Saturday, July 30, 2022


Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In the 1950’s and ‘60’s, Hollywood starlet Doris Day was a popular figure on the silver screen. She played her roles opposite some of the most handsome leading men in Hollywood. Now passed on, she lives only in the memory of her fans. Her roles often included a singing part, for her voice was clear and crisp. In “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1955), her song from the movie crossed over to be a hit on the Pop Charts. “QUE SARA, SARA” was the song, and the lyrics were simple and entirely akin to today’s message. The song answers the question of a child with a non-answer: “What will be, will be.”

Lacking God’s foreknowledge, we often ask the similar questions “What will the future bring,” or “What will be my family’s fate?” The Apostle Paul taught in four of his Epistles that he would not have believers ignorant, and he then goes on to explain a doctrine, or teaching. Paul is following God’s example in the Word, as He tells us before-hand what to expect in the future. Frankly, the Lord tells us in Bible prophecy what to expect, and even goes into detail about how to live a good life, and how to succeed in life in a corrupt world. But choosing to live as God suggests is up to every individual.

God’s pattern of prophecy and fulfillment gives us hope, for “with God all things are possible.” Though Doris Day had no direct answer to the child-like question, the Lord would neither have us in ignorance, nor leave us wondering. When we consider the entire Bible, about 25% of it is prophetic. God’s Word answers our questions, if not directly, then by way of further study, leading from cross-reference to cross reference. We also have God’s track-record to consider for His faithfulness to fulfill His Word, and the scriptures reveal that God is 100% faithful to fulfill His Word.

Solomon’s 11th chapter of Ecclesiastes is a short one, but it puts our 21st Century minds into overdrive, thinking about the future: our personal future, our nation’s, and our world’s future. Solomon himself offers us no hope, but God’s word does. It eases our minds with assurance and hope.
“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience, experience; and experience, hope. And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” - Romans 5:3-5

Today's Audio Teaching:
Ecclesiastes 11:1-10 - "Children and Our Youth"


Verses 1-2 - "Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days." This statement emphasizes the element of risk and uncertainty, and opportunity – these things face us daily with many decisions we make. We have read in the last passages of chapter 10 these directions:
“16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning! 17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes feast at the proper time— for strength and not for drunkenness! 18 Because of laziness the building decays, and through idleness of hands the house leaks. 19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes merry; But money answers everything. 20 Do not curse the king, even in your thought; Do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; For a bird of the air may carry your voice, and a bird in flight may tell the matter.”
These previous passages were dealing with royalty and leaders. Solomon now focuses on the common people in verses 1 through 6. Opportunities come before us on every level of this life. They are found in the workplace, in the financial realm, in our own relationships. They also are found in our reactions to much that come upon us. It is an opportunity to shine for Jesus or simply revert to our own human nature. Many times, there is no middle ground.

Solomon tells us to cast our bread upon the water – this sums up the whole risk and opportunity aspect. None of us knows what tomorrow will bring. We don’t know the outcome of our investment. We don’t know how God has planned for us in the future. Regardless of not knowing these things, it shouldn’t hinder us from making valuable and productive use of ourselves and our resources each day.

'Cast' - is a decision for action to be taken. 
'Your Bread' - something of value to you must be ventured. 
'After many days’ - develops patience in waiting for results. 
'Find it' - is the reward for taking the step of faith.

Verses3-4 - Have you observed some of the people around you? Sadly, they do not seem to have a clue of what is going on in the world. Sometimes the statement, ‘ignorance is bliss’ is true, but ignorance all the time isn’t. The natural man doesn’t know what lies ahead, but the believer trusts the Lord. He knows that “God will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory.” A wise person will understand the times and season and prepare accordingly. If it looks like it is going to rain, then a person will prepare and use it to his or her advantage. 
"Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time." Colossians 4:5. "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."  - Ephesians 5:16

When a tree dies and falls, that's where it is. Just because it appears that a tree is leaning in one direction or another, it doesn't mean it might fall on your house. In other words, even though you cannot control things does not mean you ignore the potential problem. Don’t be a procrastinator. Be aware of the warning signs.  Sow while you have the opportunity.  

