Promises

How long shall I fear with this whole congregation, which murmur against me?..
— Numbers 14:27

The promises of God full of potential for the Christian. Children of Israel, the promise the land of Canaan. The potential was tremendous and God wanted them to have everything He promised them. The problem with the Isrealites was that they killed God’s promise in this instance. The way they did this is clearly illustrated in our story, and there were three specific things that ate evident.

First, they acted by sight. Notice that faith would have dictated to them they need to go on. Yet the fact that there were giants in the land and the walls were too big seem to mean more to them than the fact of faith. They decided to go with what they saw.

Second, they acted in doubt. Faith and doubt cannot abide in the same heart. When safe left, in came doubt; when doubt came, in came fear. Remember our friend Peter? He was compelled to walk on the water, and did so quite well until he followed his sight and begin to doubt, and then he cried out in fear.

Third, they followed the wrong advice. Nothing will kill God’s promises quicker than talking to someone who is carnal, for advice. Instead of listening to the two man who were right, they listened to the ten who were wrong.

How many times in our life do we kill the promise of God by our doubt or wrong advice,  or because we just did not see how it would work out? Instead of killing his promises, let’s stand on them!

Excepted from “Call to Glory
Pastor Joel Royalty

Friday Funnies

RAFFLE

A city boy, Kenny, moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day.
The next day, the farmer drove up and said, “Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the donkey died.”
Kenny replied, “Well then, just give me my money back.”
The farmer said, “Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.”
Kenny said, “OK then, just unload the donkey.”
The farmer asked, “What ya gonna do with him?”
Kenny: “I’m going to raffle him off.”
Farmer: “You can’t raffle off a dead donkey!”
Kenny: “Sure I can.”
A month later the farmer met up with Kenny and asked, “What happened with that dead donkey?”
Kenny: “I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two dollars apiece and made a profit of $900.”
Farmer: “Didn’t anyone complain?”
Kenny: Just the guy that won. So I gave him his money back.

REMOTE

Mrs. Jones was fumbling in her purse for her offering when a large television remote fell out and clattered into the aisle.

The curious usher bent over to retrieve it for her and whispered, “Do you always carry your TV remote to church?”

“No,” she replied, “but my husband refused to come with me this morning, and I figured this was the most evil thing I could do to him legally.”

Bible Study

ECCLESIASTES 8

OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER

  1. To glean wisdom for enduring evil and oppressive governments.
  2. The similarity between the writer’s conclusion and the book of Job about the inability of man to discern all of the work of God.

Among the “vanities” in life is living in circumstances over which we have little control.  Such as the kind of government ruling the country in which we live.  The writer observed that evil men are often in positions of power, and offers his counsel for enduring such “vanity.”

Wisdom is helpful, capable of softening one’s countenance (so one is not overly troubled?).  Submitting to governing authorities is important, especially in view of the power wielded by those in authority.  There will be times when the wicked rule, bringing misery.  Be patient, while judgment against such evil may be delayed it will come in its own time

and the wicked will soon be forgotten after their demise.  In the meantime, it is best to fear God (1-13).

Another “vanity” is how the righteous sometimes suffer while the wicked prosper.  The writer reiterates his conclusion that it is best to seek to enjoy what good God gives in one’s labor under the sun.  Even the wisest man is unable to discern all that God is doing, no matter how hard he tries.  A lesson similar to the one taught in Job (14-17).

I. ENDURING THE GOVERNMENTS OF MEN (8:1-13)

A. SUBMIT TO AUTHORITIES (1-8)

Ecclesiastes 8:1   

Wisdom has its value, able to change one’s countenance God had given Solomon wisdom beyond all of his fellowmen. We find that interpretation, as well as wisdom, is a gift from God.

Joseph was given the ability by God to interpret dreams. Daniel was gifted to interpret dreams, as well. Moses’ head shone so brightly when he came down from the mountain after communicating with God, that he had to cover his head so as not to blind the people. I believe God put the first 5 books of the Bible in Moses’ mind while he was on the mountain. This great wisdom caused his head to shine. Most of Genesis occurred long before Moses’ lifetime. He had to receive it from somewhere. The type of wisdom and understanding, spoken of here, would cause the facial features to change. Look what happened to Stephen’s face.

