In Ecclesiastes 5:1-17 we see that Solomon has exited onto a road of life at which he will soon return and post the sign “Danger Ahead. Keep doors locked, windows up, and do not stop your vehicle”. You would ask “Why would anyone turn off onto this road if it is so dangerous”? The problem is that from a distance, the landscape looks normal and even inviting. The people are worshipping, working, and wealthy, but we might be deceived by what we see. We think that we may be able to find what we are looking for here. As Solomon drove along this road, he discovered three towns and at each he posted a sign describing what he discovered about the people – The first was that they were reckless with the truth. The second was that they were ruthless in their rule. The Third, and this is where he made a u turn and returned to the Highway, was that they were ruined by their greed. We will look at his conclusions this morning.
I. They are reckless with the truth. Ecclesiastes. 5:1-7 They were worshipping
A. They ignored God’s Word, rejecting the doctrine of truth. 5:1a
People make the serious mistake of determining the importance of doctrine based on its value to themselves and their present circumstances – seeking religious exercises to meet their current wants and needs.
B. They invented their own doctrine. 5:1b-3
They give offerings (sacrifice) not with the expectation of satisfying the righteousness and justice of God on truth, but with the expectation of making Him a debtor to them! Now, God owes me because look what I have done for Him!
Before God gave the people the law and the sacrifices, He required their obedience. All of the people said with one voice “…all that the Lord hath spoken, we will do…” The Lord reminded them of this in the day of judgment –
Jeremiah 7:22-23 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.
Even today people follow man’s instruction in place of God’s Word. I have shared with you before of the pastor Bonnie and I met here that led a charismatic assembly. We were Independent Fundamental Baptist and he replied “Oh, you all just stay with the Bible don’t you”. He was not ignorant of the truth of God’s Word, he just rejected it and led others to do the same.
Solomon observed that they were reckless in their belief –
1. Through reason. 5:2a “…their hearts…”
2. Through activity. 5:2b,3 “…business…” Busyness – They substituted activity for spirituality.
3. Through emotion. 5:3a “…words, dreams…”
C. They imagined that God was made in their image. 5:4-7
Psalms 14:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
They claimed that they knew God but they denied Him by their actions.
God is compelled to serve them and to submit to their reason and excuses without exception.
In 1989 a lady in Singapore trusted the Lord as her savior. She became faithful in church and seemed to be enthusiastic in her faith. By profession, she was a beautician and she wanted to open her open shop. We all prayed with her for direction and she rented a space and opened the shop. The church was invited to the opening and we were asked to pray for her business, it being her desire to dedicate it to the Lord. Business was good and she was successful, expanding by hiring beauticians to work for her. She began to get so much business, she stayed open late on Wednesdays, trusting that the Lord would understand that she had to work and would not expect her to attend Prayer meeting and Bible study. We encouraged her to remember her promise to God, but she chose the business to be first. Things continued well and she opened the shop of Sundays to take advantage of those who could only come on that day. She stopped coming to church and said that the Lord should understand. It was His fault because He gave her so much business. We again warned her and asked her to remember her promise but she put her career first. Within six months she lost her cliental and her business along with all of her financial investment. She was ruined and became angry with God because He did not understand her desire to succeed. She should have repented long before with the understanding that God does not forget promises – those He makes and those that are made to Him.
II. They are ruthless in their rule. Ecclesiastes 5:8,9 They were working
Solomon may have considered this very thought – imagine if you will we are visiting the country of Egypt 500 years before Solomon’s reign as king of Israel. We would behold the wondrous sights of the pyramids, the Sphinx, the cities of the kings and think about all that it took to build these amazing places. As we looked across the country from our vantage point of the highway of life, we see people working, busy carrying out the desires of the Pharaoh and his government. It is a great sight to behold until we turn off the highway and enter into the daily lives of the people. We see now that these industrious people are an oppressed people – slaves of brutal leaders and taskmasters.
As we have learned before –
Neither the oppressed or the oppressors had any satisfaction, happiness, or contentment in this state of affairs.
A. The powers were afraid of the people, and so they put them under more oppression to try and control them.
B. The people were afflicted as they served the powers under the sun. Finally they turned to their Hope –
Exodus 3:7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
Solomon declared the truth that these leaders became aware of “…For he that is higher than the highest regardeth, and there be one higher than they.” – these masters have a Master that is higher than them, and He was watching and listening! They needed to know that –
C. The Provision is for all. Ecclesiastes 5:9
Solomon heard his father David testify to this truth –
1 Chronicles 29:14-15 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
God established the principal of man’s ownership of personal property for man’s good in order to provide for his family and his community, not to prevent others from providing for themselves and their families. Solomon posted the warning sign at this intersection to warn people that although their was great industry and commerce, there was not peace and contentment to be found here.
He then came to the neighborhood beyond this one. On this road he saw that they were wealthy but –
III. They are ruined by their greed. Ecclesiastes 5:10-17
Solomon described them as having –
A. No satisfaction. Ecclesiastes 5:10,11 You can only hold it for a moment in time and as one watches that abundance disappear, they are disturbed and have –
B. No sleep (peace) Ecclesiastes 5:12 They worry about losing the extra that they have put aside and therefore Solomon points out that they have –
C. No security. Ecclesiastes 5:13-16
Solomon described how the man worked and accumulated all that he could in order to leave an inheritance – with no success in finding peace and
contentment. Now he described this from a different perspective. He wrote of the one who is expecting to receive the inheritance that his parents have laid up for him. The one hoping to receive the inheritance has no peace as he is not certain that the wealth will remain until it is given to him. He has no guarantee! No one does and here Solomon turns to the millions of people who have wasted their lives either making wealth or waiting to receive it.
Ecclesiastes 5:17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.
Solomon has warned us that on this highway, keep you doors locked, windows up, and beware of strange doctrine! Do not be hijacked on this road under the sun. Do not be deceived by the reckless, the ruthless, or the ruined
The only secure thing in all of life is the Word of God! He promises that what He has done will remain and all who come to Him will receive. His promise is sure.
1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Go to Him today in repentance and faith, calling on Him for salvation.