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.

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