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Quest for the Best challenges us to live in fear of the Lord to find meaning, purpose, and fulfillment because our Creator alone holds the answers to our most profound questions about life and eternity.
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Well, good morning. Let’s take our Bibles and turn to Ecclesiastes seven. If you’re visiting with us, we’re in a series of studies in the book of Ecclesiastes we have entitled The Quest for the Best. Solomon’s on a search with regards to the meaning of life, what equates to significance and success on our earthly journey. And we’re working our way through his treaties, through his thesis. He will ultimately get to a conclusion in chapter 12 in verse 13 that the real issue in life is to fear God and keep his commandments. That’s where life is to be found in the one who gave life in the first place.
And so we encourage you to come back each week and join us as we journey through this book. And we’ve been spending some quality time in Ecclesiastes seven verses one through 14. We’ve already covered verses one through four and verses five through six. We’ve given the title to this sermon, We Live and Learn. Solomon is looking back over his life experience, and in a series of proverbs and wisdom insights, he tells us what’s good for us and what’s not good for us. And then verses one through four, he tells us we can live and learn when bereaved. He tells us in verses five and six, we can live and learn when berated. And then in verses seven through 14, he tells us we can live and learn when bewildered. Let’s read from verse seven.
“Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason and a bribe debases the heart. The end of a thing is better than its beginning. The patient in spirit is better than the pride in spirit. Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry for anger rest in the bosom of fools. Do not say why were the former days better than these for you do not inquire wisely concerning this. Wisdom is good with an inheritance and profitable to those who see the sun. For wisdom is a defense, as money is a defense, but the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those that have it. Consider the work of God, for who can make straight what he has made crooked. In the day of prosperity, be joyful. In the day of adversity, consider. Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other so that man can find out nothing that will come after him.”
So reads God’s word and we trust he’ll use it in each of our lives this morning. As I was reflecting on this text, I journeyed back to those times when my mother would administer some medicine to me, something that taste like ham lock. And often she would administer that medicine and she would sugar coat that whole experience with these words. “Philip, swallow it. It’s good for you.” Okay, now if I fought back, she had another line, “Philip, swallow it. If you know what’s good for you.” This carried on sometimes over into the dining room and we’d sit and have evening dinner together and I’d work my way through the potatoes and the meat, but I’d kind of left the brussel sprouts, or the cabbage, or the spinach or something at the side of the plate. And mom with her ever seeing eye would often walk by and say, “Philip, eat up your vegetables, they’re good for you.”
I often pondered that, why did God put so many vitamins in spinach and none in ice cream. I don’t understand that, but that’s the way it is. It’s good for you. Well, at the time it didn’t seem that good. And it raises the question, doesn’t it, what is good for us? How do we determine that? Can bad things be good things ultimately? It’s a good question and in fact, it’s a question that occupies the mind of Solomon. We saw this the last time we studied this passage, because chapter seven hinges on verse 12 of chapter six. Where Solomon leaves a question dangling at the end of that chapter, “For who knows what is good for man in life.” And what happens in chapter seven especially in verses one through 14, Solomon nicks a stab at answering that question. And he does it in a series of proverbial statements.
Solomon was a master of the proverb, a statement that often contrasted certain things in life to make a point. And so in this chapter he said, “I’ll tell you what’s good for you.” In verse one, he says, “A good name is better than expensive perfume.” In verse one, he tells us the day of death is better than the day of birth with its promise of prosperity. In verse two, he tells us mourning is better than festivity and mirth. In verse three of chapter seven, he tells us that sorrow is better than laughter. In verse five, he tells us the rebuke of a wise man is better than the praise of a fool. In verse eight, he tells us the end of a thing is better than its beginning. In verses eight and nine, he tells us patience in waiting for God’s timing is better than fretting over the elusiveness of things. And in verses 10 through 12, he tells us further affliction may be better than any immediate outcome that seems good.
There’s a lot of things to learn, and we’ve been working our way through the opening 14 verses of chapter seven. And we come here to the last section. We live and learn when bereaved, verses one through four. We live and learn when berated, verses five through six. And now we live and learn when bewildered, verses seven through 14. In fact, I think the linchpin for this last section is verse 13, “Consider the work of God for who can make straight what he has made crooked.” In this last section, I think Solomon’s thinking orbits around verse 13. He speaks of those times in life when you and I are left scratching our head in bewilderment as to what God’s up to in our lives.