Vs 5 - Having warned about the need to take precautions, Solomon now tells us the flip side, that is the problems associated with being too cautious. If you analyze everything to death before you venture forth to do the task, you will not get anything accomplished. We need to respond to the opportunities that the Lord has given to us. The reason for this is that we do not know how God works. Even with all the knowledge and talent and ability, we are ignorant of so much, such as the secrets of the wind or the human body. It is the work of God; it is His and His alone.

Again, God is in control of all things. This should be a great comfort to us. He knows the number of our days; our very breaths are in His hand. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. He is Eternal. He is all knowing. He is all powerful. He is the beginning and the end.

Vs 6 -This should be our hearts attitude: “In the morning sow your see, and in the evening don’t withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” Can we really give too much? Can we outgive the Lord? Sow in the morning and the evening. Invest in industry. Invest in others. Invest in the Church. Invest in God’s Word. Give Him your time, your effort, your all. Scripturally speaking, we are not only supposed to be sowing spiritual seed morning and evening, but far and wide...God gives the increase (Galatians 6:9).

Verses 7-8 - We all need to stop and reflect on how short our lives really are. While we enjoy the time that we do have, we need to evaluate the future carefully.  Even if a person has enjoyed a good life "under the sun", the dark days are coming, more dark days than light if he is not prepared for the coming judgement.   All will be vanity.  A time of everlasting regret (2 Peter 2:17). 

Verse 9 - After having described these facts of life, Solomon speaks directly and personally to each young man. When we are in the prime of our lives, we think we are invincible. We can do what we like, participate in dangerous adventures and foolishly believe nothing will happen to us. The sins of youth are many! Thankfully we wise up with age! While making the most of our lives, we would be wise to remember that all we do will be judged.

Verse 10 - Childhood and youth are vanity," just like every other aspect of life if it is lived only under the sun.  Therefore, as Paul later would write to young Timothy, "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believer, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart: (2 Timothy 2:22).  It is natural and proper for young people to enjoy their youthful years, BUT they should do so in ways pleasing to God, knowing that "for all things God will bring thee into judgment" (verse 9).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."  (Matthew 6:33). We are to seek the things of God as a priority over the things of this world. Putting our trust in Him. Seek salvation! See newness of life. Seek His righteousness and truth! God has promised to provide for His own, supplying all of our needs (Philippians 4:19), but His idea of what we need is often different from ours. He knows what we truly need, and He always wants what’s best for us. Let us put away sin and follow the Lord!  Know Him.  Trust Him!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Flies and Ointment

Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The old adage about a fly in the ointment probably has its source in our text today. Somethings just don’t mix, but this idea goes far beyond just not mixing. It takes us to the ruinous contamination of the ointment. A healing ointment is thoroughly compromised by a germ-laden insect, and no one would ever want to use it once it’s been contaminated. When mixing an ointment, even ancient apothecarists made sure their mixes of ointment ingredients were pure and uncompromised.

This is an extreme case of a fly being where it should never be. The ointment is ruined, and the whole idea becomes an example of an oxymoron. It just should never happen. This tenth chapter of Ecclesiastes continues with a number of opposites that simply don’t mix, and certainly should not be found together in the personality traits of a single individual. But it you do find such a person, God’s discernment in you raise a red flag, for this is a compromised person.

Some will claim that believers judge others. But to judge, one must be able to condemn, and that is not authorized for us. Even when we discern that a person is the enemy of Christ (or us), we are encouraged to love them, even giving them a drink if they’re thirsty, or to feed them if hungry. Allow God to do the judging and condemning, for He is fair and just. Let our witness to others be loving and civil, like the Semaritan who took care of someone who generally would not have anything to do with him.

“Discernment of spirits” is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. If any lack discernment, it is a powerful gift, given to any who ask the Lord for it. In our dealings with others, discernment can reveal a person who is not good for us, OR a person who will strengthen us in our relationship with Jesus.

Discernment is a key element of wisdom, something for which Solomon was noted.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” ~ James 1:5

Today's Audio Message:
Ecclesiastes 10:1-20 - "Flies and Ointment"


In Ecclesiastes Chapter 10, Solomon records a number of short proverbs that are similar to those written in His Book of Proverbs. In the first verses (1-7), Solomon illustrates how a little folly can destroy the reputation of a good man.

