Ecclesiastes 7:10-18 “Who Can Make That Straight Which He Hath Made Crooked?”

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Ecc 7:10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
Ecc 7:11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.
Ecc 7:12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.
Ecc 7:13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?
Ecc 7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
Ecc 7:15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.
Ecc 7:16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?
Ecc 7:17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?
Ecc 7:18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.

Introduction

King Solomon, as an old Testament type of who we are after our deadly wound is healed, just as Job, another type of who we are in this apostatized state, certainly does not see himself as such.
This is how both of these men feel concerning themselves as types of you and me at this time in our own walk:

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
1Ki 10:23 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.
Pro 30:20 Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 18:7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

It is while we are in this self- righteous, yet rebellious and God- condemning state of mind, that our own day of judgment begins. As it proceeds and intensifies, we all look back and remember better days in these clay vessels and yearn to be back in that immature but comfortable time of our walk.
Here is how the nation of Israel reacted to being judged of God during her time spent in the wilderness:

Exo 16:3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
Num 11:5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:
Num 14:4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.

The scriptures reveal that we are all on the same predestined, already written course which includes ‘every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God… the things written in [ our] book, and the things written in the revelation of Jesus Christ.’ That predestined path includes backsliding and going into Babylon, but it is not given to us to forget that we come out of Egypt.

Hos 11:5 They shall not return into the land of Egypt; but the Assyrian [ Babylon] shall be their king, because they refused to return to me.

Let’s let Christ Himself tell us whether this is true, and whether this is the sum of His word on who we are and what is our fate:

Psa 139:16 Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them.
Psa 139:17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!
Ecc 9:2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

We are predestined according to the purpose God has written in His book, even the days that were ordained for us when as yet there were none of them. It is all one event that comes to all “each in his own order”, and as those “who first trusted in Christ”, it does not behoove us to ever want to go backward, either in time or in circumstance.
So we begin this study with this admonition:

Ecc 7:10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

When we are thinking that yesterday was better than today, we are listening to the laughter of fools, of which we were just told:

Ecc 7:6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.

We have just been told this Truth:

Ecc 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.

We were also just told:

Ecc 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

It is not wise to believe that everything would be great if we could just return to our youth or go back to better times. The times that are were ordained of God “when as yet there was none of them”.
So King Solomon is inspired to utter these words which are very uncharacteristic of this book of Ecclesiastes:

Ecc 7:11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.
Ecc 7:12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

Wisdom is good with an inheritance, and by it [ that wisdom] there is profit to them that see the Sun”. Who is it to whom these words apply? This is what we are told:

Eph 1:8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
Eph 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

If indeed God is working all things after the counsel of His own will, then we need to consider that this includes the things He had made crooked as well as the things he is making straight:

Ecc 7:13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?

Yes, that is what the scriptures actually teach. They do not teach that the king of Babylon is Lucifer, but they do teach that the serpent was made crooked by God Himself:

Job 26:13 By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.

“His hand has formed the crooked serpent” is demonstrated for us in Job 1 and 2:

Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
Job 1:10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
Job 1:11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
Job 1:12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

Satan, knowing full well what God’s hand was capable of doing, tells God “put forth thy hand”. God in turn tells Satan that He is placing Job in Satan’s hand so God’s hand could “touch all that he hath”.
The same scenario is repeated in the second chapter just to demonstrate for us that we cannot make straight what God has made crooked.

Job 2:4 And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
Job 2:5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
Job 2:6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
Job 2:7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

Satan is demonstrated to be nothing less than the hand of God by which God makes things crooked. But like Job and like King Solomon, before we are tried by being brought to see that we ourselves are “made wicked for the day of evil”, we first experience a “day of prosperity” both in Egypt and in Babylon. Like Job before him, and like King Saul, King David, and King Solomon, we are all first caused to experience our own “day of prosperity”. And just like the prodigal son, we are given to be joyful in the “pleasures of sin for a season”, but we are also warned of what is the certain fruit of that carnal prosperity:

Ecc 7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

God gives us periods of reprieve between days of adversity, nevertheless He is straightforward in letting us know the facts concerning the calling we are being given:

Joh 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

We are not being told that if we will just come out of the world we will not suffer or have tribulation. That doctrine comes out of the mouth of men who love to preach “smooth things” for gain.

