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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Having an Attitude of Solitude - Ecclesiastes 5

Text:Ecclesiastes 5:1-7
Title: Having an Attitude of Solitude

In our last study, we finished the fourth chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes. We began studying Solomon’s examination of life and all that happens on the earth. Chapters 4-11 Solomon goes all over the city of Jerusalem and identifies all of these problems that are going. Why is this happening? Why is this vanity? Why do I not understand,” Solomon expresses. Our last study began with Solomon’s examination of the politics and government, then the marketplace and roadsides, and finally the palace grounds. Last week there were three groups identified in the text, the suffering person, the single person, the shrinking popular person.

A. First, we discussed the suffering person (v.4:1-3) and how he or she are being oppressed in their lives by higher authorities and people who have more power, yet they cry out and have “no comforter.”

B. Secondly, we discussed the single person (v.4:4-12) and how he or she is envious over what other people have and their lives. Also we read that they are and that they single person is lazy and lonely because they choose to be single to avoid responsibility and work hard. Yet Solomon gives a major exhortation and demonstration about the necessity of a valuable friend and or significant other!

C. Thirdly, we discussed the last few verses of chapter 4 about the shrinking popularity of a person (v.4:13-16) and how this person loses their fame over time because it gets replaced by someone else. All three categories of these types of people Solomon examined all say, “Help, I need somebody.” The suffering person cries, “Help I need a comforter.” The single person pleads, “Help I need partner.” The shrinking popular person begs, “Help, I need redeemer.” In Ecclesiastes 5, Solomon continues his tour around Jerusalem and stops by the Temple. He sees all kinds of false prayers and promises being spoken to God in the most holy place. We will read that there are people out there who think they have this amazing relationship with God because of all their prayers and endless promises they make to the Lord. However, we know that this is not true. We will understand that God is calling us to do the opposite. He wants us to be quiet, listen up, and take in all that His word says so we can properly pray and gradually grow to our Lord Jesus Christ.

There are two sections this study can be divided into as we are going to power point are way through in the text:
I. Empty Prayer (v.5:1-3)
II. Empty Promises (v.5:4-7)

I. Empty Prayer.
(v.5:1) – Starts out by stopping by the temple and expounding on some wisdom about prayer. He tells us how to have the right attitude and the right action when it comes to worshiping the Lord in His holy Temple.

1.“Walk prudently” when you go to the house of God.

A. Leviticus 10:3 the Lord declares, “Those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.”

2. “Draw near to hear” when you go to the house of God.

A. James 1:19 says, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

3. “Do not cast the sacrifice of fools” when you go to the house of God.

A. Proverbs 15:8 proclaims, “He that turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.”

(v.5:2) – Now Solomon teaches us not to be like the hypocrites who pray repetitiously and thoughtlessly.

4. “Do not be rash and hastily” when you go to the house of God

A. Matthew 6:5-7 instructs, “"And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who [is] in the secret [place]; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen [do]. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

(v.5:3) – Here Solomon says, “dreams come and go in life, and the more you chatter about those dreams the more senseless you sound.”

The three principles to prayer.

1. Reverence. A feeling of deep respect and awe that believers are to show toward God.

A. Leviticus 19:30 commands, “'You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I [am] the LORD.”

B. Psalm 89:7 calls, “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, And to be held in reverence by all [those] around Him.”

2. Intimacy - A deep and loving relationship with a token of familiarity and closeness with God.

A. Psalm 63:1-3 says, “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your loving kindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.”

3. Fervency - A passionate and powerful dedication of intensity for God.

A. James 5:16 states, “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

B. Nehemiah 1:11 prays, “O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Solomon’s example of prayer is 2 Chronicles 6.

II. Empty Promises.
(5:4) – First Solomon talks about empty prayers in the Temple. He sees the hypocrites say their prayers and the religious speak their words. All of their words are coming from their head, not their heart, and they are more worried about their speech and how they sound, rather than the condition of their soul. Now moving along, he see these people in the Temple making vows and promises to God that have no worth. Here, Solomon wisely gives us advice to keep your vows to God.

1. “Do not delay to pay it” when you make a promise to God.

A. Numbers 30:2 defines, “If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.”

2. “Pay what you have vowed, better not to vow than to vow and not pay” when you make a promise to God.

A. Deuteronomy 23:21-23 explains, “"When you make a vow to the LORD your God, you shall not delay to pay it; for the LORD your God will surely require it of you, and it would be sin to you. But if you abstain from vowing, it shall not be sin to you. That which has gone from your lips you shall keep and perform, for you voluntarily vowed to the LORD your God what you have promised with your mouth.” The Fear of the Lord. Solomon now provides us the application. Do not say things that will make you sin by making false promise. When you make a false promise, you become a liar.

In verse 6 and 7, Solomon wraps things up. He lays out the cold hard facts, that there are no excuses. Empty prayers and empty promises are foolishness to God, and them make you look and sound like a fool. “But fear God.” This is the key to having a true redeeming relationship with God.

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