The Meaningless & Mundane — Misdirection — Ecclesiastes 2.12b-26…Handout

All of us have made missteps and followed the path of Misdirection. How do we avoid making foolish mistakes? ___________ Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others. ~Otto von Bismarck. But seriously, How do we avoid mistakes is it even possible? Yes / No. Soly the Wise shares four insights Misdirection: Process, Think, ________, Realize.

1) Process_______ (2:12b-14a) How do you respond to advice? Passive / Ambivalent / Aggressive._________ is doing the same thing, over and over again, expecting different results. Proverbs 1:5~Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, (ESV) Wise people do their homework. 

2) Think Present to_______ (2:14b-17) Don’t let your past own you! We are to give our whole lives to God and go ever forward, building our future as we go. Take retirement. When we retire we don’t just stop living, working, or doing, rather we retire from one thing to a new thing. Every one of us needs a purpose. Every person needs to feel valued and appreciated. (Genesis 2:15) Do you wonder about your purpose? Yes / No. Soly says Ecclesiastes 2:14b-15~…I perceived the same event happens to all of them…What happens to the fool will happen to me also…(ESV) Life without God is squandered on vanity. Narcissism—excessive personal interest is based on the___self’s. Self-love, self-regard, and self-admiration. All of are synonyms of? ______. We brought nothing in, take nothing out of this world. (1 

Timothy 6:7) However, someone can remove all of the emptiness found in our world. Do you know what, or who that is?_____, through a personal relationship with Jesus. Psalm 111:10~The fear (יִרְאָה yir’â) of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; (NIV) (יִרְאָה yir’â) means awe, reverence, & submission, all at once. Seek God, & His wisdom, having godly wisdom makes all the difference.

3) Consider What You_______ (2:18-23) Do you ever take note of all your stuff and get frustrated with having too much stuff? Yes / No. No matter what we achieve in our lives, build, amass, invest, each one of us is forced to leave it all to someone else. Go look at the parable of the rich farmer in Luke 12:16-20. Like the farmer, many have an abundance of worldly wisdom, but God calls them a fool. Why? ________________ We will leave everything behind. Don’t misunderstand, we’re to leave our children an inheritance. (Proverbs 13:22) Do you worry over stuff? Yes / No. It can even cause insomnia.  

4) Realize Everything’s A____ (2:24-26) We should enjoy the fruits of our labor because it’s a gift from God.  (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25) We can only truly enjoy what we have been given if we view each of them as gifts from God. James 1:17~Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. (NLT) It is not enough to possess stuff. We must also possess the wisdom and knowledge to enjoy them. Wisdom is the application of knowledge. While knowledge is understanding the process. Only God gives true wisdom and knowledge. An unsaved person may accumulate possessions, but they will not be able to truly enjoy them, apart from God. 


Own The Vision

When we read the Old Testament prophets, they generally put the people on trial. No, they don’t parade one after another through the witness box, rather they hold a trial for the nation and speak to the nation as though they are an individual. Knowing and understanding this helps us process and receive the message God is sharing. List as Hosea does this in Hosea 4:1~Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; (ESV) 

This is a reflection of what God said in the second giving of the law where Ole Mo gathers the people and tells them what God expects of them. Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Listen oh Israel, God is one. Jesus will acknowledge the most important Torah command in Matthew 22:36-38 a passage known as the Shema. In Hebrew it means to hear, listen. So, as Hosea begins his prophecy in chapter 4 He begins with the famous beginning, hear or Shema. Immediately reminding the Israelites of their foremost covenant responsibilities. What is that? Love God with your all; our heart, soul, and strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)   

Think about our set-up of The Office, earlier this week on Monday and Tuesday. A prophet is first chosen by God. Then placed in the business of truth-telling. They are married to the prophecy and now we see why we begin with Hosea, who is chosen to marry his own prophetic whore, he is married to the message, a living symbol of Israel. Deuteronomy 6:8~Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. (NIV) Israel has not done this. Instead, listen to Hosea 4:8~They feed on the sin of my people; they are greedy for their iniquity (ESV)

Listen to the charge. Hosea 4:2-3~there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore, the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts…and the birds…and even the fish…(ESV) Hosea says all this cussing, lying, killing, theft, and loose sex has brought us near to sheer anarchy. As a nation, American feels like we are on the precious, just as guilty as Israel, for moving away from God’s covenant. Understand this is a national catastrophe. 

