Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20031008.htm
ECCLESIASTES: PROVIDING A CORRECT WORLD VIEW FOR A LIFE OF MEANING
Part VII: Advice On Living This Life In View Of Man's Limitations To Find Meaning In It
C. Living With Our Imperfect Human Righteousness And Limited Wisdom
(Ecclesiastes 7:19-29 with 12:13-14)
Lesson: Though perfect righteousness and perfect wisdom would shield one from adversity in this life, in PRACTICE, man as a SINNER has access to NEITHER shield. Thus, since AT BEST he can only RESPECT and OBEY the Lord, God GRACIOUSLY holds him accountable ONLY for THESE duties.
- Though we as Christians know that righteousness and wisdom are invaluable for living with God's blessing, the fact remains we all sin (1 John 1:8-10) and we all fail to have perfect wisdom in all situations we face in life. As such, we are vulnerable to failure and trouble as a result of these shortcomings.
- Ecclesiastes 7:9-29 with 12:13-14 offers advice on living this life in view of our imperfect human righteousness and limited wisdom:
- Living With Imperfect Human Righteousness And Limited Wisdom, Eccles. 7:19-29; 12:13-14.
- Solomon discovered that man is on a hopeless treadmill of being locked into imperfect righteousness and limited wisdom, therefore certainly being unable to avoid adversity in his earthly life:
- Solomon noted that as no person is completely upright before God, and thus is vulnerable to adversity in divine discipline, wisdom will work to shield a man from some degree of adversity, Eccles. 7:19-20.
- Indeed, Solomon belabored the need for wisdom by dwelling on the unrighteousness we all express at various times in our lives, Ecclesiastes 7:21-22.
- Nevertheless, in thus seeking to gain wisdom to make up for his lack of righteousness, all to shield himself from adversity, Solomon found true wisdom is actually far beyond any mortal human being, meaning even depending on wisdom to be of limited practical value in shielding one's self from adversity in this life, Ecclesiastes 7:23-24.
- Indeed, while searching for wisdom in life, Solomon claimed that only those who pleased the Lord in righteousness escaped the folly of wisdom's lack (here personified as Lady Folly), 7:25-26.
- However, this fact means all human beings face a vain cycle of certain adversity: though righteousness and wisdom help shield from adversity, all humans (both men and women) lack perfect righteousness and pure wisdom, so they all walk the futile treadmill of facing certain adversity, Eccles, 7:27-28. [Solomon used a kind of numerical proverb format in verse 28b,c to show all people (men or women) lack enough wisdom and righteousness to avoid adversity, Bible Knowledge Com., O.T., p. 995-996.
- Solomon was quick not to blame God for this woeful state of affairs: God had made man upright, but man had gone in search of many errant schemes, so the blame for man's problems was his alone, 7:29.
- Well, in view of man's innately hopeless lack of adequate righteousness and wisdom to avoid adversity in this life, Solomon revealed God graciously holds us eternally responsible only to respect and obey Him:
- Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 is the summary of the book, including the Ecclesiastes 7:19-29 just viewed.
- In view of our inability to shield ourselves adequately from adversity due to our innate lack of perfect righteousness and wisdom, a state of affairs that GOD keenly perceives in us, Solomon revealed God GRACIOUSLY holds us accountable only to respect and to heed Him, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.
- Note how well this conclusion fits into the New Testament's revelation of God on these very subjects:
- Paul revealed that as we all come short of God's glory and perfect wisdom (cf. Rom. 3:23; 3:17 with Prov. 1:7), God graciously imputes His OWN righteousness to us by faith in Christ, Rom. 3:23-27.
- Then, even as Christians who still SIN and thus have inadequate righteousness and wisdom to avoid this life's adversities (1 John 1:8-2:2), we must not lean on our own righteousness or wisdom, but rather trust God and obey His written Word as our key goal in life, Prov. 3:5-6; 2 Tim. 3:15-17.
Application: Applied to the current dispensation, (1) we must believe in Christ for salvation as we can not please God in our own best righteousness, Rom. 3:23; 3:24-26. (2) As Christians, we dare not seek to attain or rely on our OWN imperfect wisdom, but trust God with all our hearts and obey His Word, cf. Prov. 3:5-6; 2 Tim. 3:15-17. (3) We will give an account to God in eternity for doing THESE things.