We are going to end off this week by finishing chapter 7: Eccl 7:15-29
v15: Days of vanity: Solomon, who wrote this book from a confessional standpoint, is speaking about a time when he was not living for G-d.
- Perishes: This word can mean dies or suffers loss.
- Perishes in his righteousness: Often, people do the right thing (they’re behaving righteously) but they suffer loss/things don’t go well for them. Solomon, in his short sightedness, doesn’t see this from G-d’s vantage point – he has a wrong way of looking at it.
- Prolongs his life in his wickedness: From our standpoint this doesn’t make sense and may seem unfair – the righteous dying young and the wicked living to a ripe old age. We are living in a fallen world (a world of injustice and pain) that does not reflect the character of G-d (like it did before the fall – everything G-d made was good, was in order, reflected His character). This world is stained, corrupted and contaminated with sin. The only righteousness influence found in this world is found in the people G-d has redeemed through Messiah Yeshua.
v16: From Solomon’s humanistic viewpoint he says we don’t need to be overly spiritual. This is how many people think today.
- Destroy yourself: Become desolate. Many think that if we are too spiritual other people will not want to be around us. This is not the case. If we are spiritually sound (living in righteousness and demonstrating wisdom) we are going to be a catalyst for people to see, learn and implement what we are doing, people are going to want to be around us.
v17: Solomon realises that wickedness leads to death. We know that even a little bit of wickedness brings about great destruction (Song of Songs 2:15).
v18: Good that you grasp…do not remove your hand: When we’re holding on to good, we must not let go of it! Even in his futility Solomon understands that good is good and we want to be a part of it and not move away from it.
- He who fears G-d will escape them all: When we demonstrate the fear of G-d (putting Him first or making Him the priority of our lives) we will find truth, meaning, purpose etc (in the good and bad days – there is a proper response for every season we find ourselves in).
v19: Wisdom strengthens the wise: Someone who is wise utilizes wisdom in order to grow stronger, to increase. G-d wants us to increase and grow strong.
v20: This verse is often used in sharing the gospel. Everyone sins and needs G-d’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
- A just man: A perfect man (except for Yeshua, who is the only perfect man who has ever lived – 1 Peter 2:21-24).
v21: Do not take to heart everything people say: We do not need to know everything that people are saying about us. If they are unwilling to say it to our face treat it with a pinch of salt. If we take everything said to heart it can cause tension inside of us and can build up walls of separation between us and the person saying it.
v22: We are all guilty of saying things that we later regret.
v23: I will be wise: We cannot be wise in our own strength. Wisdom cannot be found in human experience or in education. The fear of the L-rd is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10). Ultimately true wisdom comes from G-d (Scripture, prayer, obedience to the Word of G-d etc). Solomon needs to still realize this.
v24: That which is far off: Wisdom is far off from us when we try to approach or pursue it apart from G-d.
v25: Applied my heart to know: He consciously took steps to search for or seek out wisdom.
- To know the wickedness of folly…foolishness and madness: This is where Solomon went wrong. Solomon wanted to experience everything, both the good and the bad. He thought he might even find wisdom in evil. But there is no wisdom in wickedness. In folly Solomon found vanity and futility.
v26: It is very rare in Biblical Hebrew to go from a past tense text into a present tense one. In this verse Solomon makes a significant change into the present tense.
- More bitter than death: When our agenda is set to experience or know all things (to know the consequences and reality of sin, the foolishness of folly, the madness of wickedness) we are going to find something worse than death.
- The woman: In Solomon’s writings he uses the term ‘woman’ as a literary tool to personify wisdom, but he also uses it to speak of something which is alluring, something which is tempting or desirable.
- Heart is snares and nets: Temptation in this world is prevalent. It seeks to trap and ensnare us.
- Fetters: Bonds – captures and keeps sinners in bondage.
- Escape: Flee. Those who are doing the will of G-d (pleasing to G-d) are going to flee or remove themselves from temptation.
v27: Here is what I have found: Solomon is calling us to pay attention. He has done what we shouldn’t do and now he shares with us the purpose of this book – ie we don’t need to go out on this journey of experiencing the world. Solomon did it and it was not the right or pleasant thing to do.
v28: One man among a thousand: It is very difficult to find a G-dly individual – someone who is going to take what Solomon has shared (the sum total of what he has learned) and trust him by applying it to his own life, therefore not making the same mistakes that Solomon made.
- A woman: Referring again to temptation. If we give in to temptation (ie sin), and we don’t flee from it, we are going to become weaker and weaker spiritually – to the point where doing the will of G-d (goodness) will not be found in us.
v29: This only I have found: This is what is important and what we need to know about.
- G-d made man upright: We are G-d’s workmanship (Eph 2:10) and His purpose is for man to be upright.
- They have sought out many schemes: Inventions, the technology of the world, what the world offers etc. G-d gives man wisdom and intelligence to do these things, but man puts emphasis on these things rather than on the truth of G-d.