Have you ever been there? Has that happened to you where you can’t get it straight in your mind as to what God is up to. Your life is a muddle. Your life is a mix of things that’s not to your liking. And Solomon says, you know what? That’s often the case and who can make straight what God has made crooked? Now the thought here of crookedness doesn’t have a moral component to it. Solomon’s not charging God with any wrong. He’s simply saying that God’s ways at times of past finding out. That God allows things to happen in our life that seem like a jumble to us, seem all crooked and intertwined and we can’t untangle it, we can’t straighten it out. And Solomon says, hey, that’s the way it’s going to be. I’ve learned that. I’ve lived long enough to see that. So in the day of prosperity, rejoice. In the day of adversity consider, reflect that there’s no way to find out what God is always up to.
I think that’s the issue that really this last section swarms around. Sometimes we can’t make head nor tail of God’s providence or plan in our lives. Gideon was once there wasn’t he, in Judges six verse 13. If God is for us, then why are so many things against us? Sometimes we wonder whose side God is on when we look at our lives. Our life seems like a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces that are missing. That’s where this passage is at. In fact, Ken Gangel from Dallas Seminary in his book on Ecclesiastes tells us of the fact that in the year 1894. 1894, do you know how many automobiles there were in the United States total? Four. Four. By 1897 there were just two, and they were to be found in the City of St. Louis, Missouri.
And you know what happened before 1897 was over those two cars had a head-on collision. That’s amazing. Two cars in the whole of the United States and they couldn’t avoid each other. Ken Gangel says it’s Murphy’s Law, if anything can go wrong it will. We’ve all had to live with Murphy’s Law. How do you deal with those puzzling circumstances? What do you do when life drives you into a cul-de-sac? Well, that’s what we’re dealing with here in this section. Who can straighten what God has made crooked? Who can make sense of what the infinite mind of God has planned and purposed for any one of us?
Romans 11:33, His ways are past finding out. God is too kind to be cruel, too wise to make a mistake, and too deep to explain himself. But we did learn back in chapter three in verse 11, “He makes all things beautiful in his time according to his plan, in his ways after the council of his own will.” Just get used to that, submit to that, embrace that. Don’t be frightened by that. That’s what you’ve got to live and learn when you’re bewildered. You’ve got to give God the benefit of the doubt. Life is in higher hands than ours. Life is in higher hands than ours.
In fact, I can’t think about that without thinking about a story related to Vance Havner, an old Southern Baptist preacher from the Carolinas who’s now with the Lord. But I’ve enjoyed his writings and I commend them to you. There’s just some home spun theological wisdom. On a particular morning his wife dies. It’s 2:15 on a Sunday morning. But he had prepared his message and God give him grace within a few hours to stand in the pulpit of his church, to preach a message that he had prepared. And so he gets up and he preaches from Matthew 11 verses five through six. It’s the story of John the Baptist. It’s the story of how John the Baptist is confused and bewildered as to what God is up to through the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.
At times Jesus’ ministry doesn’t fit his profile of a true Messiah, Israel’s true and promised deliverer. And so John sends a message to Jesus. Jesus sends a message back, it says, Look John, I am the one and here’s what I’ve been doing. And then Jesus says this in Matthew 11 verses five and six, “Blessed is he who is not offended by me.” Vance Havner paraphrases that, I love this. He calls it the forgotten beatitude. Blessed is the one who does not get upset at the way I run my business. John, you may have questions, you may not see all that God is up to. It may not fit your own thinking, your own perspective. But I’m telling you, I’m the one who’s been promised. And God’s plans are on track and God’s will is unfolding, and you better not be offended by me. Don’t be upset by the way I run my business.
Listen, write this down, think about it. God is not interested in haring any one of us in an advisory capacity. Okay? What God has made crooked no man can make straight. That’s what we’re dealing with here. Now as you reflect on these verses, there’s several things I want us to see from verse seven through to 14. In fact, as I reflected on this passage, I saw three wrong attitudes and two right responses when it comes to the mystery of God’s providence. Three wrong attitudes, two right responses. Let’s work through the verses. Let’s look at the wrong attitudes. This is not how you’re meant to act when it comes to the trials of life.
