Preached on July 19, 2010
I talked last time the need to prioritize preaching the Word. That we don’t have any message –the man of God mentioned in 2 Timothy 4, except the on that was given before. We don’t have to manufacture our own message-so as to impress our hearers. We just have to read, listen, interpret, illustrate and apply the message that was originally given to the apostles, prophets and lastly by the Lord Jesus.
Sometimes –because of this mandate-preachers of the Word –either follow a lectionary –as we do-or preach through a book series-so either by topic or by book the people of God is exposed and trained in all of Scriptures.
But sometimes this is not easy for the preacher. It is sometimes hard to study-and harder to explain in front the congregation what the Lord means in His Word-sometimes we come to some of his hard sayings. Not easy to swallow-and does not make his herald popular with his hearers.
The 2nd Part of Ecclesiastes 7 is such one passage-For our time with women liberated and have more opportunities for growth and financial freedom-Solomon’s view seems antiquated and sexist-that is offensive to the sensibilities of the women in the congregation.
But don’t close your ears yet-you may not like what I am about to say-but listen to the Word-and respond to it-and not to my foolish and inadequate ramblings or thoughts on the Word.
Maybe you can discuss it in your homes and bible study group-and there find the right application that the Lord is telling me-and may have failed to share it to you.
I am an earthen vessel-and the glory of the Lord in His Word cannot be contained on such frail flesh like mine. I have my day-to-day problems that affect my understanding of the Word.
The Title of my message is “A hand on wisdom and a net”
This pertains to the 3 point division of the message and our text:
- Verses 15-18 Hand especially v. 18
- Verses 19-22 Wisdom especially v. 19
- Verses 23-29 The Net especially v. 26
THE BODY OF THE MESSAGE:
- Hand- In Public Life
Verses 15-18 Hand especially v. 18
In his short and fleeting life-Solomon has seen it all-and it is not always Math precise. It is not 1 plus 1 equals 2. The Lord reserves the final tally on what has happened in this life and will be happening-it is all in His Time-not our own.
When we face people-we must have an editor in our minds before we speak or act:
ILL: Publication- article for magazine or internet-better to have an editor to check your grammar, if it is easy to understand and cannot be misunderstood-or there are things that have to said or not said.
So in our actions with respect with other people. We cannot live insisting our way always even if we are right. We will only get disappointed. The world will not follow our way. We need to wait on other to mature and get the habit of acting favorable with our request and demand.
Do not be over compulsive and even irritating with your own righteous causes- some people will get needlessly offended and might retaliate in violence. Thus the good man may die early. Some are not irritating –
And yet the good they also die young too. And that is good thing to do what is right-to protect the helpless, the poor, the weak and those who are defenseless-and sometimes they have to do it because no one else can.-There it is our duty to do good –even if it means a life foreshortened by violence.
But in general-we don’t need to be right always, all the time, all the days of our life. Sometimes love can cover a multitude of sins-irritants, mistakes, insults.
Sometimes, Jollibee and McDonalds and Chowking do not give 100 % customer satisfaction.
Also the TV Series Monk-when his wife died violently-he reacts to the world by being over compulsive in cleanliness and arrangement-because that is the only place where his world is in order-outside it is violent and in disarray.
But we also don’t need to become infamous due to our wickedness-We cannot push our luck. Someday –we will find our recompense.
Story jeepney driver honking at the back. The driver is a policeman-so he went down and aim the barrel of his revolver at the face of the honking jeepney driver. That stunned all-Mahirap pag nakatagpo tayo ng katapat.
Remember Ben Tumbling, Al Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, Hitler, Idi Amin, -due to their excessive wickedness –it galvanize others-those with authorities to collectively bring them down. Anger with common experience of oppression –unites people with different agenda and motives to take down a common oppressor. Remember the Japanese in World War 2, Marcos in recent memory. Instead of retiring at Paoay, Ilocos Norte –he died at Hawaii.
A true believer in the Lord God will (Micah 6:8) know “what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” Folowing righteousness-not his own-and evading and ceasing from doing wickedness-he will be able hold in his hand both very relevant guidelines for life and be not an unnecessary of men’s anger.
This is the Hand of the righteous in Christ-and not righteous in oneself. He knows how to listen to the Spirit and the Word.
- Wisdom- In Our own Musings-private life (as we speak to our selves)
Verses 19-22 Wisdom especially v. 19
The Trojan War is unfortunate war-It started with the illegal desires of Paris for Helen-then ended in the death of Hector –who only wishes to protect his city-state-his family in the hands of Achilles –because he mistakenly killed Patroclus-favorite nephew of Achilles –when he assumed the armor of Achilles. And then the whole city fell to the Greek. All because of a woman.
