or desire (5:2)- ¡¡±quick¡ÆØ and ¡¡±hasty¡ÆØ - are different in that the first speaks of attitude and the second of action. The first, only seven of 39 times is translated as ¡¡±haste,¡ÆØ while the second 46 of 64 times is translated as ¡¡±haste.¡ÆØ The attitude of the first is translated as trouble (17x), haste (4x), afraid (3x), vexed (3x). The first (quick/troubled) is the mindset and the second (haste) is the movement.
1. ¡¡±to hear¡ÆØ (v 1) ¡¡±to utter¡ÆØ (v 2), ¡¡±to fulfill/pay¡ÆØ (v 4) and ¡¡±to sin¡ÆØ (v 6).
2. Anything/Word (v 2a) Words (v 2b, 3, 7)
3. God fool (vv 1, 3, 4)