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Ecclesiastes: Chapter 10 Verses 1-15

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SIH TOTT ICONWhat Is Your Life If Not Lived For The Lord? (Part 30)

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”.   He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.

Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer.  Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…

First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).

Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34).  (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)

Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved.  May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question…  “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Eccl 10:1-15 

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.  (2)  A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.  (3)  Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.  (4)  If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.  (5)  There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:  (6)  Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.  (7)  I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.  (8)  He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.  (9)  Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.  (10)  If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.  (11)  Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.  (12)  The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.  (13)  The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.  (14)  A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?  (15)  The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city. 

 

 

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL:

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. 

All it takes is one dead fly to contaminate a jar of medicine, just like it only takes one foolish act to destroy the reputation of those who are known for living a wise and honorable life.

This is due to the nature of human beings.  We all have a tendency to remember the stupid foolish acts of others instead of remembering their life in its entirety.

 

A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.  Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool. 

Most of us have much better control of our right hands than our left hands.  This principle is used as a picture to represent that a wise man is in control of his actions, in comparison to the fool who lacks self-control.

A fool reveals to others that he is a fool through his actions.  As he progresses through life his wisest choices show himself to be a fool.

 

If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences. 

When those in authority oppose you, remind yourself that you are under their authority.  Do not try to exalt yourself against them.  When we submit to higher authorities, it encourages peace between our authorities and ourselves.

 

There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:  Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.  I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.

There is a harmful action that Solomon saw that was commonly displayed by rulers…a ruler exalting a fool while demoting those who have proven themselves to be rich in wisdom.   To illustrate this great inequity, Solomon described it as seeing” servants upon horses and princes walking as servants upon the earth”.

 

He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.  Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby. 

When a person sets out to be harmful to others, it will eventually come back upon his head.  This speaks of our imperfect human justice system, but especially the last days when all men must stand before the Lord and answer for the life they have lived upon the earth.

One exhibit of Godly wisdom is the understanding of these principles and allowing them to direct our lives.  In doing so, the wise man refrains from taking vengeance on others, realizing their will be a price to say on earth as well as in eternity.

 

If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. 

An example of wisdom would be to sharpen an ax before using it.  Why is this? Because a sharp ax takes much less effort to cut wood than using a dull ax.   This is an example of the beneficial, practical, use of wisdom as we cut wood.

This helps us to understand that using wisdom does not simply aid our spiritual testimony, but it also aids us in our practical day to day walk on earth.

 

Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.  The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. 

Other examples of this same principle are enchanting a serpent so it does not bite, and the need to direct a foolish “babbler” before he does others harm with the words of his mouth.  Solomon reminds us that one of the greatest benefits to having Godly wisdom is the use of gracious words in comparison to the words of fools that end up hurting others and destroying themselves.

 

The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.  A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?  The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city. 

When fools begin speaking words of foolishness they result in doing great harm to others.  The result of the fool’s words are described as “damaging ravings’.  A fool never runs out of things to say.  He makes great promises and predictions that reveal his foolishness to all.  This is because he cannot know what tomorrow will hold or what will take place later in life.

The labor of a foolish man wears out all those who labor with him because he does not know how to accomplish the goal they are setting to accomplish.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, in this section of Scripture, we find Solomon teaching us many harmful aspects to foolishness that is allowed to affect our lives:

  1. Foolishness does great harm to our Christian testimony.
  2. Foolishness not exercise control of our life, and displays itself in our life
  3. Foolishness leads us to willfully opposes a ruler and bring down his wrath upon us.
  4. Foolishness leads to the exaltation of fools and demotion of wise men.
  5. Foolishness harms others and returns to the head of the foolish.
  6. Wisdom holds both spiritual and temporal benefits to the wise
  7. Foolish words discourages others while harming the fool
  8. Foolishness leads to unmet goals and weariness of its followers.

 

Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:

 

1. 2:1-3 The pursuit of carnal desires  (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)
2. 2:4-11 The pursuit of material possessions through human labors
3. 2:12-17 The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly
4. 2:18-23 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1
5. 2:24-26 The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2
6. 3:1-8 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #1
7. 3:9-15 A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events   Prt #2
8. 3:16-22 A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.
9. 4:1-3 A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.
10. 4:4-16 The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly
11. 5:1-7 The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises
12. 5:8-17 The pursuit of worldly riches
13. 5:18-20 A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man
14. 6:1-2 A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.
15. 6:3-10 A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God
16. 6:11-12 A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.
17. 7:1-10 The pursuit of prideful living
18. 7:11-23 A recognition of the value of Godly wisdom
19. 7:24-29 The pursuit of Godly enabling
20. 8:1-5 The pursuit of proper submission to authority  based upon Godly wisdom
21. 8:6-15 A recognition man needs Godly wisdom because he cannot control his own life nor see the eternal benefits of service to the Lord.
22. 8:16-17 A recognition that men cannot fully understand the work of God on earth
23. 9:1-3 A recognition that righteous and wicked share common life events
24. 9:4-12 A recognition that life is better then death
25. 9:13-18 A recognition of the excellence and rejection of Godly wisdom
26. 10:1-15 A recognition of the dangers of foolishness

 

 

 

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