Summary: Sometimes, things don’t work out the way we think they should. Trust God and live live to the fullest.
SERIES: “BE SATISFIED”
I don’t know about you, but a lot of my life’s’ struggles are caused by my expectations. I find that I develop certain expectations out of life and out of people and when those expectations are not met, I can become bitter and disillusioned. Disillusion always follows false beliefs. We all have expectations, either rooted in reality or founded on fantasy. The ones not rooted in reality lead us into disillusion and disenchantment. The bubble is burst and we’re left feeling somewhat disgust and somewhat depressed.
I find it fitting that this message in our series through Ecclesiastes falls on the Sunday that we honor our graduates. Some of you are graduating high school and moving on to college or the wonderful world of work. Others are graduating from junior high school and moving into your high school years. Each has its own challenges and responsibilities. Each has its own rewards.
In our study of Scripture this morning we’re going to find that Solomon warns us about the problem of expecting one thing and getting another. Solomon has been teaching about the difference between wisdom and folly. One leads to satisfaction; the other to frustration. Let’s join together and find out what Solomon has to say to us today.
SKILL IS NO PREDICTOR OF SUCCESS
Eccl. 9:11-12 – I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.
After you live life for awhile, you come to understand that life is not fair. Our abilities are not a guarantee of success. It is generally true that the fastest runners win foot races, the warriors who have trained the hardest win the battles and those who have high intellects and good work skills gain the best jobs. But, it’s also true that these same people can fail in their endeavors due to circumstances outside of their control. Solomon says that time and chance greatly effects the outcome of our endeavors.
In earlier passages, Solomon has taught us a couple of things that we need to remember. The first is that God has a time for everything. Eccl 3:1 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. The other is that God will cause something beautiful to come out of everything. Eccl. 3:11a – He has made everything beautiful in its time.
But Solomon warns us here that “stuff happens”. He uses the illustration of fish that get caught in nets and birds that get caught in snares. Solomon says that sometimes there are sudden events that happen that are beyond our control.
Friday night, coming back from Walmart, several deer jumped up on the road in front of us. There was a car coming from the other direction and several cars behind us. Praise God, I swerved to the shoulder at 55 mph and didn’t lose control of the car. But it certainly wasn’t something we were expecting.
That’s why Bible warns us in James 4:13-16 – Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to
this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will
happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead,
you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.
OUR SOCIETY DOES NOT HONOR THE RIGHT THINGS
Eccl. 9:13-17 – I also saw under the sun this example of wisdom that greatly impressed me: There was once a small city with only a few people in it. And a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siegeworks against it. Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded. The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.
Here Solomon describes a small city that was attacked by a very powerful king. Since the town was so small, they had very few able-bodied men that could fight against this powerful king and his large army. The siege was started.