Ecc 5:4-7                  Vows and Fools                                         11/14/99                    

Intro:    “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem”

 

 #1.      Is God Pleased With Fools ?       (Ecc 4:13, Prov 17:28)        

 

 

 

·        Pay your vows unto God             (Ecc 5:4-5, Deut 23:21-23)

 

 

 

·        Let your Yea be yea, and your Nay, nay           (Mat 5:37, 12:36-37)

 

 

 

 #2.      Is God Pleased With Vows ?                  

 

 

 

·        Is the marriage vow pleasing to God ?             (Eph 5:22-33)

 

 

 

 

 #3.      Is God Pleased With Us ?                       

 

 

 

·        Gratitude              (Ps 116:12-19)

 

 

 

 

                        Eccl 5:4-5                 Vows and Fools                                         11/14/99                    

Have you ever heard a Sermon on Ecclesiastes ? Not many, I guess. Please turn with me to the Scroll, written by Solomon, that is called Ecclesiastes. You find it right after Psalm and Proverbs.

The beginning of Ecclesiastes, chapter 1, verse 1, announces who the author is:

            “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem”.

These words of the introduction are not just historical information, about a king who lived in the year 960 BC.       These words are of value throughout time and eternity.

            Who today is really the Preacher who is preaching to us, and simultaneously He is the Son of David and He is King in Jerusalem, not the Jerusalem which now is, but the Jerusalem which is above. Who is that Person ? Well,,,,It is none else than the Lord Jesus Christ, and it was His Holy Spirit which moved the hands of Solomon to write these words for all posterity.

            “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”.

Today, we want to focus on a few verses in chapter 5. Please turn with me to Eccl 5:1, and we are going to answer the question:

#1.       Is God Pleased With Fools ?                   Is that really a question ?

You can already guess the answer. Of course, God is not pleased with fools. But rarely have you seen God’s extreme displeasure with fools as here in Ecclesiastes chapter 5, beginning at verse 1.

Ecc 5:1Keep 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.

 

This first verse sets the stage.                                 Look at the three parts of this verse:

1.         “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God”.

When you search out the expression: ”Keep thy foot” you find that this first part of Ecc 5:1 may be paraphrased as:  “When you go to worship in the house of God, guard your feet and draw near with a reverential spirit and with the fear of God”; better not to go at all than to go in a rebellious spirit.

2.         “Be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools.” Or paraphrased: “Be teachable and be ready to learn and obey, rather than to be the critic and to know it all; then you are a fool”.

            What is the definition of a fool here in Ecclesiastes ? It is the Heb. word “kesil”. The most illustrative example of this  particular Hebrew word is used in the previous chapter, in Eccl 4:13.

Ec 4:13 ¶ Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.

 

In the Hebrew the word “foolish” is actually a noun. It is the same word “fool” that is used in Eccl 5:1

Now you can see the meaning of the word “kesil” or “fool” that is used here. It is the self-confident, arrogant fool, who knows it all, like the old king who will no more be admonished. This fool is a wicked fool, an unsaved self-righteous person.

You see that this is a fool who is going to the Temple to bring a sacrifice. An Israelite in the flesh, but uncircumcised in the heart. The principle that not everyone in the Church is saved, already existed 3000 years ago, and even earlier than that.         Now look at the third part of verse 1:

3.         “They consider not that they do evil”.

God says in Prov 21 and 28 that even the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to God. Even his prayer shall be abomination to God. Therefore V.1 ends w: “They consider not that they do evil”.

            Now let us continue in Eccl 5, verse 2.

Ec 5:2  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.

 

            You can see where this passage is leading to: Don’t be rash to make promises to God. 

            Is it then sufficient to put a zipper on your mouth ?  No,,,, that would not help much.

            Not what you say with your mouth, but what you say in your heart is what matters.

                        “let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God”

“God is in heaven, and thou upon earth”: We are just a speck of dust upon this earth, but God is the Almighty, the omnipresent God who fills the universe. That is why anything that you promise, at any time, anywhere, is promised before God. He is a witness of your promises.      Now Verse 3

Ec 5:3  For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.

 

Just like a dream originates from a multitude of business, so a fool’s voice originates from a multitude of words.              The Bible says in Prov 17:

(Pr 17:28)  Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.                 Woaauw !