Verse 1 - So, what’s the relation between dead flies in perfume and folly in a wise man?

Well, think about perfume. It smells nice. That’s why it exists. That’s why people make it and buy it. It smells good.

And then think about dead flies. Now, I don’t think I’ve ever smelled the smell of dead flies. But I’ve heard it’s a pretty awful smell. And yet, flies are so small. How could something so small invade something that smells so good and exists solely to smell good and turn it into something that smells awful? The flies utterly ruin the perfume!

That’s exactly what happens when foolishness enters into a man who’s known for his wisdom and honor. It only takes a little foolishness. His reputation may be impeccable. But just let a little foolishness enter him and be displayed by him – and all of a sudden, what he was renowned for is ruined.

Then in verse 2, Solomon describes the difference between the right and left hand, the difference between a wise man’s heart and a fool. Pastor Bob encourages us to do a word study on the “right hand” in scripture. You will find that the “right hand” symbolizes strength, rulership, authority, blessing and sovereignty. The Scripture has several words translated "right" and the usage of the term, "right hand" ranges from a direction, to the opposite of wrong, what is just or what conforms to an established standard, and to a place of honor or authority. In the case of division or appointment in the Bible, the right hand or right side came first, as when Israel (Jacob) divided the blessings to Joseph’s sons before he died (Genesis 48:13-14). There are many references to the strong and righteous right hand of the Lord. Also note that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father.

Verse 3 speaks of a man who professes to be wise but, in the end, his wisdom fails him. Paul wrote in Romans 1:22, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”   A fool cannot hide his nature., at some point everyone will be able to see him for what he truly is.   He exposes himself by his manner, his speech, and his actions. It's kind of a humorous picture, a guy walking around telling everyone what a fool he is.  How many of them walk the halls of higher institutions of learning? They became fools, rejecting he light of God’s knowledge, contriving lies (see Romans 1:23).

In verse 4, the word “yielding” is commonly translated “remedy” or “healing.” Also, “pacifieth” means “let alone,” and “offences” is usually translated “sins.” Solomon’s advice here is not to run away after committing such an offense, but offer a reasonable explanation of the action. Respect those in authority over you. The scripture teaches us to obey the law of God, to be obedient to magistrates.

Verses 5-7 point to another situation which Solomon found to be evil. Wicked rulers have their own agendas, normalizing and giving high regard to what God has said is sin. Those parading in the streets celebrating that which is abominable to God.

Verses 8-9 illustrate those who plan evil may have come right back at them. A great example of this would be Haman of Persia, who ended up hanging on the gallows which he had constructed for his enemy Mordecai (Esther 5:14; 7:10).

Verse 10 - If you burn wood in winter, you are familiar with using an axe. A blunt axe will not chop wood, it will simply wear you out if you persist on trying. It is ineffective, a waste of time and energy. There is simply no benefit to this. You cannot complete your work, and in the end is pointless. This illustration is intended to show the foolishness of self-appointed teachers attempting to teach the Scriptures when they have neglected first to sharpen their own knowledge. (2 Timothy 2:15).

The next four verses (11-14) deal with the careless use of the tongue. Just as a venomous snake will bite unless a snake charmer controls it, so “a babbler is no better” (verse 11). Blah, blah, blah! An endless stream of talk is careless and can be as deadly as a serpent's bite. As James says, “The tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).

A wise man will allow the Holy Spirit to tame his tongue, to measure his words carefully, to speak words of wisdom and truth. Christians are exhorted to “let your speech be always seasoned with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye out to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6). 
Remember, Jesus said that “every idol word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).

The last few verses (15-20) deal with the foolish man. He is full of self-promoting words yet doesn’t know how “to go to the city” (vs. 15). In other words, who would want to listen to a fool? If the fool cannot even find the town to work, how can he expect to find God? Are you going to let such a one advise you on what’s to come in the future? All of his worldly ideology, his theories, his vain philosophies or religious repetitions does not make him a wise man.