Acts 6:15 And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.

Ecclesiastes 8:2

It appears, from this, the king’s commandments had been given with an oath to God. It is best to keep them, if you value your life.

Romans 13:1-4 “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.”

Ecclesiastes 8:3

Wise behavior before kings is counseled because each subject took the oath of God or oath of loyalty to the king before God (verse 2); and because the king had the power to do his own will (as in verses 3-4).The king is the ruler of the land. He is the authority God has put in power. This is saying, do not try to get away from the rule of the king. Do not shirk your duty.

Ecclesiastes 8:4

This is explaining that there is no rule over the king, except God. The king has the last say over his people. The word of the king is the law of the land. No one can question the king. He, who questioned the king, would be severely punished.

The only time anyone should disobey the rule of the land, is when it is direct opposition to the law of God. The Egyptian midwives feared God, and did not kill the boy babies. God saved their lives, because they were obedient to Him.

Ecclesiastes 8:5

A wise man knows when to apply the proper course of action for the best outcome, whether in an earthly sense before the king (8:2), or an eternal sense before God (verses 12-13).

A large part of being wise is to know both time and judgment, the latter word being a reference to the procedure for a matter.

When you keep the commandments of the king, you will not be punished. The wise man sees beyond the immediate happening, and knows there is a God in heaven who will someday judge the whole earth, including the king. Speaking of the wise man’s heart is speaking of the moral aspect of his life. Even though he does not like the commandment of the king, the wise man will keep them, if they are not opposed to God’s law.

1 Peter 3:13-14 “And who [is] he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy [are ye]: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;”

Ecclesiastes 8:6

This is giving reasons why a person should obey the king in the land. Everything, and everyone, has an appointed time. Generally speaking an evil king will not be king very long.

God sees the misery of His people, like He did the children of Israel in Egypt. God will not allow the misery to go on forever.

Ecclesiastes 8:7

God has appointed a time for everything but man knows neither the time nor the outcome. These uncertainties can increase his misery.

Only the wise can discern this time since man does not naturally know what will transpire next. We do not know exactly when the end of our lives on earth will be. We do not even know exactly when the coming of the Lord shall be either.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.” “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

Ecclesiastes 8:8 

Spirit, in this sense, is speaking of the spirit of man, which is actually his life. That is that breath of life within us.

Humankind is severely limited as:

(1) No one can restrain the spirit (or possibly the wind);

(2) No one can predict or control the day of his death;

(3) No one can obtain release in time of war;

(4) No one can be released from extensive wickedness, since it becomes like a master ruling over him.

These 4 statements of impossibility powerfully demonstrate Solomon’s argument that man is sorely limited in his dominion over life. How much more significant this makes the virtue of wisdom!

Death is as precarious and uncontrollable as the wind.

B. ANTICIPATE WICKED RULERS (9-13)

Ecclesiastes 8:9

The master must consider the possibility of being hurt, when he rules his people too harshly. In the days of slaves, they were very valuable to their master, as long as they could work. If he caused injury to them, they were of no value to him anymore.

Solomon has viewed the actions of those around him, and discovered it is much better to take care of your servants. A contented servant will get much more done for his master.

Ecclesiastes 8:10

The word forgotten is read “praised” in some manuscripts. The statement then means that Solomon has observed that the wicked received an honorable burial and praise after their death. This observation is reinforced by the fact that the fortunes of the righteous and the wicked are often reversed: The righteous sometimes get what the wicked deserve and the wicked often get what the righteous deserve as we’ll see (in verse 14).

Ecclesiastes 8:11

The gracious delay of God’s retribution leads to further disobedience. This delay, in actuality, in no way diminishes the certainty of final judgment. Much judgment does not take place on the earth. Some, who appear to be living the way God would have them to live, will find judgment from God to be harsh.

Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Those living sinful lives, who are not punished immediately, cause others to go the way of sin too. They think it is easy to cover up their sins. You may get away with your sin on this earth and no one knows, but be sure, God knows.

Ecclesiastes 8:12 

There is no real advantage for the wicked, although at times it might seem so. Temporal patience does not eliminate eternal judgment.