Number one, the first wrong attitude is impatience. Look at verse eight. “The end of a thing is better than its beginning. The patient and spirit is better than the pride in spirit.” Literally in the Hebrew grammar, length of spirit is preferred to height of spirit. One Hebrew word speaks of length and another Hebrew word speaks of height. It’s a metaphorical way of encouraging that in the face of trial and tribulation, God encourages along patience, and he puts us on the guard against soaring pride. Faced with the mystery of God’s providence, faced with the conundrums of life.
You and I need to fight in patience with God. We must be willing to submit to the heat of the furnace and let patience have its perfect work. Let’s go back to James chapter one and see this worked out in a word from James the half brother of the Lord Jesus Christ. Very familiar words, but a good to be reminded of them this morning. “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that the testament of your faith produces patience. Let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” You and I have got to stay under our trials. We’ve got to persevere. We’ve got to endure so that God can squeeze out of us those things that he wants to remove, and God might put into us those things that are lacking in our maturity and in our ministry. That’s the process.
And Jim says, you know what? Submit to the trial. Don’t react wrongly. Don’t show a spirit of belligerence and impatience with God. We react sometimes, don’t we, quickly. We want instant relief. We become hot under the collar, and under pressure we begin to think poorly of God. We begin to work out how we can extricate ourselves from this situation quickly. We even become prey to some doubts regarding God’s goodness. Solomon says, hey, I’ve lived and learned the patient in spirit is better than the pride in spirit. And part of the solution is keeping in mind what we read in the first half of that verse, verse eight.”The end of a thing is better than it’s beginning.” What God is putting us through, God intends to take us through, and when we get to the other side of it, things may be better, and more importantly we will be better.
And what I’m reminded of here is something you and I need to grapple with. There are no shortcuts to success, none whatsoever. There are no ring roads to maturity. The way out is always through. Even if it’s bitter, even if it’s tough, even if it’s hard. Life is a long haul business and you and I need to be in it for the long haul. That’s sometimes true of business. It’s sometimes true of marriage. It’s sometimes true of life. Jesus faced that temptation, didn’t he? In the temptation in the wilderness. You know what? Satan presents a ring road around the cross, an easier way, a quicker way to dominion and rule over the kingdoms of this world. But there are no shortcuts.
In fact, some years ago I was reading in a book on the will of God, and the writer George Morrison, an old Scottish writer, drew my attention to Exodus 13:17. Write that verse down, look at it later. I’ll read it for you. It’s to do with the Exodus. Hence, it’s from the Book of Exodus. And it’s to do with Israel leaving Egypt and moving towards the promised land and all that God had made covenant with Abraham concerning. Here’s what we read. This is a verse I’d never come across. God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. What we read about in the book of Exodus is, God didn’t take them to the promised land through the land of the Philistines, although it was near.
In fact, according to our calculations, it was about a five-day hard march from Egypt, or at least the borders of Egypt through to the land of Canaan, by way of the territory of the Philistines. But God didn’t take them that way, even though it was near, no shortcut. God took them a hard way. And because of their stubbornness, it took them 40 years to get there. Listen to George Morrison. It is strange to think that by the street road it was a tolerably brief journey from Egypt to Palestine, four or five days hard marching by the right that is now common with the traitors. Four or five days would’ve done it. Yet Israel took 40 years to do it. And we know the hardships, and the sorrows, and the battlings that filled with bitterness their 40 years. Yet for all that, the leadership was Gods. The pillar of cloud and fire led the advance. The longest way around was the shortest way home. There was a near cut certainly, but here at any rate, the near cut was not Gods.
I read that as a young Christian and reminded myself, it’s tempting at times to short circuit what God wants to do in your life, but there is no shortcuts to success. There are no ring roads to maturity. The way out is always the way through, and that’s why we need to be patient. Secondly, we need to guard against anger. There’s another wrong attitude in the face of life’s furnace. It’s easy, as you’ve already said, to become impatient with God’s plan and then to bristle under his providence, become agitated and angry. Look at verse nine. “Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry for anger, rest in the bosom of fools.” In fact, I think you’ve got a similar thread here up in verse seven. “Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason and a bribe debases his heart.”