In verse 16, the idea here is that the king is childish or naive, or unprepared for his duties and is therefore irresponsible. How evident is this today? When the leader of a nation spends their time and energy with self-indulgence, the nation is in great peril. (See also: Isaiah 3:12; 2 Corinthians 4:4; and Jeremiah 21:12).

Therefore (vs 17), it is good to have rulers who are ready for the job, those who are noble, self-controlled, mature, wise and balanced.

Verse 18 - this is another instance of the great detriment that foolish rulers bring upon their nation. The picture is one of a house, and sometimes in Scripture a nation is described as such. If your lazy, your house will decay, the roof will sag, and leak until it collapses. Laziness and idleness will weaken a nation. The very thing protecting from harm will weaken, break down, and leave everyone in harm's way. This is true of all those harmful elements allowed into society, to seem as normal and good, yet it is rotten and decays.

In vs 19, deals with the mindset of such rulers, they are self-indulgent. They are only concerned with lining their own pockets. Whatever the problem, just throw money at it, after all that will make everything better…NOT! Money will not solve the world’s problems! This is becoming a reality in a world today. With the rising cost of living, and in spite of the continuous printing of money, the problems continue to get worse.

Verse 20 - it is easy to be critical of our leaders, especially bad leaders. BUT be careful not to speak -or even think evil of your rulers. Romans 13:1 tells us they have been ordained of God. He sets up rulers, and He takes them down. More importantly, there is one King, above every king who is cursed by this world regularly. Don’t blaspheme the Holy Spirit, don’t blaspheme the name of the Lord, don’t use His name in vain…in so doing there are eternal consequences. Only the foolish are unaware of coming judgment.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

The Revelation To Solomon

Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

As we begin with Chapter 9 of this most intricate book, we find that Solomon continues to write out the revelation that God is bestowing upon him, a bit at a time. The sub-heading in my Bible for this chapter is “the unfolding, continued.” While we can immediately relate it to Revelation 1 as the Alpha and Omega charges John to record the past, the present, and the future: “the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;”

It is the story-line of the entire Bible, as He reveals Himself to the world. It is His-story, in the context of His interactions with all mankind since the beginning of time. It’s a part of World History you never learned in school.

Solomon writes of the things he has observed, the things which were current at the time of his writing, and the things which would always be, namely, God being in control of all the minutia of life on earth, for all of time.

Our God is an eternal God, lest we forget. And as we read in the 7th chapter, He knows the end from the beginning. Clearly, He knows our end, which should give us pause to think about our life choices, habits, and behaviors.

The Bible is the story of God revealing Himself to His Creation. And as in any active relationship, the parties get to know each other better and better through their interactions. The only difference in God’s story is that He had all this planned “in the beginning.” It’s important to remember that the 66 books of the Bible were written by 40 different scribes and prophets over a period of some 1,5000 years. God reveals Himself to every generation, in every era, a little bit at a time, just enough to stretch our faith, and cause our belief to deepen.
~ God and Moses ~

“And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.  - Exodus 33:21-23 

Today's Audio Message:
Ecclesiastes 9:1-18 - "The Revelation to Solomon"


As we begin Ecclesiastes chapter 9, Solomon is understanding the futility of life, yet He also knows that God is the One who controls all things.

By this point, Solomon has walked through all of life, pondering deeply about life’s true meaning while conducting his own experiments. He's thought about it all. Knowledge, money, power, pleasure, relationships, government, happiness -- all of it. And he ends up in the same place every time: we're all going to die. It doesn't matter how rich, wise, powerful, beloved, or successful you are, every person who lives will die. Perhaps facing his own mortality, he is forced to put his own thoughts into a new perspective. He seems to gain some hope in this chapter but ends up coming to the wrong conclusion.

Much of Ecclesiastes is his coming to grips with the shortness of life and thinking hard about the things that seem meaningless in retrospect. For the believer, it is a call to refocus our priorities.

