Sermons & Sunday Schools

Wisdom’s Low-Hanging Fruit, Part 2

In this sermon, Pastor Dave Capoccia completes examination of Solomon’s surprising teaching in Ecclesiastes 7:23-29. Solomon warns against vainly pursuing deep knowledge and instead urges you to understand and apply three basic life truths. In part 2, Pastor Dave explains the second and third basic truths from Solomon.

Introduction: You cannot know the fundamental scheme of the world (vv. 23-24)
1. The enticing woman (or man) is misery in the end (vv. 25-26)
2. A good woman (or man) is hard to find (vv. 27-28)
3. Man’s proud, scheming heart is his downfall (v. 29)

Full Transcript:

Let’s pray. Lord, we thank You for Your Word. Open my mouth to declare it and open your people to hear it and put it into practice, Amen.

I’d like to begin this sermon today with a question. Have you ever had someone or something in your life that you trusted in turn out to be unreliable? Back in my college days, I used to work part time as an SAT test prep instructor. My job included driving around to different schools in New Jersey to teach test prep classes. But this was back when you couldn’t get instant driving directions on your phone. GPS was just becoming a thing and I didn’t own one yet at that time. So I had to do what maybe some of you young people couldn’t imagine doing, I used a paper map.

Now I’m not talking about the big road atlas that you stow in your car and pull out for emergencies. I had one step up from that: I printed maps and directions from the internet and took them with me when I drove. Now having a set of directions from MapQuest or Google was definitely helpful for getting to places that I’d never been before but I quickly learned that I had to leave very early on the day of my first class just in case the map directions let me down, because sometimes they definitely did. One time the map directions took me to the wrong school, another time the map directions told me to turn where legally I couldn’t turn. And still another time the map directions told me to travel down a road that simply did not exist.

I tried each of the map services but none of them proved fully trustworthy and then when I finally got a GPS navigator for my car and thought my days of shoddy directions were over, I soon learned that GPSs had their own problems with frequently outdated maps, poor directions, or that annoying tendency to spaz out or freeze when you needed a recalculation. But life is like this isn’t it? You think you found some new product, service, or a person that you can really trust and then you later find out that you can’t.

Do you rely on website reviews for finding good movies, restaurants, or kitchen appliances? Well it turns out that reviewers don’t always know what they are talking about or they don’t have your specific preferences in mind. Or they may even post a slanted or fake review just to get people to buy. Or are you looking for a news source that give you the facts without any bias or agenda?

It turns out that such a news source doesn’t exist because at the end of the day, every news publisher needs to make money so they will present the news in a way that appeals most to their intended audience. Even a news source that presents itself as unbiased has the bias of presenting themselves as unbiased. There is an agenda in trying to have no agenda!

What about spiritual leaders? Is there a Christian pastor, Christian teacher that you can trust without reservation? We’d like to think so. But Christian history and personal experience testify otherwise. Faithful pastors sometimes just get the Bible wrong or they don’t explain it very clearly. Powerfully used men of God sometimes are exposed with shameful sins and famous Christian leaders, maybe even the very ones that led you to Christ, sometimes deny the faith.

So this is another one of the great frustrations of life. It’s very difficult to know whom or what to trust. But how should we respond to this trust problem in the world? Is there yet some secret to make sure that we will never be let down, led astray, or never betrayed again in life? Or should we just yield to paranoia and despair, realizing that ultimately we cannot trust anyone or anything?

Well if you have been with us recently in Ecclesiastes you won’t be surprised when I tell you that God, through our author King Solomon does not fall for this false dichotomy, this false choice between two extremes. Instead, He advocates a narrow way in between. It is the nature of this fallen world and our limited understanding in it that we will never find someone or something that is perfectly trustworthy, including we ourselves.

But even knowing and applying that simple fact will help us avoid many of life’s pitfalls. If you really want to live wisely under the sun, then stop reaching for the unreachable fruit of perfect reliability or trustworthiness. Instead, take hold of wisdom’s low-hanging fruit and learn to put ultimate trust in no one but God.