Beauty fades-but wisdom does not. A wise man-or a king could have averted such an insult to Menelaus-her husband-so that the thousand Greeks need not sail for Troy.
Sometimes power and might is not the answer to our problems. Nor even money.
Humility, patience and being contented with what we have are.
Did USA defeated Communism in Vietnam? Muslim militancy in Iraq now? It is different when US and other allied nations joined together to defeat Germany, Italy and Japan in World War 2-and Iraq when it invaded Kuwait –and when Al Qaeda holed up in Afghanistan.
Yes there is a time to face the school bully-but there is a time when you will never win a battle with a larger and stronger person-and it is better to befriend him than anger him.
Thus wisdom is better than ten strong warriors or champion. Lives are saved that way-than fell into unwinnable war.
We will not always win in this world-Every person owes God-Yahweh the Lord-we cannot demand that He always sides with us. There is no ADAM-human that is righteous, which means –he is truly good and does not sin. An indictment to our species. We are sinners-and we cannot demand good things for us. We better use wisdom to live in this world. Wisdom is best use of knowledge available to us. It is a perspective that gives light to what we know or what we can know.
Sabi nga ni Oliver Wendell Holmes “A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience”.
When I was young in meralco-we have a lot of grievances with our leaders-like they are not impartial-just in giving merits to us-that we are not doing everything for the benefit of his people That they are inconsiderate-and they are just thinking of themselves. And then 1 by 1 –our generation are taking the place of our leaders who retired. And the they became us. We are also not impartial and inconsiderate of our team members. And what we speak in the back of our leaders-we also hear in our backs-when they thought we are not listening.
No one is perfect-and we are not. We have a lot of defects. And as we grown old and powerful or influential or rich-we tend to be too sensitive-and are easily offended. It is perhaps our High blood pressure speaking. And if we are always offended by what we hear-I am sure we will die easily. Let us realize-we will never be the perfect friend, employer, supervisor or person in the world. In our brief fleeting life-let us just do what we do best and what we can still do in our strength-so that the next generation can take and add to us.
Sabi nga sa movie ng Platoon-na starring si Charlie Sheen-I have seen the enemy-and the enemy is us”.
Some can be paralyzed by criticism that they will no longer try anything lest they offend others. In this way –their life stops to a halt-and they are no longer effective for the kingdom of God. We must repent everyday-and then gain strength for the day’s challenges and opportunities prepared by God to us
- A Net (Spread by the Enemy to distract Us)
Verses 23-29 The Net especially v. 26
The pursuit of Wisdom –does not mean we will be always wise-or that we can hold it in our hand-and it will no longer be gone. Wisdom is deep-and new situations and information tends to confound us. There is so much more to know and evealuate.
Only God –in his wisdom-infiniteness-can grasp all things-from beginning to the end. From beyond beginning to beyond the end. He is forever more knowledgeable than all computers combined. He can know all the combinations and all permutations of what can, may and will happened. And no one can outguess or out flank him.
Sa fastfood –may tinatawag na combo meal-di ba? Sa Tekken –at playstation games ay may combination moves. At ito’y limited lang- though marami-Si Lord? Million and billions and googlilion moves and combination ang alam niya. And He knows it all without trying even to focus-it is always present to him.
Tayo para pumasa sa mga test-we need to study, focus our brains and read and practice. And yet we cannot grasp it all. It is too deep.
Tapos alam niyo mangyayari at seryoso na kayo mag-aral?
Along comes a woman… sabi nga ni isang song.
When we are ready to “seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness.”
Along comes a woman. And we do warn our binata about this. Do they listen?
I can remember the days in high school when I am in deep thought –thinking about all the ramifications of the philosophy Sartre and Bertrand Russel- I met my first crush. And my days and nights are disturbed forever.
So when I was at UST –trying to solve problems in Differential and Integral Calculus-along comes a woman. And a woman is harder to solve-you don’t know what methods or procedure will solve the problem-that is a woman.
And you know-women know that men can get crazy figuring them out.
Solomon had more of the share of the problem than we have. Sabi nga “Women are like wine-they taste better with age-but in excess they are your greatest headache in the morning.”
And Solomon has “had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.” 1 Kings 11:3-4
Compare the account of Solomon’s wives 1Ki_11:1-8 :
see especially also Pro_2:16-19
(16 So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words,
17 who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God;
18 for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed;
19 none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life.)
(1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding,
2 that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge.
3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol;
6 she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.)
Woman-ishah is a distraction to him-especially the seductress/temptress.
Her heart is snares and net- matsodim va charemayim. Two words use to capture fish or animals-while the other are cages or those used by Vietnamese to kill their enemies-
Which means-they entrap their prey and then hurt them good so that they will be imprison (esurim) in her hands. They are trapped forever-unless healed and liberated by others.
