Ephesians 4:7-16;Wisdom’s mysteries – be in awe.
length: 86:25 - taught on Aug, 8 2021
Sunday August 8,2021
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.
In his commentary on Ephesians, G. G. Findlay writes:
“He gives out of the spoil of His war with evil - gives what He receives. Yet He gives not as He receives. Everything laid in His hands is changed by their touch. Publicans and Pharisees become apostles. Magdalenes are made queens and mothers in His Israel. From the dregs of our streets He raises up a host of sons to Abraham. From the ranks is skepticism and anti-Christian hate the Lord Christ wins new champions and captains for His cause. He coins earth’s basest metal into heaven’s fine gold. He takes weak things of the earth and foolish, to strike the mightiest blows of battle.” [G. G. Findlay, The Epistle to the Ephesians]
From the mountain top of Christ’s victory, we praise Him in awe and are very happy, but we must remember to descend the mountain into the valley of everyday life, where we must be wise in the things “under the sun” if we are going to “strike the mightiest blows of battle.”
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.
8 O taste and see that the Lord is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
9 O fear the Lord, you His saints;
For to those who fear Him, there is no want.
10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.
11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves length of days that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil, and do good;
Seek peace, and pursue it.
Proverbs: Money …
Ill-gotten is bad (8)
A protection (2)
Diligence gets it
Real wealth is divine blessing (7)
Does not deliver from wrath
Be gracious/give to poor (8)
Don’t trust in it (6)
Wisdom is better
Adds friends (2)
Don’t hasten for it (2)
The proverbs that I found to deal with wealth are listed below.
Ill-gotten gains do not profit,
But righteousness delivers from death.
Poor is he who works with a negligent hand,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
The rich man's wealth is his fortress,
The ruin of the poor is their poverty.
It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich,
And He adds no sorrow to it.
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight.
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.
The righteousness of the upright will deliver them,
But the treacherous will be caught by their own greed.
He who is surety for a stranger will surely suffer for it,
But he who hates going surety is safe.
A gracious woman attains honor,
And violent men attain riches.
There is one who scatters, yet increases all the more,
And there is one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want.
The generous man will be prosperous,
And he who waters will himself be watered.
26 He who withholds grain, the people will curse him,
But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.
He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.
There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing;
Another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth.
8 The ransom of a man's life is his riches,
But the poor hears no rebuke.
Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles,
But the one who gathers by labor increases it.
Much wealth is in the house of the righteous,
But trouble is in the income of the wicked.
Better is a little with the fear of the Lord,
Than great treasure and turmoil with it.
17 Better is a dish of vegetables where love is,
Than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
Better is a little with righteousness
Than great income with injustice.
A just balance and scales belong to the Lord;
All the weights of the bag are His concern.
How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is to be chosen above silver.
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the Lord tests hearts.
A rich man's wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall in his own imagination.
A man's gift makes room for him,
And brings him before great men.
Wealth adds many friends,
But a poor man is separated from his friend.
Many will entreat the favor of a generous man,
And every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.
7 All the brothers of a poor man hate him;
How much more do his friends go far from him!
He pursues them with words, but they are gone.
He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord,
And He will repay him for his good deed.
Differing weights and differing measures,
Both of them are abominable to the Lord.
"Bad, bad," says the buyer;
But when he goes his way, then he boasts.
15 There is gold, and an abundance of jewels;
But the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing.
Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man,
But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.
Differing weights are an abomination to the Lord,
And a false scale is not good.
He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be answered.
He who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.
There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man swallows it up.
A good name is to be more desired than great riches,
Favor is better than silver and gold.
2 The rich and the poor have a common bond,
The Lord is the maker of them all.
The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord
Are riches, honor and life.
The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender's slave.
He who is generous will be blessed,
For he gives some of his food to the poor.
He who oppresses the poor to make much for himself
Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
Do not rob the poor because he is poor,
Or crush the afflicted at the gate;
23 For the Lord will plead their case,
And take the life of those who rob them.
Do not be among those who give pledges,
Among those who become sureties for debts.
27 If you have nothing with which to pay,
Why should he take your bed from under you?
28 Do not move the ancient boundary
Which your fathers have set.
Do not weary yourself to gain wealth,
Cease from your consideration of it.
5 When you set your eyes on it, it is gone.
For wealth certainly makes itself wings,
Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.
Like clouds and wind without rain
Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.
Have you found honey?
Eat only what you need,
Lest you have it in excess and vomit it.
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
22 For you will heap burning coals on his head,
And the Lord will reward you.
Know well the condition of your flocks,
And pay attention to your herds;
24 For riches are not forever,
Nor does a crown endure to all generations.
Better is the poor who walks in his integrity,
Than he who is crooked though he be rich.
He who increases his wealth by interest and usury,
Gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor.
The rich man is wise in his own eyes,
But the poor who has understanding sees through him.
A faithful man will abound with blessings,
But he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.
A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth,
And does not know that want will come upon him.
He who gives to the poor will never want,
But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.
It may seem that those who attained wealth deceitfully or illegally are doing just fine. We will find lazy people who are wealthy. We will see sometimes that wealth does deliver from wrath. Greedy and stingy, they seem to be happy. They trust in it and it seems to work. They have a lot of friends, fulfilling the proverb. They hasten for it and seem to attain life. As we have been studying, not everything is cut and dry in God’s world, things are often confusing and perplexing, and there are a lot of things that we don’t know and other things we cannot control.
“God’s hand conducted life’s opera but from a score which even the wisest could not read.” [David Hubbard, The Preacher’s Commentary, Ecclesiastes / Song of Solomon, p. 96]
It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with. 14 I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.
The Preacher would have appreciated the title of the play, “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off.”
Attempting to unravel the wrong things, things that by faith we leave to God alone, becomes grief and pain.
Who is the man who fears the Lord?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
13 His soul will abide in prosperity,
And his descendants will inherit the land.
14 The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him [so I can know His secrets],
And He will make them know His covenant.
15 My eyes are continually toward the Lord,
For He will pluck my feet out of the net.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”
We cannot discern everything in God’s world. Some wise godly man dies young, others suffer, others prosper. Some who have wealth are miserable while their slave farm workers are happy. Some are happy in their marriage and simple life and some are not; and others, like Solomon, think happiness is in multiple women, lots of book knowledge, lots of possessions that others envy, lots of building projects, and lots of leisure and wine. All die and no one remembers them.
The believer should know better. Happiness is in the living knowledge of the Lord, walking with Him. God will take care of His world.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t care. But we limit ourselves to what God tells us to do and say: that is wisdom. To go farther than we should will only end in disillusion.
"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher,
"Vanity of vanities! All is vanity."
3 What advantage does man have in all his work
Which he does under the sun?
4 A generation goes and a generation comes,
But the earth remains forever.
“Vanity” (hebel) stands more for human inability to grasp the meaning of God’s way than for an ultimate emptiness in life.
When we serve God and one another, we must be careful not to attempt to figure out the details of result, or reward, or recognition, or even the outcome. Things don’t always work out the way we think they should, after we are sure we have served God. When Solomon has this thought, he has forgotten that God is close to us and working with us, accomplishing all His good pleasure.