The title of the message is Wisdom’s Low-Hanging Fruit Part 2. If you haven’t yet, turn in your Bibles to Ecclesiastes 7:23-29, which says:

I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. What has been is remote and exceedingly mysterious. Who can discover it? I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her. “Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “adding one thing to another to find an explanation, which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these. “Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.”

We saw together last time the main idea of this whole section, that Solomon warns against vainly pursuing deep knowledge and instead urges you to understand and apply three basic life truths. The first part of this thesis and the introduction to the rest of the section appears in verses 23 to 24, where Solomon teaches us that you cannot know the fundamental scheme of this world. Solomon was a wise man and especially equipped by God to understand the world. He realized that he just like everyone else can never fully recover the past. It’s too deep to reach and without a full understanding of the past, a person cannot have a full understanding of the present or future or know how to act perfectly wisely in it.

Therefore Solomon’s conclusion at the end of verse 24 is that no one, no matter how learned, can truly calculate, fully account for, or lay out the fundamental scheme of life. While we cannot attain deep knowledge or attain those highest fruits of wisdom, we can obtain and apply the low-hanging fruit. There are some basic truths in this world as revealed by God that we can know and apply to live life well. In verses 25-29, Solomon shares with us those three basic truths that he discovered by accident in his failed attempt to find out the ultimate scheme of thew world.

We looked at the first basic life truth together last time in verses 25-26, which was the enticing woman or man is misery in the end. Solomon testifies in verse 26 that there is a state of living that is worse than and more bitter than death, which is to be ensnared by the forbidden woman and to be trapped in a romantic or sexual relationship with someone alluring you away from God, the holy covenant of marriage, and into sin. The forbidden woman is a trap which once a person is caught in, he finds it very difficult to escape to his own ruin.

Solomon therefore counsels at the end of verse 26 that the one pleasing to and blessed by God will flee form the enticing woman or man. He does not go near the flattering, attractive, good feeling snare. It doesn’t allow himself to remain in tempting relationships or situations and instead he flees and runs after wisdom, life, and Christ. A lot of things we cannot discover about the world but this we can know for sure as wisdom from God: the enticing woman or man is misery in the end.

Solomon has two other basic truths for us to understand and apply. Let’s look again at Ecclesiastes 7:27-28:

“Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “adding one thing to another to find an explanation, which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these.”

The number two point is that a good woman (or man) is hard to find. Notice how Solomon introduces the second discovery with even more earnestness than the first. Back in verse 26 he merely says the he discovered. But here he says “Behold! Look! Pay attention and see it for yourself!” This causes us to perk up our ears to hear the important discovery that Solomon made. Notice how the preacher has made his discovery, he says:

Adding one thing to another to find an explanation, which I am still seeking but have not found.

This is actually just like what Solomon said back in verse 25. He even uses the term explanation. It is a Hebrew word that can also be translated as calculation or scheme or sum. You can see the mathematical quality here in verse 27 where he says “adding one thing to another.” Literally this means one to one, or item by item. Solomon is telling us that this next discovery came again in the midst of his searching line by line, item by item, for that deep and full knowledge and accounting of the world. Solomon even says that he is still seeking that explanation for life but he hasn’t found it yet. Eternity is set in his heart after all just as it is in ours.

Yet in the midst of this ultimately vain search, Solomon has found something basic but valuable. It tells us in the rest of verse 28:

I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these.

At first glance, this statement is a bit cryptic and hard to understand. You found one man out of a thousand but not a woman? What are you talking about? Solomon isn’t literally saying that he can’t find anyone around him except for one. He was surrounded by lots of men and women at his royal court in Israel. Rather, he must have found only one of a certain kind of man or woman. But what kind?

Considering the context of verse 26 and 29 which both have to do with moral behavior and secret schemes, Solomon must be talking about finding a good, trustworthy, virtuous person. In other words, in the middle of his deep dive for knowledge, Solomon suddenly stops and realizes that he has lived a long while and has only found one man out of a thousand that is actually virtuous, who is genuinely good and trustworthy. But you know what? Out of the same number of women, he hasn’t found any.

Now those are two very shocking reports. The first because of what it suggests about the depressing quality of men generally. The second because it suggests the quality of women generally is even worse. He says, “I found one good man out of a thousand but I didn’t find a single good woman.” Now because of this many people come to Ecclesiastes 7:28 and help cannot but see misogyny, that is the hatred of, the suspicion of, and prejudice of females.

