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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - July 25, 2007
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July 25, 2007

Ecclesiastes 5-8
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Ecclesiastes
Chapter 5
  1. Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.
  2. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
  3. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.
  4. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
  5. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
  6. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
  7. For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.
  8. If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.
  9. Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.
  10. He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
  11. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?
  12. The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
  13. There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.
  14. But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.
  15. As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.
  16. And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?
  17. All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.
  18. Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.
  19. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
  20. For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.


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Ecclesiastes
Chapter 6
  1. There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:
  2. A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.
  3. If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he.
  4. For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness.
  5. Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing: this hath more rest than the other.
  6. Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?
  7. All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.
  8. For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?
  9. Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
  10. That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.
  11. Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better?
  12. For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?


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Ecclesiastes
Chapter 7
  1. A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
  2. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
  3. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
  4. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
  5. It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
  6. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
  7. Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.
  8. Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
  9. Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
  10. Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
  11. Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.
  12. For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.
  13. Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?
  14. In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
  15. All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.
  16. Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?
  17. Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?
  18. It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.
  19. Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.
  20. For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
  21. Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
  22. For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
  23. All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.
  24. That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?
  25. I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:
  26. And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
  27. Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:
  28. Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.
  29. Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.


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Ecclesiastes
Chapter 8
  1. Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.
  2. I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.
  3. Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.
  4. Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?
  5. Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment.
  6. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.
  7. For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?
  8. There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
  9. All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.
  10. And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity.
  11. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
  12. Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:
  13. But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.
  14. There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.
  15. Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.
  16. When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)
  17. Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.


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Thought for the day:
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 There are several thoughts given at the beginning of Ecclesiastes 7 which we will look at today. Solomon opens in verse 1 with the statement,

"A good name is better than precious ointment."
This phrase seems to set the tone for the following verses. The idea here is that it is better to have your reputation and testimony in tact than to have all the wealth and pleasure that the world has to offer. The second phrase,
"and the day of death than the day of one's birth,"
probably carries a couple of meanings. Obviously, for the Christian the day of death brings about the beginning of an eternity in Heaven, which is far better. However, I think the main idea here is that when every baby is born there is a great sense of anticipation as to what that child will accomplish in his life. Academic, athletic, and career oriented goals are often established for the young person. He has the potential to achieve great things in his gifted areas. However, we all know that many people never live up to the potential that they were born with. Many parent's dreams at their child's birth have been dashed to pieces by the end of his life. Birth is not the great revealer of a man - death is. When a man passes away his life can be analyzed, not in terms of potential, but in terms of accomplishments. Thus, how you finish your life is of more importance than how you started your life. This idea is echoed in verse 8, which states,
"Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit."
Anybody can start something, but only those with character can finish it. A man can begin a project filled with a spirit of pride and self-confidence, but eventually give up when things don't progress as he had hoped. In contrast, the man who's spirit is not filled with arrogance, but rather with a sense of patience, and who is willing to stick with the project no matter how slow and difficult the path may be, is the one who is better off.

 Many of the next few verses deal with the specifics of this concept. Men tend to want an easy life. They want to have laughter and pleasure. They want whatever they attempt to do to work out easily and quickly for them so that they can have plenty of time to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Yet it is rare that this happens. Life is hard, and opposition is abundant. When confronted with difficulty, many simply give up and look for another pathway that is less strenuous. Their lives may be easier, but their character is not developed and they are barren in their service to the Lord. Solomon reminds us,

"it is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart" (2).
Sorrows produce strength in a man's life. They aren't fun, but the are necessary. The man who does everything in his power to avoid heartaches never grows to the place where he can be used of God effectively. Solomon reminds all of us that someday we will not be going to the house of mourning to grieve, but rather others will be going there to grieve for us. Wise men realize this, because they have not spent their life escaping reality through pleasure, and they prepare themselves appropriately.

 The lessons continue in the following verses. Wise people understand sorrow (3) and listen to the rebukes of others (5), regardless of how unpleasant they may be. They keep their spirits under control (9) even when problems arise. The foolish person does not, but rather spends his life in pursuit of mirth, song, and good times (4-6). Rather than learning from difficulties, he simply gets angry at them (9). The end result is that he avoids hardship, and ultimately fails to fulfill God's plan for his life.

 Potential alone will produce nothing. Potential coupled with hard work, a willingness to suffer, and a realization that my life is short and that I need to finish what God has placed me here to do will accomplish great things for eternity.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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(412)822-7255
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