Summary: I want to show you some particular people and offer some practical pointers to each.
SOME PRACTICAL POINTERS FOR
SOME PARTICULAR PEOPLE
Introduction: Ecclesiastes is the journal of Solomon’s quest to find “the meaning of life.” He had gotten off to a good start, but somewhere along the path he strayed from God’s ways. Chapter seven begins a turning point as Solomon starts looking back to God and his wisdom. In our last message we noted what benefits wisdom can bring. Let’s finish out this chapter b looking at some more of Solomon’s discoveries and discourse. I want to show you give particular people and offer some practical pointers to each.
I. The Perplexed (v. 15)
Pointer: “What you see is not always what you get.” It’s the age-old question – why do the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper? Do a good study of Psalm 73 and you will discover valuable insight. When the good die young and the bad “nasty” live on, it seems to defy God’s justice and God’s word. Keep in mind this is a generalization. It doesn’t always happen this way.
Solomon didn’t seem to make sense of it all. It bothered him. It bothers us too. How do you explain it? I can’t explain the why. I can offer insight into whereabouts. You see, even if the righteous die young they are with Jesus in their “eternal” reward. Even if the wicked get by and live to a ripe old age, only in the here and now do “they have their reward.” Their reward is only temporal. Illustrate this with the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). Remember God doesn’t settle all his accounts in October!
II. The Pretender (v. 16-18)
Pointer: “What you appear it not always what you are.” Solomon is not teaching moderation in righteousness or sinfulness. He’s teaching balance in life! He’s really speaking to the hypocrite. In light of verse 15, don’t claim to be self-righteous or wise. Illustrate with the story of the publican and Pharisee ( ). Have you ever spent time with “sanctimonious Sally” or “Pious Paul”? They’re always trying to impress others with their bullet-proof theology all the while dripping with the anointing of the Holy Spirit. They have all the answers – even to verse 15. In reality, they are nothing more than a pain in the rear end. Sort of reminds me of Job’s three friends.
While some pretend to be “holier-than-thou,” others may cast caution to the wind and say, “What’s the use?” Life’s a crap-shoot. Let’s revel in wickedness. Eat, drink and be merry.
What Solomon is arguing for is balance. See verse 18. Fear God. Trust God. Love God. Even when you don’t understand follow him, but don’t lose tough with reality of humanity. “Fear God, but don’t lose your perspective.” (Swindoll)
III. The Perfectionist (v. 20)
Pointer: “What you think is not always what you imagine.” Some think themselves to be a cut-above others. You need to rethink that! Your imagination is run amok! God, along, is absolute perfection. None of us are squeaky clean.
IV. The Paranoid (v. 21)
Pointer: “What you hear is not always what you need.” Don’t take seriously everything you hear. If you can’t handle praise it will go to your head. You begin to read too many of your own press reports. If you can’t handle criticism (and who among us can?) it will cut right to your heart. C. H. Spurgeon in his book Lectures to my Students said, “Every preacher needs one blind eye and one deaf ear.” Don’t be like the old boy who would never attend a football game. He thought every time the teams gathered in the huddle they were talking about him! Not everybody is out to get you. “Oh, be careful little ears what you hear…”
V. The Pioneer (v. 22-29)
Pointer: “What you discover is not always what you expect.” Solomon is like a scientist doing exploratory work. Note v. 23 – tested/determined; v. 25 – I turned; v. 26 – I find; v. 27 – I discovered. In his pioneering what did he find?
A. Wisdom is Beyond Me (v. 23-25) – We can’t make ourselves wise. Wisdom is a gift form God (James 1:5). Note the words “beyond” and “far off.” It must be “above the sun” don’t you suppose? He turned to try to understand wickedness. That leads me to the second idea.
B. The Affair Can’t Satisfy Me (v. 26) – Note the words “snare,” “trap,” “chains,” “ensnare.” The other woman looks good, doesn’t she? That hulk with the six-pack abs looks good compared to “Chester Drawers” (his chest has done fell down in his drawers). Look at old baldhead with his bifocals, bunions and bulges. It’s all so appealing and compelling. But listen and learn from a man who was a sexual animal (1,000 wives). It never satisfied him.