They say that Solomon just had something against women and girls. He had one too many bad experiences and concluded that you should hardly trust a man but never trust a woman. Now let’s understand that misogyny, like all kinds of pre-judging outlooks and showing of partiality, is sin and reprehensible to God. Misogyny goes against the basic facts that all people, both men and women, have been made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27) Men and women are fellow heirs of the grace of life. (1 Peter 3:4) In Christ they are equal inheritors of all salvation blessings. (Galatians 3:26-29)

Now it is true that men and women have different God ordained roles in the home and church. (1 Timothy 2:12, Ephesians 5) It is also true that men and women have different yet complementary strengths and weaknesses. (Genesis 2:18) But the Bible does not teach that women are spiritually weaker or of less value than men. Yet, how are we to understand Solomon’s misogynistic sounding statement in Ecclesiastes 7:28 without compromising the integrity of the Word of God. Scripture cannot be broken so how can we explain this?

Commentators come up with different ingenious solutions to the problem of this verse. One commentator suggests that this verse is not original to the Bible and was added later, but there’s no manuscript evidence for that. Another commentator suggests that Solomon is talking about military units here which didn’t feature women. But that makes no sense in context. The most common solution is to fall back on the idea that Ecclesiastes is written by two different authors. There was an original disillusioned and grumpy wise man who was a misogynist and a later pious editor who presented that original teaching with some righteous commentary.

Now this view is extremely convenient for explaining away Ecclesiastes’ many provocative statements. But this answer introduces far more problems than it solves, not the least of which it contradicts the book’s own claims when it comes to authorship and it makes them possible to say for certain which author is speaking when in the book. It just comes down to the whims of the interpreter. So those answers will not do but still, how should we understand Solomon’s words here?

The real answer I believe consists of a few parts which I’ll attempt to lay out for you. First while Solomon’s words initially sound extreme, let’s remember that the rest of Scripture actually agrees. Proverbs 20:6 says:

Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, But who can find a trustworthy man?

That’s a rhetorical question and do you know what the answer is? It’s really hard! Can anyone find it? Can anyone find such a man? And there’s a female counterpart in Proverbs 31:10:

An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.

We love to talk about that passage and many women aspire to be a Proverbs 31 woman but it starts with the admission that hardly anyone can find such a woman. Psalm 14:1-3 says:

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

It is one of the common laments of the Old Testament that godly people have all but disappeared in the land. That’s actually what you heard in the reading from Psalm 12. But the prophets too lament the lack of good men and women. I’ll give you an example in Jeremiah 5:1:

[The Lord says,] “Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and look now and take note. And seek in her open squares, if you can find a man, if there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, then I will pardon her.”

He doesn’t end up pardoning Jerusalem, so that tells you what kind of people where there. Now these passages I read to you are just a sample but they describe the situation in Old Testament Israel. If such is the miserable situation of the people of God who had His law, His special presence, experienced His blessings, how much worse is the situation in the rest of the world. Now someone will say that surely this situation is better in the Christian Church.

We would sure hope so yet listen to some sobering words from the New Testament. Matthew 7:21-23 says:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Did you get the message from Jesus here? Jesus says that many who claim to be His followers and even do ministry in His name will be exposed in the last day as fakes and frauds. What about Christian leaders and teachers? Maybe people in the regular congregation have problems but surely not these leaders and teachers. Well look at Philippians 1:15-17:

Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.

Paul says there are some people who preach the true message of Christ not out of good will but out of envy and selfish ambition. And these are shepherds in the Church, yet is this any different from what we’ve been learning from the book of 2 Peter that Pastor Babij just completed studying? Peter tells us that false teachers will arise and many in the Church will follow them, become their disciples, and live sinful lives.

These are sobering statements but perhaps the most sobering, even startling statement, about finding good people even among Christians appears in Philippians 2:19-22, which says:

But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father.

Wow! When extolling Timothy to the Philippian church, Paul says that he had no one else with Timothy’s kind of kindred spirit and genuine concern. Rather they all, and that includes many who say they love and serve Christ, actually seek their own interests and not those of Christ. So brothers and sisters according to the Scriptures, even in the professing evangelical church and among many of those who affirm the same gospel as we do, truly a good man or woman is hard to find.

