November 8, 2018
“The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from on shepherd.” Ecclesiastes 12:11.
We hear about the wisdom of Solomon and most of us know about his riches. It would be easy to envy this man, but we also need to look at his life. Solomon had lived in a way that didn’t honor God. His younger years were spent amassing a fortune and collecting wives and concubines. His wisdom was widely known, but the adage “Penny wise, pound foolish” applies to him. In his later years he looked back and saw that there was no real pleasure in his life because of his worldly pursuits. His advice to the younger generation is clear: Don’t forget God. “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer you in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.” Ecclesiastes 11:9-10. Whether young or old, sin is never to be taken lightly. God doesn’t take it lightly. Sin will be judged whether you’re 20 years old or 80. Jesus paid the price for our salvation, but that doesn’t give anyone a free license to live a lifestyle which is opposed to God. If you’ve accepted Him for salvation then you need to strive to live according to His ways. When you repented and accepted His sacrifice for your salvation it meant that you changed your mind about sin. If you continue to take pleasure in things that are opposed to God then you haven’t repented. God will judge. God has never been silent about what He says is sin, and only His opinion matters. If you reject Him and embrace sin you’ll have eternity to regret your choice.
Solomon understood what it was like to be young, and wanted other young people to be wise in their choices. God had granted him wisdom, but he wasted it. Like every gift we receive from God we have the choice as to how we use it. Solomon was wise but made some very foolish mistakes. In looking back over his life he was able to clearly see where he went wrong. He forgot God. “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them” Ecclesiastes 12:1. Life experience can bring wisdom if we learn from our mistakes. As Solomon reflected back on his life he understood that the reason he made such awful mistakes was that he forgot his Creator. Isn’t that the problem that many young people have? Living to please God isn’t as important as chasing after the lusts of the flesh. Temptations will always be there, but if you forget your Creator then you’ll fall into sin. Solomon forgot God and the pleasures he embraced were empty. Unfortunately, many people who claim to have walked with Jesus for years also make grievous mistakes by following lust rather than following God. It took Solomon a lifetime to understand that he had lived his life without honoring God, but none of his worldly pursuits held any true pleasure. “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.” Ecclesiastes 12:8. Vanity is translated from the Hebrew word “hebel” meaning vapor or breath. James agreed with Solomon when he wrote about the daily choices we make. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. ” James 4:14-16. Our choices in life need to be God-centered; all else is vanity.
Wisdom is the gift that God gave to Solomon and Christians are also given gifts. “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1 Corinthians 12:8-11. These spiritual gifts are given in order that every Christian can contribute to the whole body of Christ. The gifts are varied and you probably have more than one gift. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” Ephesians 4:11-12. Have you discovered what gift, or gifts, you’ve been given? If you haven’t then maybe you’ve been wasting that gift like Solomon had wasted his wisdom for so many years. Maybe it’s time for you to discover your gift and start serving the Lord.
What’s the point of having Spiritual gifts? Is it so that we can brag to our friends or seem more spiritual than others? Absolutely not. The gifts are to be used to glorify God. If Christians act in a Godly manner toward each other, non-Christians will see something special about us and ask questions. This could be the trigger that brings a lost soul to Christ. If we nurture our spiritual gifts then the Spiritual fruit will follow. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25. It may take time to discover your gift. When a person first comes to Christ there are many changes that take place. New attitudes replace the old ones as the new babe in Christ grows and matures. The only way to come to a full understanding of how you need to change from worldly views to those of God is to study. A diligent study led by the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to the wonders of God’s riches. Applying the new understanding will bring changes that will amaze your family and friends. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15. The word “study” comes from the Greek word “spoudazo” and means “to give diligence to” If you’re diligent in studying Scripture and applying it to your life then you’ll walk closely with God. You won’t have to be ashamed of your attitudes or actions. If you see nothing wrong with getting angry or being sexually impure, then you’re not studying Scripture diligently. You’ll miss out on discovering the spiritual gift God wants to give you. One day you’ll look back with regret, just like Solomon.
Why should we study to do all things according to God’s will? Solomon summed it up. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastics 12:13-14. Nothing is hidden from God. He knows what you think and He knows what you do. You may try to hide something from a parent, spouse, or friend, but you cannot hide it from God. It’s God who we need to honor and please. To know how to please Him we study. It may surprise you to know that Christians will be judged. “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. Our sins are forgiven, but we will face Christ. When we stand before Him we’ll see the nail prints in His hands and know they are there because of His love for us. He gave His life freely for our salvation. Can’t you give yourself to Him as a living sacrifice? Study Scripture and pray so you’ll be led by the Holy Spirit to change your mind about sin and live your life to conform to God. Use the spiritual gifts to serve our Lord. This life is a vapor which will soon be over. On the eternal scale, only those things done for Christ will last. Christians have hope beyond this life. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” 1 Corinthians 15:19. We have eternal hope and our life on earth should reflect that hope. What have you done with the gifts He has given you? What have you done with the greatest gift of all…salvation through Jesus Christ.
The wise words of Scripture truly are goads prodding us to live a more Godly life. The Shepherd who gives those words is Jesus Christ. Study now…be diligent…dodon’t forget God.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at our Home Page under Newsletter Archives.
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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