Solomon never counsels his readers to forget God and cast their lot with the wicked; because he knows by faith that it will go well with the righteous who fear God, and ultimately it will not go well for the wicked.

It is really of no concern to us how God deals with the sinner. The one thing we must do, is live the very best we can ourselves. God is not willing that even one should perish.

Perhaps, He is waiting, giving ample time for Him to repent. Our concern is not his sins, or how God deals with him. Our concern is our own sins. If we live right, God will bless us.

Psalms 37:18 “The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.”

Those who live for God will inherit eternal life.

Matthew 25:34 “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”

Ecclesiastes 8:13 

Solomon knew that God had not promised long life to the wicked. It troubled Solomon that he saw seeming contradictions to this. (In verse 13), Solomon is stating, that many times the wicked’s life was shortened. He believed this to be the correct solution to evil.

Isaiah 57:21 “[There is] no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”

Those who live for God have hope of the resurrection. Those who do not, have a fearful awaiting of the judgment, and then the lake of fire.

Matthew 13:49-50 “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,” “And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

II. ENDURING THE VANITY IN LIFE (8:14-17)

A. EXPECT PERPLEXITY (14, 16-17)

      1. Sometimes the righteous suffer, and the wicked prosper, which is vanity

      2. One cannot always understand why things happen the way they do (remember Job?)

Ecclesiastes 8:14

Temporally speaking, God generally rewards obedience and punishes disobedience. Solomon regards the exceptions to this principle as difficult to understand and discouraging (see Psalm 73).

The key to this is “upon the earth”. Jesus said it best when he said in Matthew:

Matthew 13:30 “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”

On this earth, the wicked and the righteous live together side by side. It appears, sometimes, that the evil growth (tares), is as great or greater, than the righteous (wheat). The separation comes at judgment. To the natural eye, this seems unfair.

Ecclesiastes 8:16 

God’s work is wonderful, but at times incomprehensible.

We must notice again, that Solomon is looking at the happenings of this earth. He is applying his wisdom, so that he might understand the earthly life. All of this is Solomon trying to find out what this life is all about.

Many women will say, that housework is like the last phrase here. It seems it never ends. They clean house and cook on Monday, and then, it is to do all over again on Tuesday.

It is not uncommon for thinking man to try to understand life and where it leads. Solomon says, you would get no sleep at all, if you waited, until you understood life, to sleep. The questions go on.

Ecclesiastes 8:17

The inability of man to understand God’s work is emphasized by the threefold negation of the verb find out with the work of God as its object each time.

The intelligence of the most intelligent man that ever lived is as nothing compared with God’s intelligence. It is impossible to understand everything about God. The intelligence of man does not get him to heaven. God wants us to accept Him on simple faith. There are secrets of God that will not be known, until we get to heaven.

The little understanding that we have, and the little more understanding that Solomon had, are gifts from God. Even at that, mortal man cannot know the depth of God.

Romans 11:33 “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”

B. ENJOY LIFE (15)

     Ecclesiastes 8:15

In no way does Solomon commend unbridled rampant indulgence in sin, which is implied in Christ’s account of the man whose barns were full. That man may have justified his sin by quoting this passage (Luke 12:19). His focus here is on the resolve to enjoy life in the face of the injustice which surrounded him (see Eccl. 2:24).

This is clearly a faith position on Solomon’s part, since what he observes in life often contradicts it. This puzzling reversal should not deter man from enjoying life under the hand of God.

Under the sun, this might be true, if there was no eternal life. Solomon is saying, to enjoy life to the fullest on this earth. He is saying, be thankful for the blessings of this life and enjoy laughter, food, and drink. This is the reward for the labor of this life. This certainly is true in the physical realm. Notice the recognition that God gave it to him.

1 Timothy 4:4 “For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:”

1 Timothy 6:17 “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;”

Victory Baptist Church 26 February 2020 victorypalmetto.com

Wade’s Wednesday

How It Feels to Be Hooked

By Steve Goodier

It was the late 1940s. Eastern Airline’s chair, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, had a problem.

Customers were complaining because the airline was mishandling luggage far too often. When nothing else seemed to work, he decided to take drastic action.