Pictures a righteous man trying to live for God, keep his nose clean, do right, but he watches oppression. He watches the wicked prosper and he loses it. He loses his mind and he loses his temper and he loses his way. This is the great danger. When you’re at that place in life where you’re scratching your head and you don’t know what god’s up to because no man can make straight with God has made crooked. Well then guard against impatience and guard against anger. According to Solomon, wise men can become fools and good men can do bad things.
Remember old Moses, talking about the promised land? He never got there. Why? Because according to Numbers 12 verse three and Numbers 20 verses one through 13, there was a day that Moses lost his temper and on that day he lost more than his temper. He lost the privilege of entering the promised land. Here’s a third wrong response. I like this, verse 10. Do not say why were the former days better than these? Is that where you’ve been this week? Have you been looking back to better days in marriage, business, life with your family? Solomon says that is not a wise path. That is not a good trait. Live and learn. Live and learn. Do not say why were the former days better than these, for you do not inquire wisely concerning this. Here’s another wrong attitude. When you’re in a tough time, when you’re in a bind, when you’re in a squeeze guard against nostalgia, guard against impatience, guard against anger, and guard against nostalgia.
Solomon warns here about having a selective memory. Of glossing over the past, making it sound better than it was. And when you do that, it makes the presence seem more than it is. So Solomon says, hey, wisdom would tell you this, that every age and every stage in life has its good times. That’s the way it is. You’re always going to be dealing with a mix of stuff, either on a given day, on a given week, or if you look across your life. In the days of prosperity, rejoice in the days of adversity, consider. Don’t wave your hands up going, look, I never saw this coming. This is the way life works. And Solomon says, when you get to that time, maybe when it’s a day of adversity, not a day of prosperity, don’t be looking back. Don’t becoming angry. Don’t become impatient. There’s never a moment in history when we can hit the pause button and say, this is it. It’s just not a wise thing to do.
I’ll tell you this, when you hanker for the good old days, it’s because of either a bad memory or a good imagination. That’s just the way it is. Don’t do that, because the present is all that you’ve got, and looking back doesn’t move you forward. There’s no time like the present. Why? Because it’s all you got. Play the hand that you’re dealt. Remember that God’s providence has carried you to this very moment, and if you’ve learned your lessons along the way, then you’re equipped for this very moment. It’s your past that makes you ready for your present, your good past, your bad past. And always remember that the present always bumps up against a future that’s very promising. Because we’ll get to a verse in a moment. We’ve touched on it verse yet. I love it. The end of a thing is better than it’s beginning.
Basically, here’s what Solomon is saying. Don’t take shelter in the past because that puts life into reverse. What do we say? There’s no use crying over spilled milk. It’s right. It just drains your energy, makes you less than capable of dealing with the difficulty you’re in at the present. We touched on this last week, it’s hard to get your head around the fact that the Israelites escape Egypt with all its slavery, with all its suffering. There’s no shortcut. God doesn’t take them through the land of the Philistines. You see, it took one night to get them out of Egypt, but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of them. And they became impatient, and they became angry, and they became nostalgic.
Oh, you remember the leeks in Egypt? Do you remember that strained soup that they gave us? Wow. And listening in and out you go, you guys nuts. You want to go back to that? But it’s an amazing thing, isn’t it? How we misconstrued the past when we lose our faith and we lose our presence of mind in the present. Don’t be sane. Why we’re the old days so good? Another example of that would be in Ezra three verses 12 through 13. In Haggai chapter two and verse three, the Israelites are returning from exile in Babylon. They’re beginning to rebuild the temple. We kind of looked at that, didn’t we? Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel, Haggai, they’re all around that time.
And as the temple begins to be rebuilt the people who had seen the old temple, they wept, because the new temple doesn’t look half as good, or as big, or as imposing. And they get nostalgic, and they can’t rejoice in the moment they’re in. But imagine a young family. They were born in exile. They don’t have any measurement against the past. Do you think that’s how they looked at that new temple being built? No, they’re thrilled. They’re jumping like jumping jacks. They’re going, this is going to be great. The kids can go to rabbinic school. We’re going to be able to worship God in Jerusalem. The city of David in the temple.