 

It is through a multitude of words that a fool’s voice is made known. Now,,,,This does not mean that everyone from now on should clam up. God explains what He means by these words.                       Look at the words of the Text for our Sermon for today:

·        Pay your vows unto God

Ec 5:4When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

Ec 5:5  Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

 

            Now that does not sound very pleasant !    What is God saying here ?

            When you make a promise unto God, make sure that you keep your promises.

Those who do not keep their promises are called “FOOLS”, and God has no pleasure in “FOOLS”.

Remember how the fool is defined here in Ecclesiastes ? It is the Heb. word “kesil”. It is a self-confident, self-righteous, know it all, arrogant fool. That is the person who makes rash promises to God.

That is a person who easily makes vows. God says that He has no pleasure in such fools.

            Now,,,,Many of you may be thinking at this time:

“Well,,,,That does not apply to me. I have not made any such vows to God.”     You are wrong !

You have made vows unto God more often than you think. Here are some examples:            Verse 6.

Ec 5:6  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?

Ec 5:7  For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.

 

Paraphrased, God gives here a warning: “Do not vow, or promise, anything that your carnal flesh, or your carnal desires, may tempt to break.” God warns at another place:

“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things.”

            Watch out for that little member that can set on fire a world of iniquity.

Especially when you made a vow in public, “neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error”. Don’t say to the messenger of God, which may refer to a minister, that you made a mistake, and that you really did not mean what you have said. This makes God angry, and God may destroy all that you have labored for.

            Instead: “Fear God in all that you say, or promise”. 

And does not this agree with wat we find in other parts of the Bible ? For example in Deut 23:21

De 23:21  When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.

De 23:22  But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.

De 23:23  That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the LORD thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.

 

Even something that you volunteer, “even a freewill offering, thou shalt keep and perform

·        Let your Yea be yea, and your Nay, nay               

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke in the Sermon on the Mount about vows, and He said:

Mt 5:37   Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

 

            And sometime later, in Matt 12, the Lord Jesus said:

Mt 12:36  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Mt 12:37  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

All this should make us understand that making vows before God is a serious matter, and that we must not make idle promises to people that we do not intend to keep.

Now we must go back in our memory, and ask ourselves: was there a time that we have made vows unto God ? We certainly want to keep those vows !

                        And should we in the future make any vows at all ?

#2.       Is God Pleased With Any Vows ?                     

It is true that the Lord Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Swear not at all”.

But this was not a blanket statement that we should never in our life swear.

            Are there occasions where God is pleased with our oaths ?                  Yes He is !

            For example, when we are in the courtroom and we are asked to swear, with our hand on the Bible, that we are going to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We make a solemn vow, before God and before the whole world that we will tell the truth.

            Another example, when one man and one woman are standing before God’s minister and are making a solemn vow, before God and before the whole world, that they will cleave together “till death do us part”, is that a vow that is pleasing to God ?

·        Is the marriage vow pleasing to God ?                   Yes it is !

Remember,,,,It was God who invented marriage in the first place, in the Garden of Eden.

            Do you remember what you agreed to in your marriage vows ?

            Let me rake up your memory. It went somewhat like this.            He said:

I, Alfred, take you Betty to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honor and to maintain, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge myself truly with all my heart.

            Then She said:

I, Betty, take you Alfred to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honor and to obey, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge myself truly with all my heart.   

            This is a solemn pledge, but it is entirely according to God’s holy ordinance.   God says:

Ec 5:4When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

Ec 5:5  Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

 

We have vowed “till death do us part”. Therefore, there cannot be any divorce in the future.

There better not be any divorce after 47 years.

But we cannot claim any credit for this. It is entirely by the grace of God that we did stay together, as God has commanded us. The fear of God did not enter into our life until I was at least 40 y. old.

The clearest passage to show that husband and wife are united for life is in Ephesians.

            Please turn with me to Ephesians, chapter 5, beginning at verse 22.

Eph 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Eph 5:23  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Eph 5:24  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Eph 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Eph 5:28  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Eph 5:29  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

Eph 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. (UNITED)

Eph 5:31  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Eph 5:33  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

 

In this beautiful passage, God compares the marriage relationship with that of Christ and the Church. Husband and wife must be as inseparable as Christ and the Church are.

Which Church is God speaking about ? Not the External Church. Look at the seven Churches of Asia Minor, in Rev 2 and 3. They are all gone. No ! God is speaking about Christ and the Eternal Church, the body of Believers throughout time. God specifies this Church in verse 27:

Eph 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

 

If we have been saved, we belong to that Eternal Church, which is the Bride of Christ.

