Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Finite Minds Must Learn To Trust God

Ecclesiastes 8:1-17

“Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.” (Ecclesiastes 8:1)

Wisdom gives people a different aspect than other people.  It changes a person’s attitude so that Instead of pride or fear, he has confidence that he can figure out what needs to be done, dealing with whatever problems arise.  He doesn’t panic or get angry when something doesn’t go as expected because of his confidence.  As a result people tend to come to him for leadership.

“I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.  Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.  Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?  Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment. ” (Ecclesiastes 8:2- 5)

Romans 13:1-4 commands, ”Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

In rebelling against those who are our rulers, we are rebelling against God’s power.  Ultimately his power comes from god and he is responsible to God for how he uses it.   We should not rush into civil disobedience or doing wrong and should be careful about challenging his authority.    If we are doing what is right, we are unlikely to be punished for it.  While government rules are frequently arbitrary and counterproductive, a wise man will consider whether a refusal to obey is really worthwhile. 

“Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.  For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?  There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.” (Ecclesiastes 8:6-8)

Every action produces consequences and even a good action done at the wrong time or place can cause a great many problems.  Frequently these problems are unforeseeable so that what was believed to be a solution turns out to cause bigger problems instead.  Man’s power is limited so that he cannot prevent death, despite even the best doctor’s efforts.  He cannot even guarantee that attempts to commit suicide or delay his death will be successful, and no one can escape death.  Not even selling oneself to the devil will enable one to escape death.   

“All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.” (Ecclesiastes 8:9)  

Many people think that if they could just make other people do things their way they could solve all their problems.  Frequently the opposite is true.  A controlling spouse or parent almost always causes resentment and rebellion, and frequently ignores the suggestions and thought s of their mate or children, leading to serious mistakes.  Controlling employers or political figures ignore people who know far more about the situation than they do with the result that they hurt their business or country. 

“And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity. ” (Ecclesiastes 8:10)  

Wicked people often make a big deal about going to church.  Solomon is saying id didn’t benefit them.  They died just like everyone else and nobody even remembered their going to church.  Even their own neighbors and city forgot about them. 
“Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11)

When wrong doing is not immediately dealt with there are several things that happen.  First, the guilty party is left with the impression that what they have done is not serious.  When they finally are punished, they have trouble associating the punishment with the action, sometimes even forgetting about what they have done, and feel that they are being unjustly treated.  And since it wasn’t important enough to deal with immediately, the punishment seems excessive.  This results in a rebellious attitude and deliberate sin.

“Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.

There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity. ” (Ecclesiastes 8:12-14)  

Many times we are unable to do anything about the wrongs we see being committed and become frustrated.  We need to realize that they are not getting by with what they are doing.  Even if they live many years and commit the same sin repeatedly, eventually God will judge him, and his life will be very short compared to the time of judgment.  Those who have obeyed God will be blessed despite the suffering they are experiencing at the moment.  Many times those who do right suffer on earth as if they were doing wrong and those who do wrong do as well as those who try to do right.   It seems so wasteful and hopeless, but we can trust God to make it right.

“Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun. ” (Ecclesiastes 8:15)  

Since the world had nothing more to offer than to enjoy the life one has, Solomon decided laughing and having fun would be the best way to go.  All that he will have left of his accomplishments will be his memories so he should make them as happy as possible.   

“When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)  Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea farther; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.” (Ecclesiastes 8:16-17)  

No matter how intelligent a person is, ultimately they will never be able to understand all god’s plans and actions, even if they spend night and day trying.   God is so much smarter than we are that we can’t even comprehend how much he knows, much less know it all. 

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