Look, as a Christian the best is never behind us. The best is never behind us. The best is yet to come. The end is better than the beginning for the Christian. And you and I need to remember that playwright and novelist, Thornton Wilder, who spent a great deal of his time and much of his life studying ancient cultures. The interesting thing is he didn’t believe that a man should spend much time looking at his own personal past. Here’s what he said. “I erase as I go along. I look forward so much that I only have an imperfect memory of the past.” That’s a good way to live. That’s a wise way to live. Do not say why were the former days better than these. You do not inquire wisely.
Those are the three wrong attitudes, impatience, anger, nostalgia. Two right responses quickly, two right responses. Here’s how we ought to respond to that which God puts us through when it’s bitter and it’s tough. Here’s the first right response. Express an ebullient faith that is willing to wait for a better day. Express a belief in God and show it by your patience, by your tranquility, by your get-up and get on with life attitude. Show your faith that there’s a better day in God’s way and in God’s time. That’s verse eight. I love this verse. Been meditating on it a lot this week. The end of a thing is better than its beginning. Isn’t that good? Somebody say amen. That’s a great verse. Just mark that verse. Think about that.
Maybe you’ve given up, maybe you don’t see your way through something. Why don’t you lay hold of that, that the end of this is going to be better than the beginning? You don’t like the taste of what you’re going through. But as Daniel Estes says in his commentary, the handbook of wisdom books, as in a race, the only measure that counts is the finish line. And in life it often takes a considerable amount of time until the wise course is vindicated. Solomon has lived long enough to say, hey, don’t be concluding that this thing you’re in, this problem you’re dealing with, that you know what, there’s no good going to come off it. Don’t say that. Because ask any wise man who’s lived long enough, they’ve all eaten their words.
The end of a thing is often better than the beginning, if we’ll be patient, if we’ll not lose our cool, if we’ll not keep looking back, but trust God and keep going forward. Wisdom says give God time. Wisdom says give things time. Wisdom says, gives people time. Wisdom says, give providence time. For the end of a thing is better than its beginning. I love the verse, proverbs four verse 18, “The path of the just is as a perfect day that grows brighter and brighter.” Do you know what that means practically, for you and me this week? Be slow to judge the Lord by feeble sense. That’s straight out of an old hymn, right? You know that hymn, God moves in mysterious ways his wonders to proclaim. The writer William Kiper is saying, hey, be careful that all you can see with your eyes isn’t all that God is up to. Don’t you be judging the Lord with feeble sense from your limited perspective.
Suck it up, knuckle down. Don’t become impatient. Don’t become angry. Don’t keep looking back. You lay hold of this, that when God is through with it and when God is through with you, you’ll be in a better place, one way or another. Now, we’re not talking… By the way here, I must make a qualification. I’m not talking about a storybook ending to everything. But I am telling you this, God will write the last chapter in all of our lives and for us believers, it’s heaven. So hey, that at least we know is true. The end is better than the beginning. It’s better to be with Christ. The afflictions of this life, when you weigh them up against glory, nothing. But also it’s true in life. Often if you give God time, you will get to a better place. Just don’t give up, cooperate, submit, work with God, not against God.
Joseph find that to be true. Job find that to be true. In Job 42 verses 10 through 12. Given all that Job went through, you know what the Bible says, and the latter days of Job were better than the former. That’s another wisdom book. Is that a word for anybody this morning? The end of this thing will be better than the beginning. That’s why in Zachariah chapter four in verse 10, we are warned as that temple is being rebuilt, those pilgrims were warned, don’t despise the day of small things. The old people were getting caught up in nostalgia. This is nothing like what it used to be. And the new families were excited, they had never seen anything like it. And they could be discouraged by the naysayers, but hey, don’t despise the day of small things. When this thing is built, you’ll find God there.
In fact, there would only be a short 400 years where God himself would come and say, I am the temple and the glory of God now was among men. The end of a thing is always better than it’s beginning. Think about the great work of salvation. How did it look at the beginning? Let’s just take that Christmas scene, a stall, a stable, a few animals, a stripling of a girl, Joseph, a baby in a manger. Is this the greatest rescue operation in history? The end of a thing it’s always better than its beginning.
