Solomon concluded this investigation of the results of man’s recklessness, ruthlessness, and ruin through greed by warning men to be cautious of becoming part of a community of people based on a superficial knowledge of their practices. Men are easily deceived by what they see because they are presented with those things that will entice them. The news is filled daily of accounts of people losing all that they had because they believed a lie. Men fall out of favour, bring shame to their families, and lose their fortunes because they do not listen to the warnings that have been placed before them. Solomon posted warning signs along this road and in order to help us understand this, and he added more insights and warnings which he summarized it in Ecclesiastes 5:18-6:12.
Solomon called our attention to these verses by two very important statements. He has not referred often to God’s will and work in the natural man’s life and so when he speaks of God here, we do well to pay attention. These two statements provide the key to this portion of Scripture –
5:19 “…this is the gift of God…” and –
6:10 “…neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.”
Whether religious or not, master or servant, wealthy or poor, man has no argument to bring against God. Man, through his desire to know both good and evil has introduced sin into his nature and in doing so, has brought a curse upon the world –
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: –
and he is without excuse before God. We should consider this – Refer to
Genesis 3:17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
God had provided man with every good and perfect thing. Man rebelled against the goodness of God and stole food from Him. Man was judged for this sin, yet God in His mercy allowed man to stay and work in His fields to provide for himself and his family. Think about this! God continued to supply that which man needed to live physically and He even provided that which man needed to live spiritually
John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Look at this carefully –
Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
Adam and Eve, and therefore all mankind with them, broke away from freedom and into bondage! Would you break into a prison and spend the rest of your life in bondage and hard labour? They did and here all mankind is – laboring through life under the sun! There is a truth that man must admit – God is in control. While studying this portion of Scripture, I wondered at Solomon’s statements about God giving wealth, giving one the blessing of using it and the other withholding the blessing, making it a curse unto him. I asked myself “What is going on here”? Then it became clear that Solomon declared that God is in control of all His creation! This is the warning sign that Solomon posted as we turned onto this road – ‘Controlled Access Road’. Men are living separated from God spiritually, but they are not separated from His control! All men are accountable to God and will stand before Him in the day of judgment. Solomon offered two examples of this here and we will illustrate these truths through the lives of two men who knew God’s power – King Cyrus of Persia and King Nebuchadnezzar of Chaldea.
I. The power of God to bless. Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
“Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof”.
The illustration of this truth is given in the account of King Cyrus –
A. He was chosen by God to serve.
Isaiah 44:28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
B. He was willing to obey God. God gave him a choice and he obeyed! 150 years had passed since God’s promise!
2 Chronicles 36:22-23 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.
C. He was blessed by God in this work and God proved again His declaration in –
Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
God is in control!
Notice the difference in these statements –
II. The power of God to curse. Ecclesiastes 6:1-12
“A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour…, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof…”
The illustration of this truth is given by the life of Nebuchadnezzar.
A. He was chosen of God to serve.
Jeremiah 28:14 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; I have put a yoke of iron upon the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the beasts of the field also.
B. He was lifted up against God by his pride.
Daniel 4:30 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?
C. He was humbled before God and man.
Daniel 4:31-33 While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
God declared that He is in control over all things – He is the Creator and all things are His. Men can deny that God exists, or they may admit that God exists but that they have no part with Him. He is not their God, but here Solomon is reminding us that God is over all and he is warning us that we will all answer to Him. Remember that the Word of God praises the Lord and reveals His power –
Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Blessed or cursed – nothing satisfies in this life under the sun! God has allowed man to have his desire – to know good and evil. Men discover that neither hope nor help are to be found in this condition. In the world, some prosper, some struggle, some fail, but all die just the same – prisoners to sin.
Have you been set free from the bondage of sin by your faith and trust in God through the Lord Jesus Christ? This is the message, first and foremost –
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Will you obey God and act upon His message to you today?
Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.