In Ecclesiastes 10, we read of splitting logs, breaking walls, digging pits, and removing stones from a quarry. Each of these items is linked with something that may happen as a result. If you break a wall, a serpent may bite you. If you dig a pit, you may fall into it. If you working in a stone quarry, you may get hurt by a stone.
With all of these cause and effect type scenarios, we read and maybe follow up with a chuckle at some of the items. Who would fall into a hole that he dug himself? Why would a serpent attack you if you break through a wall? We often cannot relate to what is being expressed in this passage. But if we take a step back and try to understand the people of a different time, these expressions are simply explaining the dangers of something negative happening as a possible result of your conduct. This is a message of caution.
Many times in life, we do not heed warnings. We think the warnings are for “the other guy” who doesn’t know what he or she is doing. We most always think we know what we are doing and we know what will happen afterward. Consider the time you may have thought you were doing something good, but it just so happened that after you broke whatever wall before you down, you were attacked by someone. We are to always tread with caution—meaning that we need to recognize and accept that after we do something or say something, there is a reaction to follow, and it might not be what we expect. This does not mean we do not do anything, but that we cling closely to our Father, and as we abide in Him and better understand His will, we trust Him with any outcome and press forward as He directs. No matter the outcome, we can trust He is faithful and we have a bright future in eternity with He Who created all things for His glory.
“He who digs a pit will fall into it, and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall. He who quarries stones is hurt by them, and he who splits logs is endangered by them.” – Ecclesiastes 10:8-9 [ESV]
I decided to reward myself with a cool dessert and pulled open the freezer to retrieve the ice cream. I chose the Peanut Butter Swirl kind and started to enjoy one of my favorite ice creams, though it was not a brand I typically eat. After a few bites, my lips started to feel strange. Before I finished my dessert, I realized my lips were swollen. The kids had a good laugh as I had difficulty speaking.
The swelling of my lips was clear evidence of something wrong, likely a nut allergy. Only a few seconds after having the peanut butter touch my lips it was noticeable. That is not always the case with sin though. You might not see the consequences of a sin right away. While you are in the middle of a sin, you might feel good. You might feel great. But whether it is quickly thereafter, or if it is awhile later, there will be consequences. Whether you notice them or not is another story.
When David had eyes for Bathsheba, he knowingly committed adultery. He then scrambled around to find a way to cover up what he did. The truth is you cannot bury a sin so deep that it is never seen. God sees all and the truth eventually comes out. In this case David tried to cover a sin with another sin. He later faced the heartbreak of losing a child because of his actions. Today remember that you might not see consequences for your shortcomings, but there will be consequences. Sometimes they are not faced by you alone but by those around you. Repent. Accept God’s forgiveness. Change your mind and step by step you will change your ways.
“Then David confessed to Nathan, ‘I’ve sinned against GOD.’ Nathan pronounced, ‘Yes, but that’s not the last word. GOD forgives your sin. You won’t die for it. But because of your blasphemous behavior, the son born to you will die.’” – 2 Samuel 12:13-14 [MSG]
Elijah came on the scene with no introduction and announced the Word of God. He told the people there would be no rain, upholding what was said in Deuteronomy 28:24 for those in disobedience. Ravens brought him food and when the brook dried up, he went to the widow of Zarephath and God provided.
Elijah then had a showdown with the prophets of Baal. As Elijah watched, the prophets could not get Baal to produce fire. Elijah poured 12 jars of water in a trench and God produced fire that drank up all of the water and burned the surrounding stones. It was an amazing display of God’s power, but then Elijah ran in fear and hid himself in a cave.
God approached Elijah and asked him – What are you doing here? There was incredible wind, an earthquake and fire but God was not in any of them. Then came a gentle whisper. Elijah was reminded of God’s greatness. There are moments when we need to be reminded of God’s greatness – when fear and doubt creep in and try to discourage us. Today, ask yourself how great is our God? How great is our God! Step out of the cave.
“When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” – 1 Kings 19:13 [NIV]
Micaiah prophesies against Ahab. Whenever the king of Israel consulted with him, it was always trouble. Nothing but trouble. Ahab did not like to hear what Micaiah would say—all this trouble. The problem was the way he was living was the reason for the trouble.
Ahab did not like to hear the truth. It was clear to see that because Ahab was not following the ways of the Lord, he was facing these troubles. Nonetheless, Ahab felt that he could get better news delivered from someone else. You’ve heard the statement – “You can’t handle the truth.” Well Ahab couldn’t. It meant that life wasn’t all about him. It meant change. It meant sacrifice.
Today are you in the same denial? Do you avoid certain people because they speak truth?
“’Didn’t I tell you?’ the king of Israel exclaimed to Jehoshaphat. ‘He never prophesies anything but trouble for me.’” – 1 Kings 22:18 [NLT]
“Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord,” we read in 2 Chronicles 14, and we learn of his reforms. We also read of the battle against the Ethiopians. They came marching out with a vast army and Asa called out to the Lord for help. He said, “There is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty” (v. 11 NLT). They received great victory, a victory that only could come from the Lord.
The Bible continues to say that “Asa’s heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life,” and yet something happened (2 Chronicles 15:17b NLT). Baasha king of Israel was on the attack. Now this time Asa didn’t approach the Lord as he did when the Ethiopians were before him. Instead he took silver and gold from the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and sent it to Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram. Asa’s trust went from the Lord to an army’s power—from the Lord to what money could buy him.
Hanani visited King Asa and informed him of the consequences of his actions. Not only did he miss the opportunity to destroy the army but he also would be at war for the rest of his life. No peace. He was once fully committed but he slipped. Our passage today says, “The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” Remember that. When you are facing something, He is ready to strengthen you. You are not alone and you do not need to devise some plan trusting in money and people—trust in Him. Through Christ you can do all things!
“At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, ‘Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the LORD your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram. Don’t you remember what happened to the Ethiopians and Libyans and their vast army, with all of their chariots and charioteers? At that time you relied on the LORD, and he handed them over to you. The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.” – 2 Chronicles 16:7-9 [NLT]