I am not speaking to young men only but to their mothers and also to the wives of men trapped by this women. We must be able to heal their wounds first-meaning forgiveness and acceptance –before we can be able to released them from their imprisonment. Clearly we need more –once they are already trapped and imprisoned by them.
“An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”
I call this women-vortex-black holes- no light can be found in them. And it is to our peril, men to be near them.
Parang gamu-gamo tayo umiikot sa ilawan-pag tayo ay nag-apoy ay mawawalan tayo g pakpak upang makalipad palayo sa kanila.
I know this from experience-though I have not fallen carnally/ sexually- I was drawn in my midlife crisis- when I was 41 years old to woman half my age- All I wanted is to help her in the office and maybe bring her to the Lord-but no-as times goes by-she needs more and more of my help. Without the intervention of my wife and my best friend I will not be freed from her helping and helping her.
That is 5 years ago and later I found out that during the same time I was helping her-she was wrecking the family of another my co-employee. Beware of women-My sons-they can make you off track in one single collision.
Truly – “He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her”. It is God who makes a way to save us from the seductress or temptress.
Remember –when your mother or wife says that naloloko ka dun sa isang babae-more than often-tama sila. Mai-ingat mga kapatid. I might be exagerated to you now-but when you are there and blinded by her-you cannot see right. Others beside you can see through her schemes.
Don’t underestimate the weapons within in their disposal. Samson was blinded by the Philistines because of Delilah, Solomon ruined by her wives, Tiger Woods by her women-and James Yap by Joy ba?
The final verse is perplexing and controversial:
27 Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things—
28 which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found.
29 See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.
The word –man – there is ADAM- and not ISH-which means MALE. ADAM means –humans (both men and women) So Solomon is saying that a HUMAN in a thousand –he found one upright-but this human is not a woman.
Parang Sexist di ba? I have read from Plato to the the Babylonian Talmud spoken by the Rabbis-the low regard for women.
But somewhere –Solomon extol teh virtue of women –as wife and mother in :
Proverbs 12:4 (An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, )
Proverbs 18:22 (He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.)
Proverbs 19:14 (House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.)
Proverbs 31:10 (An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.)
Solomon –I think is prophesying about someone else- the only man who is sinless and righteous and will not be entrapped by women. He will be forever faithful to her until the end of time.
But verse 29 points to the fact that all ADAM-human-is made upright-straight-like a ruler. He was the crown of his creation- the inheritor of his kingdom-his universe-there is no wayward thoughts in him.All are focused in following his will fromthe heart.
But then He began to think thoughts independent of the Lord-and in his heart and mind-he tries to escape His gaze-his presence-his witness-and so in his heart he first became a sinner- he tries to make a way a road in his heart how to think –differently from the one prepared for him.
And so his inventions –machinations-his excuses-get more and more complex. It has not stop in our time. Darwin,Marx,Freud,Sagan,Dawkins, are those who first philosphiz how toescape the gaze of the Eternal in our soul. And we cannot escape from His presence. Our hearts are now like a maze –a labyrinth which we will bring to our deaths.
And yet it cannot hide from the Lord who is always present.-Only one man is always open to that gaze-for He has gazed upon since Eternity.
The only righteous and sinless ADAM is also the only one among thousand who is upright and straight all the way.
And yet –he is taken away –killed-slained when he was just young .But this is not for his own righteous cause alone.It is His Father’s –it is for our sake-when we are powerless,defenseless and trapped by the cage , net of the devil-he set us free from our fetters and liberated us. By His death-we are made alive!
He cannot save all of us-but He can save all the Father has given him. He will remain faithful to His Father-and to his bride-the Church-until the end of time. No snares and nets of the temptress will hinder Him. He will prepare the kingdom for His father-so that we will again become upright-justified before His Father-who made us.
- To those in sin-like those who are self-righteous, impateient, easily offended by what others act or said because of him/her- We can now accept our imperfections and repent of it-and start to be forgiving of others.
- To those held by the power of sin-of a woman- Pray, repent, return to your wife and children. You may consult with the elders to help you in your struggle. You cannot do this alone-You need prayer support and guidance and accountability.
- To the young men and women-Do not think that this time of your life that you are being hindered and prevented to enjoy life by those older than you. We can see through you because we have been through it before. Allow us to help you. We only have but one lord to satisfy, glorify and please.
- To the leaders and would-be leaders of this church-Be aware of the plans and schemes of the devil-If he cannot trip and trapped you one way-he will try another. But always –we are more than conquerors and victors in Jesus-our Christ! We must always hide behind His Armor and Shield.
To end this let us read:
Read Philippians 3:12-14
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.