But perhaps you say that that is not your experience and you know so many good men and women both inside and outside of the church. You may say that clearly the Bible exaggerates! Surely a faithful Bible preaching church does have more good people, genuine Christians than the average suggested by Solomon, but let’s not be so quick to say that we know for sure someone is good. The Bible says not to lay hands on someone too quickly to affirm them as true servants of God. Why? Because it could be that you just don’t know that person well enough yet.

You know, one of the sad realities of our modern world is a high divorce rate. But if you think about it, why is this so? Why would a person who loves another and thought so highly of them to get married ever get divorced? Well the answer is that now that person has really gotten to know their spouse and realized that they are not as exciting as they thought. They say they didn’t know their spouse was so selfish and they want out.

Our judgment of people changes often when we get to know them. Think about your own lives, where do you experience the most conflict? Is it with strangers? No. It’s with the people you know best, isn’t it? Maybe even your spouse and your own family members. And why is that? It’s because you know them and interact with them often and see their sin, selfish ambition, and they see yours. And if we’re all basically nobodies, and we so easily act sinfully with one another, imagine the situation for those who are great! Who have many valuable things, people like Solomon.

After all, besides being a learned man, Solomon was a man of incredible power, wealth, and fame. So what kind of people do you think were attracted to Solomon? What kind of people wanted to hang out with him? Do you think it was those with purely altruistic motives who wanted to serve God and help the kingdom of Israel? Maybe one in a thousand. Would it not more likely be those who wanted something from Solomon and those who out of selfish ambition wanted a piece of Solomon’s own power, wealth, and fame?

I told you last time that I like to study history. But one of the tragedies that I read over and over again taking place in history is people committing heinous evil in order to seize and keep political power. It’s like a broken record. In order to keep or take the throne for one’s self or one’s decedents, a son will betray a father, a brother will betray a brother, a friend will betray a friend, a wife will betray a husband, a servant will betray a lord, and all those vice versa.

People do incredibly evil things for something as tantalizing as power. They will manipulate and scheme and it’s happened over and over again in history. Do you think it’s very different today for the rulers of our country? Do you think it’s different for those who proclaim that they are so virtuous and they love democracy? The same kind of political plotting and intrigue is evident right in the Bible. Look at the life of King David.

Surely these kinds of court intrigues, secret schemes, palace manipulations came up in Solomon’s own life. Solomon’s thoughts went probably like this, “Did that man arrive at my court because he actually wants to serve me or because he is a spy?” or “Did that official want to administer that particular province because he loves justice or because he is trying to obtain wealth for himself?” or “Did my wife do that kindness for me because she really loves me or because she wants me to prefer her over my other wives and make her son the heir to the throne?”

Here’s where I think we begin to find an explanation for the supposed misogyny in Solomon. Because of all the wonderful things Solomon had, his position, and because he was a man, he found that women around him were even more devious than the men. After all, do you think godly and unambitious women were eager to meet Solomon and see if they could land marriage with him? Moreover, many of the women that Solomon did marry were part of alliances to non-Israelites, with families that served other gods, and raised their daughters in pagan ways.

In other words, Solomon did not have a godly group of women around him. And these knew that they could use their connection as a woman towards a man, they could use their feminine charms on the king because he was a male after all. They could leverage what they were as females to get what they wanted out of him, whether it was the lifestyle of a princess, the prestige of being married to the Solomon or having their son be the next ruler of Israel. All these wives were competing with one another as is almost inevitable in any polygamous union, which is partly why God is against polygamy. It almost always results in strife, competition, and conflict and that’s what Solomon saw around him.

So when Solomon pauses his grand search for deep knowledge and considers the virtue of the people around him and the intrigues he has endured over the years, he say to himself, “a good person truly is hard to find. I’ve got a lot of men around me proclaiming their loyalty but there is only one in a thousand that actually cares or me without scheming some angle. As for the women, I’ve got a thousand in my harem but I don’t think there’s a truly virtuous one among them.”