Rickenbacker called a special meeting of the management personnel in Miami. Eastern’s management flew to Miami and was told their baggage would be delivered to their hotel rooms. It wasn’t. Instead, Rickenbacker had the luggage stored overnight.

It was a hot and humid summer and the muggy hotel had no air-conditioning. Various corporate managers showed up to the meeting the next morning unshaven, teeth unbrushed and wearing dirty and wrinkled clothes.

There was no sign of the baggage all that day. But it was delivered that night, at 3:00 a.m., with a loud pounding on hotel room doors.

Rickenbacker opened the next morning’s session by saying, “Now you know how the customer feels when you mishandle his luggage.” He knew his team would be ineffective until his people learned to empathize with their customers.

Psychiatrist Karl Menninger put it like this: “It is hard for a free fish to understand what is happening to a hooked one.” That is why Rickenbacker wanted his employees, starting with his management team, to experience what it is like to be hooked.

When we understand another’s problem, we will be more effective in business and personal relationships. And if we’re ever hooked ourselves and someone who “gets it” reaches out to help, something wonderful is likely to happen.

Tuesday With Karen

I’m so thankful there’s no valley too deep or wide for His hand to reach us! PTL!  KI
Our Valley
Our valley can never get so deep and wide,
That God can’t reach us with love to provide;
His arms wrap around us, with comfort to give,
Giving our heart reasons to praise Him as we live!
Our valley is never tried by our footsteps alone,
The Comforter is there, with grace to carry on;
When we are weak, He gives us strength to stand,
He guides us by His Light, & leads us by His hand!
Our valley may be long, with very much length,
In the midst of it all, He gives grace & strength;
His Word has promised we’ll never be forsaken,
Everything He says can be trusted and taken!
Our valley might have trials coming as we trod,
Nothing happens at all that isn’t known by God;
He supplies every need we’re having within,
We’re so very blessed to be walking with Him!
1-22-17

 

Clean Life

by Julie Ackerman

Even before I could afford a self-cleaning oven, I managed to keep my oven clean. Guests even commented on it when we had them over for a meal. “Wow, your oven is so clean. It looks like new.” I accepted the praise even though I knew I didn’t deserve it. The reason my oven was clean had nothing to do with my meticulous scrubbing; it was clean because I so seldom used it.

How often, I wonder, am I guilty of accepting undeserved admiration for my “clean” life? It’s easy to give the impression of being virtuous; simply do nothing difficult, controversial, or upsetting to people. But Jesus said we are to love people who don’t agree with us, who don’t share our values, who don’t even like us. Love requires that we get involved in the messy situations of people’s lives. Jesus was frequently in trouble with religious leaders who were more concerned about keeping their own reputations clean than they were about the spiritual condition of those they were supposed to care for. They considered Jesus and His disciples unclean for mingling with sinners when they were simply trying to rescue people from their destructive way of life (Luke 5:30-31).

True disciples of Jesus are willing to risk their own reputations to help others out of the mire of sin.

Dear Lord, give me a heart of compassion for
those who are lost in sin. Help me not to be
concerned about what others think of me but
only that Your holy name will be honored.
Christ sends us out to bring others in

Search Me

by Joe Stowell

To this day I can still hear my mother telling me to go and clean up my room. Dutifully, I would go to my room to start the process, only to get distracted by reading the comic book that I was supposed to put neatly in the stack. But soon the distraction was interrupted by my mother warning that she would be up in 5 minutes to inspect the room. Unable to effectively clean the room in that time, I would proceed to hide everything I didn’t know what to do with in the closet, make the bed, and then wait for her to come in—hoping that she wouldn’t look in the closet.

This reminds me of what many of us do with our lives. We clean up the outside of our lives hoping that no one will look into the “closet” where we have hidden our sins by rationalization and excuses and by blaming others for our own faults.

The problem is that while looking good on the outside, we remain well aware of the mess on the inside. The psalmist encourages us to submit to the cleansing inspection of God: “

 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

” (Ps. 139:23-24). Let’s invite Him to inspect and cleanse every corner of our lives.

Lord, forgive me for looking good on the
outside while attempting to hide my faults and
failings. I desire for You to cleanse my life so
that I may walk with You in full integrity.

