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]
“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]
Today when I was walking my dog, he was charged by another dog. I was prepared for the situation; however, because the same dog owner allowed this to happen weeks ago. Last time, he had let his Golden Retriever run loose and the dog came and snapped at my dog. This time, he left his German Shepherd loose, and although there was no snapping, I was not a happy camper at the second episode of negligence.
In life we will meet a person who will do something that irritates us, that hurts us or something that is wrong. We will throw our hands in the air (or sometimes our fists) and demand change. We will get angry. We will say words (sometimes words that are not positive, life speaking words). We will be frustrated by these people who do not do what we want them to do; however, we cannot expect them to change and act as we wish. Nor can we expect someone to follow the commands of God.
I was mad at this man today. He has proven twice that he cannot handle his dogs. The first time I was upset. I was injured. My dog was frightened. It was not a good situation. This second time, though prepared for it, was just as bad. Even so, some people will not change. We can only control our reactions to a situation—not someone else. It is how you react to any given situation that says something about you. I know I do not always react as I should, but I also know that over the years, the Holy Spirit has helped me to react better to each given situation. Don’t let situations and circumstances control you. React with love.
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14 [NLT]