(Ecclesiastes 9:1-3) - In spite of Solomon's wisdom, he had become very aware that he could never really understand the mind of God and His future plans for mankind. He sees that all things come to all men alike as far as the circumstances of this life are concerned. See: Matthew 5:45. Much of life is inexplicable -- "good" things happening to "bad" people, and "bad" things happening to "good" people. Solomon always came back to one fundamental truth: no one knows what is going to happen to you tomorrow; all you can know is you are one day closer to your death. While Solomon was right in his observations, he was wrong in his interpretations.

From a limited human perspective, it would seem that that “this is an evil among all things that are done under the sun” (verse 3). We have no way of knowing if a "bad" thing happens from (1) God's punishment, (2) God's discipline, (3) God's work in someone else's life, or (4) just happenstance of living in a broken world. Human wisdom can never answer the why of it all. "Bad" things happening are not indicative of God's love or hate toward anyone. Every day we live is in God's hands, and we don't know what tomorrow holds, perhaps a car accident, a sudden illness, an economic downturn, but we can know the One who holds the future in His hands. That should give every Christian hope and confidence.

Ecclesiastes 9:4-10 - You don't have to understand Solomon's pessimism to understand his conclusion that as long as someone is alive, there's hope for them. Death is an intrusion into the life that God created for us, a consequence of human sin. Death is a taking away of God's great gift of life. Also, death for those apart from Jesus is the greatest loss possible. Any day that a non-Christian can continue to live is another day they might repent and turn to Jesus.  But for us, for those who believe in Jesus, death is not a loss. In fact, death is gain! (Philippians 1:21). If you want to be encouraged to this end, read 1 Corinthians 15; Romans 14:8.

Solomon exhorts the wise to have joyful confidence in God whatever their condition in life. He offers some good advice in these next few verses. One example in verse 7, enjoy the fruit of your labor. Bread and wine were the staples of the region (no coincidence that Jesus chose bread and wine for the Lord's Supper), and most of the people were involved in agriculture in some way. One way or another, bread and wine is what they got from their labor, so they may as well enjoy it.

In verse 9 he describes “the life of thy vanity” or emptiness. What a complete contrast to the life we have in Christ. We have joy in our salvation. It is not temporary but eternal. In Christ, we are regenerated, renewed, and a new creation. We are made alive with Him and can rejoice in our Savior who makes all things possible. We are loved, forgiven, and secure. What a wonderful Savior is Christ!

Verse 10 (see also Colossians 3:23). "Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your might."  Do your BEST work.  God does not expect us to do more than we are able, but He does expect us to do it right and as unto Him.

Verse 11 - 18 - The humanistic notion that time and chance, rather than God, seem to affect many human activities. In verse 11, because unexpected situations develop that affect the activities and their outcomes. The rationalist may attribute all this to chance, but the believer may well believe that God has intervened in answer to prayer. Solomon is presenting this in humanistic context because he is evaluating such events as those reasoning “under the sun” would see them.

As already noted, God establishes and controls the timing of events in each individual life (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) and also that He has established a time for judgment (Ecclesiastes 8:6) with good and bad coming respectively for the godly and ungodly (Ecclesiastes 8:12-13).

He gives a sort of parable to this effect (vs 14-15). A Poor wise man was able to save a city by his wise counsel…God’s appointed time. The sad aftermath of the event, however, was that the “poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard” (vs.16). How similar to Jesus who was despised and rejected.

It is generally true that “the words of wise men are heard in quiet”, the world lacks appreciation for truth and wisdom. One sinner can undermine much good, in verse 18. It was Jeroboam who won over the ten northern tribes of Solomon’s kingdom from Solomon’s son, and soon led the whole nation into idolatry (1 Kings 22:5).

Saturday, July 9, 2022

The Work Of God

Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

While we do not ascribe to “Biblical Numerology,” there are certain numbers in the scriptures that have significance.  Today’s Chapter 8 is one of them. In last week’s 7th Chapter of Ecclesiastes, we witnessed a slight change in Solomon’s words and thoughts. The light of God was beginning to break through Solomon’s clouded view and attitude. The number 7 often designates a completion, or the fulness of a thing. And in this week’s 8th Chapter, we see more light, more hope, and more trusting God, and less second-guessing what He is accomplishing in the lives of His children. We see a new thing!

