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Ecclesiastes 7:15-29

Talks for Growing Christians

God Gives Advice for Living

Ecclesiastes 7:15-29

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Lesson Number 9

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God gives the believer advice for what to avoid in life.

Practical Application

  1. Watch out for worldly explanations!

Questions

  1. The emphasis of God’s counsel for living in this portion of chapter 7 is to avoid __________ and to practice ______________.
  2. What are some of the negative characteristics that can result from the practice of excessive righteousness (vs 15-18)?
  3. In verses 19-22 Solomon gives godly guidelines for those who are unfairly criticized. What is the counsel that he gives regarding a proper response to this criticism?
  4. What is the common experience of life that the counsel of verses 23-26 tells us to avoid?
  5. In verses 27 and 28 Solomon gives further advice for what to avoid in life. What is it that he teaches us to avoid?

Answers

  1. The emphasis of God’s counsel for living in this portion of chapter 7 is to avoid extremes and to practice moderation.
  2. Some of the negative characteristics that can result from the practice of excessive righteousness are pharisaical self-righteousness, perfectionism, legalism, hypercriticism and an unforgiving spirit. It can also lead to extreme asceticism.
  3. The godly guidelines given for the believer who is unfairly criticized is to avoid revenge. Instead, we should practice self-control and self-restraint because we realize that no one is perfect (v 20), and because we have certainly criticized others unfairly (v 22).
  4. The common experience of life that we are counseled to avoid in verses 23-26 is temptation. While acknowledging that wisdom is not easy to attain (vs 23-25), Solomon clearly recognized the reality of temptation even in the life of the wise person and the importance of avoiding it. To yield to temptation is folly and the way of a fool, but to resist temptation is the way of wisdom and is the way of living that pleases God.
  5. In verses 27 and 28, Solomon teaches us to avoid “putting people on pedestals.” Truly wise and upright people are rare, both men and women, so it is valuable godly guidance to consider people around you with a proper and realistic perspective so that you will not be disappointed if and when they fail.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Discuss the importance of learning not only the right and proper ways of life for the believer, but also the importance of learning those ways of life that are to be avoided. Identify portions of the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments that give specific guidance in these areas. Consider those areas of your own life where changes need to be made in concurrence with the biblical counsel that you discover.

Challenge

  1. Do you pray regularly for the wisdom and insight to properly discern the truths and guidelines for living found in God’s Word? Do you quickly recognize as false teachers those who proudly proclaim worldly philosophies? Be diligent in studying the Scriptures, seek out godly counselors and become part of a church body where the Word is spoken truthfully, so that you will be able to consistently discern worldly, erroneous explanations.

Key Verses

  • “Do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times your own heart has known that even you have cursed others.” Ecclesiastes 7:21, 22

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