Solomon is not simply musing for his own edification. He offers his experience to us as an example and a warning, telling us essentially that we’re going to find the same reality, even though it is on a lesser scale. Truly there are some good people out there in the world, and in Christ’s Church. There are some people who really love Christ and others, but they are rare and hard to find.

The more you have, whether it’s power, wealth, fame, or beauty, the more on guard you need to be against other people. Especially men against women and women against men. This really is another call to embrace basic wisdom, take hold of wisdom’s low-hanging fruit. Solomon tells us not to be naive and assume that just because someone is being nice to you, they must be good.

You young ones, children, young men, and young women, you need to hear this especially. Just because someone is being nice to you, it doesn’t mean that they are good. You need to realize that truly good people are uncommon and most are working some ulterior motive. There’s a scheme at work. If you want to be wise, then do not quickly entrust yourself to people. Before I move on let me also say that if by God’s grace you do encounter a truly good person in your life, a virtuous man or women but not perfect, who is time tested in character and demonstrates unselfish gain even through suffering and loves God and His people, that person is a gift. That’s the kind of person that you want to be around and as a friend or even a spouse. Proverbs 31:30 says:

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

Hopefully you found some of those people in this church, which is why I love our church! Consider that having a truly godly person in your life is a gift, so give God thanks and be grateful. You have an uncommon treasure. So Solomon has shared with us two of his discoveries. Number one, an enticing woman or man is miserable in the end. Number two, a good woman or man is hard to find. Let’s now look at the third and last basic life truth that we are to understand and apply instead of vainly pursuing deep knowledge. The third discovery is that man’s proud scheming heart is his downfall. Let’s look at Ecclesiastes 7:29:

Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.

In some ways, this final verse is just an explicit statement of what Solomon has already implied. Friends, people are working various schemes and it is all over the place. You cannot be too trusting. There is something profound here being expressed about the motivation of men’s and women’s devious behavior. Notice how the introductory phrase here is even more emphatic than before. Before he said “behold I have found this,” and now he adds the word “only.” It’s like Solomon is saying that he kept looking for deep wisdom but couldn’t find it and this is the one important thing that he found.

What did you find this time, Solomon? The answer is that Genesis 1-3 is absolutely true. Before I explain that, let me point out something to you that you can’t readily appreciate in the NASB translation of this passage. Look at the word devices at the end of this verse which can also be translated plans, inventions, or schemes. I think schemes is the best way to translate the word. You may have noticed that I’ve consciously used the word scheme to translate another word from our passage, which is explanation from verses 25-27.

There’s a connection between these two words. The word for explanation in verse 25 and 27 is the word heshbonne whereas the word for devices in verse 29 is the Hebrew word heshbonnoth. Do you hear how the consonants are almost the same though the endings are different? These words are related and Solomon does not use them together accidentally. In verse 29, Solomon is not only drawing our attention to the universal, fallen, scheming nature of man. It’s a statement of man’s total depravity and a practical observation about life. But it’s also drawing attention to the fact that man’s sinful scheming is connected to man’s drive to know and utilize the fundamental scheme of the world.

Knowledge and scheming are connected. And were they not connected from the very beginning and isn’t that how man’s fall into sin took place? Solomon says that God made men upright and according to Genesis that is true. Solomon counsels us to have our guard up against people because this sinful and devious state is not God’s doing. God did not create man evil or crooked, but made man upright and straight. That’s according to Genesis 1 and 2. Where did man’s crookedness come from? From man himself!

Remember according to Genesis 1-3, God placed in an ancient garden of Eden a special tree called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He forbade Adam and Eve from eating of this fruit lest they die. Then Satan, in the form of a serpent, lied to to the woman and told her that this tree’s fruit is actually good for her and held back by God because He is jealous and petty and doesn’t want her to have divine level of knowledge. In Genesis 3:6 says:

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.

It was the desire for deep knowledge, even for god-like knowledge of both good and evil, that caused Eve to scheme against God and her own husband. When Adam acquiesced to Eve’s temptation, the whole human race became crooked. Let me express all that again in another way. It was the refusal to trust God and leave deep knowledge to Him, that led to man’s prideful scheming, the fall, and the curse on the world that we all experience.

