Realities Self Must Face

While the sin nature in mankind is the foundational reason, most people stay aloof from God because they themselves want to be in charge. This includes many religious people along with some that say they are Christians. Yet, there are some stark facts each of us must face.
Realities Self Must Face
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2015 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

I would say most people want to be in charge, at least in charge of their own lives. This can sound good, even to those with “religion,” to be king of their own lives. King Solomon was actually in that position, and more so, since he reigned as king in Israel.

While he is remembered as, except for Jesus, “the wisest man in the Holy Bible,” he made some horrible blunders which introduced idolatry worship in Israel. That will be saved for another message at another time. For this message we want to see what he brings about in regard to

the realities self must face as seen in the book of Ecclesiastes, specifically 2:3-11 and 12:13-14.


I. Self As Center  2:3-8

“I searched in my heart how to cheer my flesh with wine, my heart yet guiding me with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what it was good for the sons of men that they should do under heaven all the days of their life. 4  I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards; 5  I made me gardens and parks, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit; 6  I made me pools of water, to water therefrom the forest where trees were reared; 7  I bought men-servants and maid-servants, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of herds and flocks, above all that were before me in Jerusalem; 8  I gathered me also silver and gold, and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I gat me men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, musical instruments, and that of all sorts.”

 

You might have heard or hopefully have read of the three points of temptation as mentioned in 1 John 2:16. Ecclesiastes 2:3 speaks of the lust of the flesh. Our flesh desires many things, food and drink being one of them. Food and drink generally is not evil in itself, but when we listen to our flesh and ignore God’s call to moderation then we sin in the realm of the lust of the flesh.

Now, if we count the pronouns “I” and “me” in verses 4 to 8 we will find eight or nine “I”s (depending upon how you look at the phrases) and five “me”s (or the terms “myself” or “for myself” in some newer translations). As you can see this, along with verse 3, indicates that in this point in his life Solomon was self-centered. That is not good. Verses 4 to 8 relate to the “lust of the eyes.”

What we need to be is God-centered. Figuratively speaking, the world does not revolve around us. We must make God the center of our life and conduct our lives according to His desires.

While hopefully no one reading this would acquire slaves, we might do the other things mentioned in verses 4 to 8, none of which are sinful activities in themselves. The problem is that if Solomon wanted to be happy and get true satisfaction then he should have gotten things, made things, and done planting for solely the glory of God.

 

II. Self In First Place   2:9-10

“So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. 10  And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced because of all my labor; and this was my portion from all my labor.”

 

Solomon sums up the previous verses with “So I was great, and increased . . .” He continues with comparing himself to those that were before him. This is an example of the pride of life. Gratifying the flesh and the eyes will lift us up in an ungodly way and encourage us to view ourselves better than others.

Instead of placing ourselves in first place, God must always be in first place. If the lust of the flesh or eyes does not destroy us, the pride of life will.

Stating “this was my portion” could mean {1} that all his possessions were his reward for all that he did. He gained things that would not last, and given the context his statement implies he had no satisfaction. His possessions being his only reward mirrors the statement by Christ that when the religious leaders of His day purposely did things publicly to be seen and be admired by others that that was the only reward they would get.


III. Self In The End   2:11

“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.”

 

Solomon realized that all that he had done and gained really did not really mean anything and had no lasting point to it. Keep that last phrase, “had no lasting point to it," in mind which will be explored further later. For now we will point out that the phrase is expressed by a number of examples throughout Ecclesiastes.

The same hold true for “vexation of spirit” with an example shown in verse 15 where he points out the fact that his pleasures, possessions, and pride of life will not matter because he would come to the same end (under the sun) as a fool: death. He also realizes in verse 19 he will leave it all behind when he dies and someone else will get his possessions. Along with other truths, Ecclesiastes affirms that the more we get the more our human nature will want more.

“Under the sun" is a key phrase of Ecclesiastes, being used twenty seven times, and is unique to the


book. It simply means here on earth. A distinction is made in the Holy Bible between general life on earth and life within the kingdom of God. There is indeed something better than life on earth.


IV. Self Surrendered   12:13-14

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

 

As mentioned in my apologetics index {2}, the book of Ecclesiastes is a classic example of the point that verses of the Holy Bible need to be understood in the context in which they are found, including the entire contents of the book they are in. A lot of damage, supposed contradictions, misunderstandings and more have been done by people who grab a verse or two out of context from Ecclesiastes which is a poetical work.

So when we get to the end of Ecclesiastes the foundational points are brought out and bring into the proper light its previous chapters. Without God, life on earth is vanity, vexation, empty of true satisfaction, and has no eternal profit. There is no point to anything. Now, if one wants a real blessing and a blessing for all eternity then they should focus on Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

First of all, “let us hear” about and from God. Fearing God is throughout much of the Holy Bible. We indeed need to give Him our highest reverence, so much so we obey Him. But even better than that is being truly committed to Him through Christ which establishes a love relationship between God and us. By the Holy Spirit Solomon points out that fearing God and obeying Him is the whole duty of man. When we establish a relationship with God through Jesus Christ that duty becomes an honor and blessing.

Consider well verse 14. As I read it I have to wonder how seared are some minds that think they can get away with rape, pillage, murder, adultery and other sins. There are times when I picture the last judgment in my mind. Among the billions standing before God there is a murderer, but also raised from the dead is his victim who then declares in front of Almighty God “this one killed me.” No secret will be kept secret.

When one truly comes to God through Christ, in confessing their sins to Him they are forgiven, completely forgiven by Him. That is a tremendous aspect of the grace of God, available to any and all who come to Him.

Another aspect of the grace of God is the God-given ability to do the right thing, the will of God. The grace of God that one receives when they truly come to Him through Jesus Christ brings true meaning and purpose in every day life. If we are fully committed to God through Christ we then will realize that while there is vanity and vexation “under the sun” our real citizenship is heaven (Philippians 3:20) and we will be with the Son for all eternity.

And the main reality is this: At some point we will all be surrendered to God. If we choose to remain king or queen over our own life and reject the King of the universe and His remedy for our sin we will still surrender to Him at death but that physical surrender will only secure our fate of damnation. However, if we surrender to Him now, we can have abundant life now and Eternal Life.

Notes:

{1} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

{2} Please click on the links at http://sapphirestreams.com/life/api.html#Ec3_18_21  .

This article was in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by September 30, 2015 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M375 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the 1769 Authorized Version with spelling of some words updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. An * next to the abbreviation for another translation or version indicates the same for the text presented.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.



Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Last updated on 07-07-2016 135 2

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  • nbillett  28-12-2016
    Our consolation on earth is to know and see that God loves us and cares for us and in spite of all, can over turn the situation of the oppressed.
    reply 0
  • realityspeaks  22-08-2015

    You've offered a thoughtful perspective on ways to encounter different situations

    reply 0
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