Praising God for Miracles

By David Jeremiah

My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2

Among the stories connected to the memory of Francis of Assisi is this one: One day Francis gathered his friends at a remote monastery in central Italy. When he asked them about their journeys, each brother had an exciting tale to report:

One had been riding his mule across a narrow bridge that spanned a deep gorge. When the mule bolted, the man was nearly thrown into the ravine. He praised God he hadn’t been killed.

Another brother had nearly drowned fording a river but, he said, “God in His grace provided a tree that had fallen across the water. I was able to grasp a branch and pull myself to safety.”

Other brothers expressed similar stories of God’s protection. Then someone asked Francis about his trip. “I experienced the greatest miracle of all,” said the famous friar. “I had a smooth, pleasant, and uneventful journey.”

We should always remember to praise God for His miracles in whatever form they come. He blesses, heals, rescues, delivers, helps, and uplifts more times every day than we can count. We should always be saying, “Thank You, Lord!”

Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is Yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

Friday Funnies

Who Wants to be a Millionaire Show–Decisions

One day they had a contestant who made it all the way to the last question.  Her name was Debra.  Debra, has made it to the final plateau. If she answered the next question correctly, she would win $1,000,000. If she answered incorrectly, she would pocket only the $25,000.

And as she suspected it would be, the million-dollar question was no pushover. It was, “Which of the following species of birds does not build its own nest, but instead lays its eggs in the nests of other birds? Is it:

A) the condor
B) the buzzard
C) the cuckoo
D) the vulture

The woman was on the spot. She did not know the answer. And she was doubly on the spot because she had used up her 50/50 Lifeline and her Audience Poll Lifeline. All that remained was her Phone-a-Friend Lifeline. The woman hoped she would not have to use it because … Her friend was a really good friend but she lacked some common sense at times and she always did not good decisions. 

 

But Debra had no alternative. She called her friend and gave her the question and the four choices. Her friend said without any hesitation: “That’s easy. The answer is C: the cuckoo.”

 Did I mention that her friend was blonde?

 Debra had to make a decision and make it fast. She considered employing a reverse strategy and giving Merideth any answer except the one that her friend had given her. And considering that her friend was the way she was, that would seem to be the logical thing to do. But her friend had responded with such confidence, such certitude, that the contestant could not help but be persuaded.

“I need an answer,” said Merideth.  Crossing her fingers, the contestant said, “C: The cuckoo.”

“Is that your final answer?”

Debra crossed her fingers again and said, “Yes, that is my final answer.”

And  Merideth suddenly said, “That answer is …………………… Absolutely correct!

You are now a millionaire! Balloons flying, confetti coming down and Debra jumping up and down!

Three days later, the contestant hosted a party for her family and friends, including the blonde who h ad helped her win the million dollars. “Jeni, I just do not know how to thank you,” said the contestant. “How did you happen to know the right answer?” “Oh, come on,” said the blonde…

“Everybody knows that cuckoos don’t build nests. They live in clocks!”

Giving to God

The Junior Sunday School Teacher asked her eight eager 10 year-olds if they would give a $1,000,000 to the missionaries.

“Yes!” they all screamed!

“Would you give $1,000?” Again, they shouted “YES!”

How about $100?” “Oh, yes we would!” they all agreed!

“Would you just give a dollar to the missionaries?” she asked.

The boys exclaimed, “Yes!” just as before, except for Johnny.

“Johnnie,” the teacher said as she noticed the boy clutching his pocket, “Why didn’t you say ‘yes’ this time?”

“Well,” the boy stammered, “I have a dollar!”

Bible Study

ECCLESIASTES 7

OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER

1) To understand what makes for “better living” in this vain world

2) To appreciate the limitations of wisdom in providing answers

In the first six chapters the Preacher has shared with us his search for meaning (1:1-2:24) and observations gleaned during the course of his search (3:1-6:12).  He has repeated his conclusions time and again..

* Life “under the sun” is vanity – 1:2,14; 2:11

* Yet there is good that one can do, provided one is blessed by God – 2:24-26; 5:18-20

In the remaining six chapters the writer shares his counsel through a mixture of proverbs and narration.  He imparts wisdom designed to make the most of life “under the sun”.  In other words, while life under the

sun is “vanity”, how then should we live?

