by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Psalms 50

 

I.         Have you given a gift that wasn’t appreciated?

            A.        “That’s nice, but it wasn’t what I hoped to receive.”

            B.        “Thanks, but it would have been better if you also included ...”

            C.        Or worse, it just sits there, not being used

            D.        It’s frustrating to the giver.

            E.        But consider the world from God’s point of view

II.        Dreams - Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

            A.        When we go before God, we are there to worship and learn - Ecclesiastes 5:1

                        1.         Fools think they are doing God a favor by offering sacrifices to Him.

                        2.         Somehow they believe that God needs their worship

                                    a.         If God were hungry, He would not tell us - Psalms 50:12-15

                                    b.         We are not here so that God owes us favors

            B.        Too often people make requests of God without much thought - Ecclesiastes 5:2

                        1.         If you needed to ask a favor of the head of your company, or the president of the country, how much thought would you put into what you are asking for?

                        2.         We need to remember our place in the universe. God is not there to cater to our wishes

            C.        You gain your dreams through effort - Ecclesiastes 5:3

                        1.         Consider the teen who is given everything versus the one who must work and save to gain what he wants. One is spoiled and the other industrious.

                        2.         Some treat God like a parent whom if they hound Him enough will give whatever is asked.

                        3.         Others try to bargain with God by promising to do something in exchange for a granted request - Ecclesiastes 5:4-5

                                    a.         God warns that you must complete what you promised

                                    b.         You are better off not vowing something than vowing and no completing the vow

                                                (1)       Some take this to the extreme to think that not fulfilling a vow becomes an unforgivable sin.

                                                (2)       God is not happy with broken promises. There will be consequences, but it doesn’t mean that this sin can’t be forgiven as any other sin.

                                    c.         God doesn’t want excuses either, such as saying the promise was a mistake - Ecclesiastes 5:6

            D.        There are endless dreams and talk is cheap - Ecclesiastes 5:7

                        1.         So many spend their time thinking that accomplishing a dream will make them happy, but there always more dreams

                        2.         Others talk about doing something, but it never gets beyond talk

                        3.         The real important thing is to truly fear God because that is where true happiness lies

III.       Social Warriors - Ecclesiastes 5:8-9

            A.        Some think society must be perfect for there to be happiness

            B.        But where people are involved, there will always be problems because people sin

            C.        All governments contain corruption because bureaucracy is always large

            D.        What should keep leadership in check is to remember that those at the top are dependent on those at the bottom of the social ladder.

IV.      Money - Ecclesiastes 5:10-17

            A.        Here is where most people think happiness can be found

            B.        Pursuing wealth will not bring happiness because there is no upper bound - Ecclesiastes 5:10

            C.        The more you make, the greater your expenses, so your actual wealth tends to remain roughly the same. All you can do is look at the money as it goes in one door and out the other - Ecclesiastes 5:11

            D.        Increased wealth comes with increased worry and stress - Ecclesiastes 5:12

                        1.         Having work that you enjoy, whether you make a lot or a little allows you to sleep contentedly

                        2.         But consuming too much ruins a person’s sleep. Like trying to sleep after eating a huge feast. It seems great at the moment, but you are miserable afterward.

            E.        Some hoard wealth. They accumulate, but never spend - Ecclesiastes 5:13

                        1.         The extreme is the person who won’t even purchase necessities to survive

            F.        Others build wealth, only to lose it suddenly, leaving nothing even to pass on to his children - Ecclesiastes 5:14

            G.        Core point: You come into this world with nothing and leave with nothing - Ecclesiastes 5:15

            H.        You can’t take your wealth with you when you die - Ecclesiastes 5:16

                        1.         You gain no advantage. You only have the hard work

            I.         You scrimp and save to your own disadvantage and harm - Ecclesiastes 5:17

V.        True happiness - Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

            A.        Have food and drink

            B.        Enjoy your work because it isn’t that long

            C.        This is God reward to men

            D.        If you do have wealth, God gives them to be used. This is a gift from God.

            E.        Then we don’t focus on hardships or the length of life because we are busy

VI.      The Problem of Discontent - Ecclesiastes 6:1-8

            A.        Gaining wealth, but not being able to enjoy them - Ecclesiastes 6:1

                        1.         For all the reasons listed back in chapter 5

            B.        Having children, but not having their respect - Ecclesiastes 6:2-5

                        1.         Some see children as burdens, so they resent this gift from God - Psalms 127:3-5

                        2.         A stillborn child is better off

            C.        Living a very long life and not enjoying the good things you have - Ecclesiastes 6:6-7

                        1.         He works because of his desires, but he doesn’t find satisfaction

            D.        What advantage does the wise have over the fool? - Ecclesiastes 6:8

                        1.         He knows to appreciate what he has. He doesn’t clamber for more

            E.        What advantage does the poor man have?

                        1.         Again, he appreciates what he has, even if it is little

VII.     Back to the dreams - Ecclesiastes 6:9-12

            A.        What you have is better that what you want - Ecclesiastes 6:9

            B.        You can’t change the past - Ecclesiastes 6:10

            C.        You can’t argue with God about your position in life

            D.        Words won’t change your life - Ecclesiastes 6:11

            E.        Do we really know what is best for us when our lives are so short? - Ecclesiastes 6:12

            F.        Do we really know what the future holds?

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