Saint of God it is time we took personal responsibility for our nation. It is time we turn to God and weep. Crying out for forgiveness in our lives and in our nation. The crux of downfall centers on the lack of knowledge of God. Hosea 4:6~My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (ESV) In the Western world today, we tend to define knowledge as something comprehended by the mind, but in Hebrew, the thought is much more comprehensive. Rather than a function of the mind, it was the reflex of the total person and their response to God, His revelation of Himself in both the law and history and also His prophetic word.   

We need to reorient our lives, both individually and collectively as a nation back to God. Yes, resoundingly yes, we need a personal revival that catches our nation ablaze. You say, well how do we do that? By turning to God. 2 Chronicles 7:14~Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. (NLT) Stop worrying about politics, news, and vaccines, and seek the Lord God Almighty with your everything.

Here is what I know God wants us to do, take a stand. Saint of God, it’s time to stand in the gap for our nation, for our state, for our city, for our community, for our families. It is time to stand in the gap and cry out to God. Elijah took a stand and called fire down. Daniel took a stand and kept on praying, lions be damned. Ole Mo made a stand in Numbers 11:15~If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery! (NLT) As you head out into the wide world about you, judgment day is coming, so take this grand opportunity to share the hope of Jesus Christ. Why not be like one of the 70 elders in Numbers 11, and stand in the gap.

Today, how about a brief history lesson. After all, we don’t want to be one of those doomed to repeat (George Santayana). No one has ever enjoyed saying that middle school was the best 5 years of their life. Did you know that Hosea is written around 750 BC? Yep, trouble is already brewing and almost at the door. The Assyrian Empire is out conquering kingdoms and armies all across the ancient Near East. Let’s catch the lay of the land. Sorry, I just can’t get away from this fishing stuff. 

Working through the Old Testament chronologically, we discover Hosea shares what is to come, and then Daniel will chronicle these events several centuries later after Judah falls. Just like Jonah tells Assyria to turn or burn, Nahum shows what happens after the revival ends and people return to wickedness. Hosea says this is what is about to happen, first in Israel and Ezekiel will cover Judah.

Like his contemporary Amos, Hosea takes place about a decade before Israel’s first deportation. God says to Israel, you have played the whore and punishment is being levied to reconcile your account. Well, Israel’s history reveals a time when Baal worship is alive and well, the nation is staunchly divided after Solomon. When the kingdom is divided in two, creating a northern kingdom, Israel, and southern kingdom, Judah. Israel, as the north is known, will have 19 consecutive wicked kings. While the south will have 19 kings and 1 queen, Athaliah, and 8 of these kings will be good. So, the South is not judged as harshly as the North. 

In 2 Kings 17, we read of Hoshea the last king in Israel who reigns for 9 years and was more wicked than all of his predecessors. So, God has Hosea hold court for the nation, and after the trial the sentencing of punishment, which is levied by the Assyrians. In his court proceedings, Hosea employs a common literary or rhetorical device used by prophets to frame the relationship between God and Israel. So, think of Israel as an individual, who is on trial for the sins of its many members. 

The example is of how Israel has played the whore, is fleshed out by Hosea’s own wife. As if taking an adulterer for a wife was not enough, in Hosea 3, God orders him to go buy her back. Hosea 3:2~So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver…(ESV) Such an act would bring an unbearable amount of social shame on Hosea. What to be a prophet? You better be called to this office. Only the prophets practiced such extremeness. When the people of God are tilted to one extreme, the prophet attempts to bring the community back into balance. 

Perhaps this is why you have been placed where you are in life, on the jobsite, or even within a friend group. Because God wants you to tilt things back to Him. You may not realize it, but you are a beacon of hope, in a hurting world, and God wants to utilize you to share His love. That’s right, your life can be leveraged for the work of the ministry that God has appointed you to. So, you are probably asking what is that work? And here is my response, pray about it and ask God to speak. Sit in silence and you will hear a familiar voice saying go here, say this, or do that. Before you even ask listen to the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah~Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you (it’s the Lord), saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (NIV) Pray first, then go be great for God.