Disappointment is lifting from Solomon’s words, and God’s authority over all things is coming to the surface. Hope is in the process of being restored! Truly, we have all gone through this kind of change as Believers, learning to trust God with more and more. A key verse in the chapter is Verse 2: “I counsel thee to keep the king’s commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.”

The oath of God is found in the Covenants, the promises He has made with mankind, and particularly with the Jewish people, and with Believers. He is always faithful to watch over us and offer protection and provision. Yet it is in times of our disobedience that we sense His distance from us. It’s easy to wonder where God has gone to, but it is not Him that moved. Verse 3 of this chapter opens with “Be not hasty to go out of His sight:”

The hymn “Come thou Fount” reminds us our natural tendency to be drawn away from God. Induced by our very sin nature, it can be a minute-to-minute choice that we make to keep our eyes on God and His Anointed One.
“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart Lord, take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.”
As Solomon becomes increasingly aware of God’s ability to satisfy, his words to the reader are like the Apostles commission to spread the Gospel. It’s for us!
“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;” ~ 2 Peter 1:19

Today's Audio Message:
Ecclesiastes 8:1-17 - "The Word of God"


Life apart from God is empty. Solomon ultimately realized that this world cannot satisfy the longing of our hearts. All the riches in the world cannot buy happiness. Even with all of man’s lofty ideas and achievements, mankind is left empty and wanting. Never satisfied. We live in a broken world where life is confusing and chaotic, filled with things that seem satisfying but actually leave us empty, hurt, and/or angry. Instead of trying to seize control of literally “the vapor” of this world, we should instead focus our lives on fearing God and doing what is right. Life will still be confusing at times and there will still be pain, but ultimately God is the only sure place to find meaning and He will (one day) put all the broken things back together (Revelation 21:3-5).

The wisdom and knowledge that we are given through faith in Jesus Christ, and believing His Word drastically changes the way that we interpret everything that we see around us. Wisdom sharpens our eyes then to see what's wrong with the world, to see in clearer detail vanity oppression, injustice and the danger of crossing the king. Wisdom knows about the final judgment of God and chooses to walk on the path that leads to eternal life. Wisdom changes our countenance so that we have confidence and peace knowing that God is in control, and that Jesus bore the weight of our sin on His shoulders on the cross. As we go through life, wisdom gives us eyes to see these simple joys and pleasures that God has given us as gifts to enjoy. Just like Solomon learned, we will never live a good, happy, contented, fulfilling life when we are at war with God, we must put our faith and trust in Him.

We are in chapter 8 of Ecclesiastes this week.  The contents of the chapter have been broken down as follows:

Verses 1-5 - The commendations of wisdom
Verses 6-8 - Prepare for sudden evil and death
Verses 9-13 - It will be well with the righteous and ill with the wicked
Verses 14-17 - Mysteries of God’s Providence - (Divine providence is the governance of God by which He, with wisdom and love, cares for and directs all things in the universe. He is in complete control of all things and will accomplish His will.)

Verses 1-5:

In order to understand who the wise man is in verse 1, we must first understand what wisdom truly is.

What is wisdom? How would you best describe this word?

Wisdom is the ability to see life from God’s perspective and then to know the best course of action to take. It comes from knowing and trusting in God as Proverbs 9:10 teaches us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

The wise individual comes up with answers to problems that we think are almost impossible. His/her wisdom actually makes their faces shine and emanates peace and contentment, not like the discontent and worry displayed on the faces of others.

There is no one more useful or content as the wise man. The wise are able to understand the words of God and share His truths with others.

Of all the people of the world who have an abundance of wealth, power, the honor and praise of man, a long list of accomplishments, not one of them can compare to a wise man. 

Jesus taught of the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7:24-25, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Those who are truly wise are able to understand God’s Word, keep His commands, and share His truth by example with others. But those who don’t fear God are like those who built their house upon the sand. Matthew 7:26-27, “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Verses 6-8:

God does not reveal everything to us.  We in our finite understanding cannot fully understand the work of God, but we know that He is faithful, and so we trust Him.  He has kept the knowledge of future events away from us. We don’t know what is going to be, or when it will be, but we must always be ready for those changes. God alone has the power over life and death. When it is our appointed time to die, there is no escaping it. We cannot hide from God; we cannot escape the inevitable. Wise men understand these things and consider their future destiny. Those who place their trust in God are ready to meet Him, and those who have rejected Him will not escape judgment.