Isa 30:8 Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:
Isa 30:9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:
Isa 30:10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:

Here is what “in me you might have peace” means:

Php 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. [“In me… have peace”]
Php 4:12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2Co 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
2Co 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
2Co 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
2Co 4:11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

These are wonderful things to know, but they are not “smooth things” which appeal to our corruptible flesh. The truth is that God has, by His own design, “set… the day of prosperity… over against… the day of adversity… to the end that man should find nothing after him”. King Solomon reiterates this principle near the end of this book in these words:

Ecc 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

Walking in the ways of our deceitful heart and in the sight of our lust- filled eyes is exactly what we all do as prodigal sons, and it is all designed as such by our God who sent His Son to save repentant sinners and not the self- righteous:

Luk 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Luk 15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:
Luk 15:12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
Luk 15:13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
Luk 15:14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
Luk 15:15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
Luk 15:16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
Luk 15:17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
Luk 15:18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
Luk 15:19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
Luk 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
Luk 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
Luk 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
Luk 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
Luk 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Job is the type of God’s elect who in type “came to himself” in this age. As far as what is written King Solomon did not ‘come to himself’ before he died still trying to serve both God and the gods of his Pagan wives. He died unaware of this truth:

1Co 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.

We cannot continue in service to, or in fellowship with, the great harlot and her many harlot daughters as King Solomon attempted to do. Rather this is what we are plainly admonished:

Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

“To the end that man should find nothing after him”. Truly there is nothing to be inherited in the flesh after the death of our flesh. Yet that is exactly what the flesh refuses to acknowledge. The flesh still clings to the first and most powerful lie ever told:

Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

This is true to the extent that many in Babylon have coined the phrase ‘eternal spiritual flesh’. But all false doctrines to the contrary, the Truth remains that:

1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

… and…

1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

This fact is like so many things God is doing which our flesh simply does not like or appreciate. In our naturally self- righteous state, we make this observation:

Ecc 7:15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.

Job had this same complaint with God:

Job 21:7 Wherefore [ Why] do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?
Job 21:8 Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.
Job 21:9 Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.
Job 21:10 Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.
Job 21:11 They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.
Job 21:12 They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.
Job 21:13 They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.
Job 21:14 Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.
Job 21:15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?

King Solomon is granted to give us some good advice concerning things like this which are none of our concern, but are “the hand of God” working in the lives of men.

Ecc 7:16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?
Ecc 7:17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?

We have no righteousness at all, so why would we make ourselves “righteous over much [ or] over wise”?

Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

When our eyes are opened we are made to acknowledge that we are not even wicked of ourselves, and that the truth is that even our “day of evil” is the working of the Lord:

Pro 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Pro 20:24 Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?
Gen 45:8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
Isa 63:17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants’ sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.
Rom 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Being told not to be righteous, wise or wicked over much, is just another way of saying this:

Luk 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

It behooves us to acknowledge what Solomon does not even realize He is revealing here. What this great, wise king is telling us without even realizing it, is that God is working all things after the counsel of His own will, and it is futile for us to think that we can be righteous, wise, or even wicked, of ourselves.
So he concludes with some very wise words indeed:

Ecc 7:18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.

Wow! What happened to “All is vanity and a vexation of spirit”? He that fears God shall indeed be the first to come forth of them all.

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Eph 1:8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
Eph 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in [ the] Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

In our next study we will learn what is the spiritual meaning of “more bitter than death [ is] the woman, whose heart is snares and nets”.

Ecc 7:19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.
Ecc 7:20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
Ecc 7:21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
Ecc 7:22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
Ecc 7:23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.
Ecc 7:24 That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?
Ecc 7:25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:
Ecc 7:26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
Ecc 7:27 Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:
Ecc 7:28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.
Ecc 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

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