Could it be possible that God would allow for divorce between a husband and wife, if one of the two has insulted the other party by committing adultery ?

Well,,,,Look at the comparison that God is drawing for us here: The relationship between husband and wife, God says, is parallel to the relationship between Christ and the Church.

Have I ever insulted Christ ? Of course, you know the answer. Every time I sin, I have insulted Christ.          Every time I sin, I have committed spiritual adultery.

·        Could Christ ever divorce me for not being perfectly faithful to Him ?

·        Could He cast into Hell anyone for whom He had suffered on the cross the agony of Hell ?

·        Could He cast into Hell anyone for whom He has paid all their sins ?

·        And if all my sins have been paid for, what sin is there that could still condemn me to Hell ?

None ! Of course it is not possible that Christ would ever divorce the Bride whom He bought on the cross. The union we have with Christ cannot be broken.

In the same way the union between husband and wife cannot be broken.

            This, however is not a license to sin.          God also says:

(Heb 13:4)  Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

 

If my lifestyle indicates that I have never been saved, then God will judge me for those sins on the Last Day. If I have not been saved, then God says:

(Mt 12:36)  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

(Mt 12:37)  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

#3.       Is God Pleased With Us ?                       

Are our promises for real ? Are we dependable in our promises ?

One thing we noticed when we emigrated to the United States, was that promises are taken lightly.

            For most people here in America, promises are not worth a dime.

Are we teaching our kids that our promises should be taken lightly ? That is dangerous.

Our kids will look at our life with God as something that is not so serious. Take it or leave it.

            Does that account for the high divorce rate in the United states ? I don’t know. But God said:

Ec 5:4When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

Ec 5:5  Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

 

Does the fool really believe in an Almighty God ?

Or does the fool believe that God does not mind.

                        God does not mind whether I keep my promise.

                                    God does not mind that it does not work out my way; He understands.

Now,,,,Let’s be careful: It is only by the grace of God if you have not acted as a fool.

            It is only by the grace of God if you have been saved.

And what do you do now with your life, if you have found salvation in Jesus Christ ?

·        It is Gratitude                 A life of Gratitude !

What does that mean ?        I still do not know what to do with my life ?

            Let God tell you what to do. Please turn with me to Psalm 116:12

Ps 116:12  What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?

Ps 116:13  I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.

Ps 116:14  I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.

Ps 116:15  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Ps 116:16  O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.

Ps 116:17  I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

Ps 116:18  I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people,

Ps 116:19  In the courts of the LORD'S house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the LORD.

 

This whole passage speaks of thanksgiving to the Lord for all His benefits I received freely !

Look at the action items in verses 14 and 18: They are identical.

            I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people.

Well,,,,Is he going to show off to all the people of the Congregation how much money he is giving ?

          Of course not. That is what the hypocrites do.  “They have their reward”.

No. The Psalmist is giving thanks to God in the presence of all His people, so that God will be praised all the more. He has vowed that he will praise God for all that He has done for him !

Is that what we do when we show our gratitude to Christ ?                     

                        Did we make such a promise ?

            That is indeed what you promised at your Profession of Faith.

                        This is how the form reads:

First: Do you wholeheartedly believe the doctrine contained in the Old and the New Testaments, and in the articles of the Christian faith insofar as they are in agreement with the Bible and taught in this Christian church, to be the true and complete doctrine of salvation, and do you promise by the grace of God steadfastly to continue in this profession ?         

Here is the promise you made before God and before the whole Congregation, that you will steadfastly continue in this profession.  That means every week.

And that you set an example to your children.

Did you have to, or did you want to make this promise ?

Do we recognize that this is a freewill offering ?

Do we recognize that this is a life of gratitude ?

            We do this because of God’s faithfulness toward us.

            We do this all for Christ; not to earn anything, but to praise Him for it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with (by) the washing of (the) water by (in) the word

            How does the Lord Jesus Christ sanctify and cleanse us ?                                 In Verse 26,

The Greek text says literally:   By the washing of the water in the word (Rhema = spoken word). Therefore it says literally:           By the washing of the water in the spoken word of God. Or paraphrased:

He sanctifies and cleanses us through the hearing of the water of the Gospel in the Word of God.

There is no literal water in the spoken word of God. The water that is referred to here is the same water that Jesus promised to the Samaritan woman at the well. The Lord Jesus said to her:

John 4:10.