Ecclesiastes 9-12, Psalm 11
A few years ago I performed a very common and routine surgery on a young woman. Unfortunately, she had a miscarriage and required a D+C which is essentially a procedure where I have to remove the baby that passed away along with all of the placental tissue. I had performed thousands of these before and though sad it generally goes quickly and uneventfully. For this particular patient when I began she began to hemorrhage, lost almost a liter and a half of blood and required 3 units of blood. I later found out that she had a rare pregnancy called a molar pregnancy rather than a miscarriage. Not that I could have done anything differently but once again I found myself humbled. Surgery is no different than anything else in life in that nothing should ever be taken as routine. We should not deem ourselves ever to be so in control that we feel that we can handle anything on our own and not in His power. He knows the beginning and the end. He is omniscient, we are not.
Many are shocked that the author of Proverbs and the author of Ecclesiastes are the same author, Solomon. Many find it hard to fathom how a man bestowed with such wisdom could have failed so miserably and fallen in so many areas of life. How could such a man of wisdom have acted so foolishly? His problem is the one we so often make. We make the mistake of sizing up the areas of our life. Those areas that we know will be challenging we tend to raise our guard and utilize every resource available, including God. But there are so many areas we mistakenly consider ourselves strong in, these are the times that we let our guard down. It is during these times that we rely on our own strength, our own wisdom. These are the times and the areas that we make ourselves vulnerable to fail. Consider the first two battles under the command of Joshua. Jericho was formidable almost impregnable. Joshua and his men relied completely on the strength and the battle plan of God. The victory was miraculous and overwhelming. The very next battle against little Ai seemed to be a joke. So, without seeking God's counsel, Joshua sent some spies to assess the situation, then developed his own strategy. We read in Joshua 7:3, "And they returned to Joshua and said to him, "Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few." The result was utter defeat and humiliation. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:12, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."
So, do any of us make statements like, "I would never do...", or "I don't struggle in this area...". These areas of our assumed strengths are areas where we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to our flesh and to the enemy. Paul came to the correct conclusion in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, "And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me...For when I am weak, then I am strong." How many times do we fail because we rely on our own strength rather than trust in His perfect strength. How many opportunities do we miss to make a difference in the lives of others because we compartmentalize our lives and we decide when to include Him and when to exclude Him. We read in Ecclesiastes 11:6, "In the morning sow your seed, And in the evening do not withhold your hand; For you do not know which will prosper, Either this or that, Or whether both alike will be good." Do we ignore the person sitting next to us on the plane on our way to the mission trip? Do we cut the guy off on the road on our way to church? Do we decide who on a given day needs to hear about Jesus and who doesn't? Our opportunities are infinite, but we limit them due to only giving small slivers of our pie to God, rather than allowing Him to be the filling which fills the whole pie. May we not make the same mistake as Solomon did. Life is amazing and we have all that we need in God to find purpose in every aspect of our lives. The only question is who is on the throne of every situation: Him or ourselves?
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: