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Focusing Well

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until we rest in You.”                              -Saint Augustine, 378 AD

Today’s message could have been called “Finishing Well, Part 2. But to finish well, we have to focus well, and that is what Solomon emphasizes today.

Read Ecclesiastes 7:15-29          

“The end of the matter: all has been heard. Fear (revere) God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed to judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”     -Ecc. 12:13-14

Three components of focusing well so you can finish well:

Revere God and stay balanced                                                              V. 15-19

The legalism of the Pharisees made them judgmental of others that didn’t measure up to their extra-biblical expectations, and hypocritical because they themselves didn’t measure up to their own expectations.   

The licentious person rejects the truth of the Bible, thinking the rules of God’s “owner’s manual” don’t apply to them. They are daring God to judge them.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.                                                                                                           -Proverbs 14:12   

Solomon says the balanced person avoids both extremes – being a legalistic person and being a licentious person. Both extremes leave God out and put the emphasis on us instead.

“Blessed are the balanced.”       -Warren Wiersbe

Understand mankind’s predisposition to sin                                                V. 20-26

Our predisposition to sin leads us to speech sins                                        V. 21-22

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  -Prov. 15:1

Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.                     -James 1:19b

Our predisposition to sin leads us to smug intellectual pride                  V. 23-25

In pride we think we can figure out everything that God is doing here under the sun – we most certainly cannot! But it didn’t keep Solomon from trying!  

And He said to man, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.”                  -Job 28:28

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.                                                                                                  -Deuteronomy 29:29

Our predisposition to sin makes us vulnerable to sexual sins                  V. 26

Keep (Guard) your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”                                                                                                                      -Proverbs 4:23

Stay humble and pursue God’s plan                                                                V. 27-29

I think when you combine verses 28—29, Solomon is poetically pointing us toward faith in God and His coming Messiah – the 1 man who will stand perfectly righteous.

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but THERE IS A FRIEND who sticks closer than a brother.                      -Proverbs 18:24

Who has ascended to Heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name? Surely you know?                          -Proverbs 30:4

Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss (Worship) the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.                -Psalm 2:11-12

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.                                                                                                                                   -Job 19:25-26

The key to finishing well is there in verse 29 – with faith in God pursue what He wants for your life as revealed in the Bible and resist the sinful schemes you and others come up with to do it your way!