Does that sound familiar? Who else have we been learning about recently that was just like this? They desired to learn the fundamental scheme of the world not just to seek wisdom but also to delve into folly, sin, and insanity. That was Solomon! Solomon wanted god-like knowledge and he was willing to yield his life over to sin and vanity. He pursued that which is unprofitable, multiplied wealth for himself, built all these gardens, did all these accomplishments, but was not willing to just trust God and accept his portion.

He wanted to discover if there was a greater way to gain a lasting and eternal profit, but he never found it. He only found the ensnarement of the forbidden woman and many sorrows besides. So Solomon was making the same foolish mistakes in his life that Adam and Eve did. You know who else was in danger of making the same mistake? We are! All of us are looking for some secret and divine level of knowledge so we can discover it and find gain for ourselves apart from God. This is what’s really behind all the scheming that is in the world today.

It is a more fundamental scheme to know and be like the divine, not in the sense of worshiping God but becoming gods ourselves. We want to become God thus our schemes are motivated from pride, coveting, and greed. Behind all the schemes we see in the world is this pride. But Solomon discovered all too painfully that it is all vanity. The basic truth is that we will never become God because we are created and designed for God. So the wise response to a world made crooked and cursed by God, due to the crookedness of man, is not to reach for the unreachable fruits of knowledge.

In a way, that is forbidden fruit because God says that is for Him and not us. To live wisely is not to keep reaching for that, but it is to humble ourselves for God and partake of the simple fruit of wisdom that He offers us. You don’t need to know about all of that for God. Just apply the things He has given to you and you don’t need to have all the answers. Part of God’s design is to humble us that we don’t have all the answers. So let’s not resist God’s design. I’m not saying you can’t learn anything, but don’t strive for that deep, secret full accounting of the world, which you’re not going to find.

Humble yourselves before God, embrace His design and His portion for us and find blessing. Isn’t that the fundamental message of Ecclesiastes? What is the whole duty and the fear of man? It is to keep His commandments, fear God, and not to delve into the secrets of the universe. One final word before we close is in a passage showing us that we need to be aware of those who pretend to be good people but who aren’t, and that we’ll never have perfect knowledge about who to trust. The question arises about what if you end up trusting the wrong person and if you’ll be okay.

The answer is that you’ll be okay by trusting God who is sovereign over you and all people. It is necessary that we trust people without having perfect knowledge about who is trustworthy. That means that we may get burned when we end up trusting the wrong person. Still, God is sovereign over this and promises to protect us either against outright deceivers, or by bringing about a good and glorious purpose when God lets His godly one be betrayed. Was it any different for Jesus? God let Him be betrayed and Jesus even knew who His betrayer was. But there was a good and glorious purpose in the very salvation that we all enjoy who are in Christ.

So if God ordains that we experience such a betrayal, it will of course be painful and bring about many questions about why God may have let this happen. Know that God will bring you through and provide and take care of you, but probably not answer all your questions. One day He will show us why He did what He did. Rather for now the message from God is to remember who He is and trust Him.

Let’s close in prayer. Lord Jesus, thank You that You are a trustworthy God. You even say Yourself that those who came before You as thieves, murderers, destroyers, came to kill and destroy, but You came that your people may have life and have it abundantly. Lord Jesus, thank You that we can trust You, that You are our God, and that You’re going to make this broken world right one day and take Your people as we sojourn through this world. You even give us the gift of different, imperfect companions, even people in this church. God we are to apply Your truth about not laying hands on someone too quickly or be too trusting because there are many schemes of people pretending to be good but they are not.

God, we want to apply Your basic wisdom and if there are any here that hear this message today that are such persons and pretend to be good when they are not, I pray that they would repent and give up such deceitful schemings. I pray that they would realize that You died to save such persons and can cover all sins and clothe people with Your own righteousness.

Lord, make them truly people, not in themselves but good because of Your work on their behalf. For the rest of us God, keep us safe, protect us from the evil one, from deceivers and false teachers. Lord, in Your perfect sovereignty You may ordain that we encounter such persons even though we can’t tell if they are good or not. But You take care of us and we pray that You will not leave us alone. You bring us through trials and betrayals safely to Your heavenly Kingdom. We look forward to being with You, our beautiful and sweet Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.