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Faithlife

Responding to Sovereignty (Ecclesiastes 5:1-20)

Ecclesiastes  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Be careful and don’t gripe at God about the confusing times. God alone saves. Your mouth cannot save you. Money cannot save you. God alone provides. Therefore, fear God, and be thankful for the life He has given you.

Notes & Transcripts | Handout

Ecclesiastes

Ch 1-2: Life w/o God
1.2-3: What is the point of life?
Ch 3:1-15: God is Sovereign
3.11 - God has put ‘eternity’ into the heart of man
3.14 - God has set life to so that man will (and can) trust in Him.
Ch 3:16-4:16 - Issues with God’s Sovereignty
1 - Wickedness exists
2 - Death exists
3 - Suffering (from oppression) exists
4 - Rivalry/envy and selfish ambition exists
5 - Loneliness exists
6 - Popularity exists
Showers in Selma, Alabama on Mission Trip w/ youth group. Summer trip to hot & humid environment. Showers were provided in basement of old football stadium. Cool concrete. Only paid for hot water for ladies. The water WAS COLD WATER for the guys. And it was COLD!!!
We had to take showers there. I guess we could’ve rebelled, but that really wasn’t an option. How does one deal with cold showers...
Sometimes, when dealing with the issues of life conflicting with our view of God’s sovereignty, we are tempted to react in sinful ways.
We need to make sure that we respond in a God-fearing, God-honoring way.
STOP and PRAY

Reacting vs Responding

Reacting is impulsive, uncontrolled, reflexive
Responding is intentional

Reaction #1: Trust in Yourself

Ecclesiastes 5:1–7 NASB95
1 Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. 2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. 3 For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words. 4 When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.
When faced with trials - sometimes our first reaction is to try to talk our way out of it.
We typically start with a complaint.
“Can you believe that we have to take COLD SHOWERS? Who thought that this would be a good idea?”
“Who organized this part of the week? Do you think I could talk with them?”
Ecclesiastes 5:1–3 NASB95
1 Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. 2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. 3 For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words.
Guard your steps when you go to God’s house, when you pray to Him. BE CAREFUL. Remember Who you are talking to, and who you are in light of that.
Sacrifice of fools - don’t think that God needs your sacrifice (; )
Acts 17:22–27 NASB95
22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;
1 Samuel 15:22 NASB95
22 Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.
Proverbs 21:27 NASB95
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, How much more when he brings it with evil intent!
When we spend time complaining about life - any facet of life - and then gather together to offer worship to our Lord, it is not only not worshipful, but offensive and evil.
When complaining about life to each other and the Lord doesn’t work, we too often try to negotiate our way out of stressful issues.
“Maybe we can switch with the ladies, you know, every other day or something like that.”
Ecclesiastes 5:4–7 NASB95
4 When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.
Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (, , , , , )
Your MOUTH cannot save you!
, , , , ,
Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane ().
We see the temptation to be shocked at corruption in high levels. There are many layers to man’s govt. and authority. When men who govern other men do not fear God, oppression exists. But, realize that God is the ultimate JUDGE, and that He has ordained the institution of Govt.
Ecclesiastes 5:8–9 NASB95
8 If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight; for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them. 9 After all, a king who cultivates the field is an advantage to the land.
- “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”

Reaction #2: Trust in Your Money

Reaction #2: Trust in Your Money

Ecclesiastes 5:10–17 NASB95
10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. 11 When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on? 12 The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep. 13 There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt. 14 When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had fathered a son, then there was nothing to support him. 15 As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil—exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind? 17 Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger.
Ecclesiastes 5:8–17 NASB95
8 If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight; for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them. 9 After all, a king who cultivates the field is an advantage to the land. 10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. 11 When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on? 12 The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep. 13 There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt. 14 When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had fathered a son, then there was nothing to support him. 15 As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil—exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind? 17 Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger.
When complaining and negotiating don’t work, we try to use MONEY to solve the issue.
“Maybe we can rent a hotel room and all take turns using the shower - nice hot showers...”
Don’t LOVE Money. Money did not create you. Money cannot save you.
Don’t LOVE Money. Money did not create you. Money cannot save you.
Love of money leads to GREED. Greed is evil. This is often the way of salvation for many.
Love of money leads to GREED. Greed is evil. This is often the way of salvation for many.
Why? You can’t take your money with you when you die.
You cannot talk your way out of it. You cannot buy your way out of it. Why not? ECC 3.14
Ecclesiastes 3:14 NASB95
14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.
Ecc. 3:14

How to Respond: Trust in GOD

FEAR GOD -
Ecclesiastes 5:7b NASB95
7 For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.
God LOVES to be TRUSTED
TRUST IN GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
Ecclesiastes 5:18–20 NASB95
18 Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one’s labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward. 19 Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.
Enjoy one’s labor - don’t be a workaholic, trusting in your own ability to make money
Realize that life is short
Realize that life is ordained by God, and what we have is what He gives
Don’t trust in MONEY!
FEAR GOD, TRUST IN GOD.
Learn how to live under the sun. Realize that these issues are here to stay. Don’t become apathetic. Don’t accept sin.
Focus firstly on intentionally preparing for the hard times.
Hurricane Harvey - Grocery Stores and Gas Stations.
Job 36:21 NASB95
21 “Be careful, do not turn to evil, For you have preferred this to affliction.
Job 1:21–22 NASB95
21 He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” 22 Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.
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