Don’t despise the day of small things. Don’t give up. Look beyond what’s in front of you to the providence and goodness of God, because as we’ve often said in the end we win. I love that story. I’ve told it a few times, but it’s fitting of the janitor sitting on the benches of a Bible college gymnasium reading the book of Revelation. A few of the students are coming out after a game of basketball. They see him reading his Bible and they say, hey, what are you reading? He says, I’m reading the book of Revelation. They’re just on a semester on that book. They were left scratching their head all sorts of views. Pre-millennial, a millennial, post-millennial. And so, one of them said, hey, tongue in cheek, do you understand what you’re reading? Which the janitor says, oh yes, I do, in the end we win. That’s it. The church hasn’t looked like much at times. She’s being persecuted, torn by disunity, ravaged by apostates.
But Jesus is building his church, and in the end we win. And the beginning is nothing like the ending. Last thought. Here’s the second right response. Submit to the sovereignty of God. Show a faith that’s willing to wait on an un-arrived future and show some submission to God. This is verses 13 and 14. Consider the work of God for who can make straight what he has made crooked. In the day of prosperity be joyful. In the day of adversity consider surely God has appointed the one as well as the other so that man can find out nothing that will come after him. Let me boil it down to you and we’ll be done.
I know you and you know something of me, and we all at times are tempted to complain and often life leaves us scratching our head as to why God allows this or that. And we’re tempted to murmur and grumble something that Paul forbids in Philippines chapter two. In the day of adversity we’re to consider. What are we to consider? We’re to consider the sovereignty of God. We’re to consider the fact that when he makes something crooked, you can’t make it straight. When he jumbles up your life, he does it for a purpose and you can’t find it out. You don’t understand why sometimes he brings prosperity. At other times he loads you down with adversity. On the one rejoice and the other reflect. On the one, give thanks and the other trust. And all the time submit to the immutable, inscrutable plan of God.
He makes everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes three 11 through 14. That’s why you and I need to heed this word this morning. That when God is bent on a course of action in our lives, nothing or no one can alter it. We can protest, we can get angry, we can become impatient. We can get lost in nostalgia. It won’t move the chain up the field. And God has bent on a course of action you’re not going to straighten him out. It’s time to just submit and say with Job, though he slay me, yet will I trust him. I will be still and know that he is God. I know that all things work together for good.
It’s a futile thing. All that results from it is a headache to bang one’s head against the wall of God’s sovereignty. There was a line in the hymn we used to sing back in Ireland. We know who holds the future and he guides it with his hand. With God things don’t just happen. Everything by him is planned. Remember learning that as a boy, it’s good stuff. It’s held me, provided me an anchor in the good times and the bad times. I’ve had to realize God’s got hidden purposes. Deuteronomy 29, 29, the secret things belong to the Lord. What God has made crooked no man can make straight.
I finish with this story, related to the Duke of Wellington. Best known as the British General who defeated Napoleon in the war at Waterloo 1815. Changed the course of European history. You’ll find a monument to him today in London. But before that, Wellington was sent by the British crown to India where he was to oversee negotiations for the transfer of territories among the Indian Maharajas. Some of them wanted to know how big the territory was going to be, where it would be, how rich the soil would be. But Wellington was keeping tight-lipped. In fact, on one occasion, one of the Maharajas sends one of his servants to try and squeeze it out of Wellington. Where’s my master going to have his land? When he wasn’t getting anywhere he offered him a great sum of money. Wellington motioned for him to come near. And he said, can you keep a secret? The servant all glee. Eyed looked at him and said, yes to which Wellington replied, and so can I.
It’s crazy. God keeps some secrets, and I’m not about to second guess him. He’s all wise, all loving. It’s tough, but no man can make straight with God has made crooked. So don’t be impatient, don’t be angry, and don’t become nostalgic. What you need to do this week is express a strong belief and a buoyant faith, that the end of a thing can be better than its beginning. And all the while submit your plans to his plan. Amen.
Father, we just pause to drink in the fresh water of your word, to bathe in it, to be cleaned by it, to feel freshened by it. It’s a good word we got this morning. Boy, it’s time tested and real to life. But thank you. We’re learning lessons at Solomon’s expense. Help us Lord to realize what’s better. Help us Lord to submit to your providence, be still in the face of your sovereignty. Be patient and endure. To count it all joy, not to become angry. To look forward and not to look back. And we’ll give you thanks a day from nigh, a week from nigh, a month from nigh, a year from nigh. But what you have done for us and through us with things we would rather do without, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.