Verses 9-13:

As Solomon observed throughout the course of his life, that many times, power corrupts, men are not just in their dealings with others, and that those with such wealth and power are typically hardened in their wickedness.  We see this play out before us as well.  Evil men seem to get away with their wicked deeds over, and over again. But his days are as a shadow, empty and worthless. They are deceived into thinking they will not face judgement, but God’s vengeance will surely come. It is not so with the righteous. Those who fear the Lord will keep His word and be blessed in God’s promises. His life will have purpose and meaning as he lives in accordance with God's word.

Verses 14-17:

The righteous are not exempt from suffering, in fact, it is often that the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper. Those who put their faith in God can be confident that
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" - Philippians 1:6.  Apply your heart to wisdom - God’s wisdom. God is God, there is no other, and He is in control. In Him we have joy, peace of mind, assurance of His promises. All the things we cannot understand, we trust God in His perfect wisdom, knowing that He is faithful and just, and will one day make all things new.

Revelation 21:3-5:

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Beginning or End?


Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz
Our immediate response to the Title question should be “Jesus is the Alpha AND the Omega.” He is the first, and He is the last; the beginning and the end. The Bible declares it several times, so why the question?

Solomon focuses in this chapter on what might be called opposites, and often the undesirable things in life come up first: Mourning rather than joy; sorrow rather than laughter. Sadness, mourning, and sorrow position us closer to bigger questions, more detailed heart searching, and crying out to God for help. Those that are joyful and comfortable often don’t find a need for God’s answers, but those in dire straits are asking questions that only God can answer!

With all that Solomon has written in the earlier chapters of this book, his insights in Chapter 7 are right on target. As Believers, we often hear that it is through the difficult times and trials when the Believer will grow in faith more than when he is at peace. If you have been a Christian for any length of time, your own experiences will bear this out. Such are the lessons we reminded of from King Solomon today.

This seems contrary to what we thought Christianity was when we first believed: New life, our needs provided, and good things in the future are powerful things to draw us to Christ. And then the Lord teaches us through His Word, and through our life circumstances. In hindsight, it is a journey that few of us would trade away, but it’s not likely what we expected when we first heard of the wonderful works of Jesus. Mystery and the unknown surround the beginning, but in the end our knowledge will be full. He will reveal all the mysteries to us.

Relinquishing human wisdom and adopting God’s, Solomon seems less fickle, less troubled and sad, more steadfast and aligned with the Father of us all.
“For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” ~ Proverbs 2:6

Today's Audio Message:
Ecclesiastes 7:1-29 - "Beginning or End?"


The author of the book of Ecclesiastes looked for the meaning of life in many vain pursuits. He describes the feeling of emptiness he felt: “Meaningless! Meaningless! . . . Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). King Solomon had wealth beyond measure, wisdom beyond any man of his time or ours, hundreds of women, palaces and gardens that were the envy of kingdoms, the best food and wine, and every form of entertainment available. He said at one point that anything his heart wanted, he pursued (Ecclesiastes 2:10). Yet he summed up life “under the sun”—life lived as though all there is to life is what we can see with our eyes and experience with our senses—as meaningless. What explains this void? God created us for something beyond what we can experience in the here-and-now. Solomon said of God, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In our hearts we are aware that the “here-and-now” is not all there is.

In chapter 7 of Ecclesiastes, Solomon explains for us what makes for "better living" in this vain world.  
This chapter, as much of Ecclesiastes, reflects "the two ways" of life.

Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Looking back at the first six chapters of Ecclesiastes, the Preacher (Solomon) has shared with us his search for meaning in this life (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 of Ecclesiastes, the Preacher 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? 
Proverbs 9:10 - "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."
Proverbs 8:13 - "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."

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 Preacher is mainly warning against extremism, and against the presumption that one can find the answer to every question in life (15-29).


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