The first half of chapter seven offers “counsel for better living” with a series of comparisons.  For example, honor is better than luxury, your day of death is better than your day of birth, a funeral is better than a party, etc.  His estimation of what is better may often sound strange, but it comes from who has learned from both experience as well as

inspiration (1-14).

The second half of the chapter offers “counsel for balanced living.” There are challenging and difficult statements which should be understood in their context, and in the context of the Bible as a whole.  It appears the writer is mainly warning against extremism, and against the presumption that one can find the answer to every question in life (15-29).

I. COUNSEL FOR BETTER LIVING (7:1-14)

  A. HONOR IS BETTER THAN LUXURY (1a) Reputation for honesty is more desirable than all the wealth and pleasure in this world.  Better than precious ointment (representative of luxury) (a cover).

B. YOUR DEATH DAY IS BETTER THAN YOUR BIRTHDAY (1b)

1. One’s birth is the beginning of sorrows – cf. Job 14:1; 3:1-3; Jer 20:14-18

2. One’s death can be the beginning of eternal bliss –  Re 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. 

2 Cor. 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

C. A FUNERAL IS BETTER THAN A PARTY (2-4)      

1. Better to go to the house of mourning than the house of feasting

         a. For the funeral home is the end of all men

         b. Where the living will take it to heart

2. Sorrow is better than laughter, for a sad countenance makes a heart better

         a. Thus the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning

         b. While the heart of fools is in the house of mirth

Phil. 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

D. A REBUKE OF THE WISE IS BETTER THAN THE SONG OF FOOLS (5-7)

      1. For the laughter of the fool is vanity, like the crackling of thorn under a pot

      2. Oppression destroys a wise man’s reason, and a bribe debases his heart

E. THE END IS BETTER THAN THE BEGINNING (8a)

      1. Similar to what we have already seen regarding birth and death – cf. Ec 7:1

      2. Not all that starts has an end; in the completion of a task one finds satisfaction

F. PATIENCE IS BETTER THAN PRIDE (8b-9)

      1. The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit

      2. Do not be hasty to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools

G. THE PRESENT IS BETTER THAN THE PAST (10)

      1. We should not say “why were the former days better?”

      2. One is not wise in thinking in such a manner

H. WISDOM IS BETTER THAN WEALTH (11-12)

      1. Wisdom along with an inheritance is good, and profitable for the living

      2. Wisdom is a defense like money, but wisdom gives life to those who have it

I. RESIGNATION IS BETTER THAN INDIGNATION (13-14)

      1. There are some things of God we cannot change

      2. God has appointed both the day of prosperity and the day of

         adversity, so man is unable to determine what will happen after him

      3. The solution?

         a. In the day of prosperity be joyful

         b. In the day of adversity consider (e.g., what lessons might be learned)

II. COUNSEL FOR BALANCED LIVING (7:15-29)

   A. DO THINGS IN MODERATION (15-22)

      1. The righteous don’t always prosper, nor do the wicked always suffer

         a. Avoid extremism in seeking to righteous and wise, lest you destroy yourself

         b. Avoid extremism in wickedness and foolishness, lest you die before your time

      2. Don’t refrain from true righteousness and wisdom

         a. Fearing God will help one escape extremism

         b. Wisdom is a source of strength

         c. But no one is perfect

      3. Don’t take to heart everything you hear

         a. You may hear another curse you

         b. Yet you have likely cursed someone at sometime

   B. WISDOM ALONE IS NOT THE ANSWER (23-29)

      1. There are questions wisdom can’t answer

         a. Some things are beyond one’s ability to find

         b. No matter how hard and long you search

      2. A wicked woman is certainly to be avoided

         a. Which he found out in his search for wisdom

         b. She is more bitter than death

         c. He who pleases God shall escape from her, but the sinner

            shall be taken by her

      3. A good man is hard to find

         a. In his search, he found only one in a thousand

         b. A good woman was even rarer

         c. God made man upright, but man has sought out many schemes

Victory Baptist Church 19 February 2020 victorypalmetto.com