All That My Eyes Desired

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 1:16-18, Ecclesiastes 2:1-26, Proverbs 3:13-26
Lesson: 3
Solomon pursues wisdom, but he finds meaninglessness in pleasure and despair about how he will be remembered after his inevitable death.
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Good morning, Happy Sabbath. Like to welcome those of you who are joining us for another study here at Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church here in sunny, Sacramento, California. We're so glad that you are tuning in.

And this morning I'd like to welcome those of you who are watching 3 weeks delayed on the various networks, watching live on the internet this morning and listening on the radio. We're so glad that you are tuning in and being a part of our Sabbath school family here at central church. Pull out your hymnals. We're going to start singing the favorite requests that have come in. And the first one you'll find on 449, "never part again.

" This comes from lashondra from the netherland antilles, darlington maloney from bridgetown, barbados and kareen hutchinson from west indies, jamaica. Happy Sabbath to each of you that are watching this morning and sent in requests, 449, first and last verse... [Music] I want you to sing this; think about the words as you're singing this, okay? We're in heaven, we're never parting again; are you looking forward to that? We're never gonna part again and we're going to be with Jesus forever. Now, think about the words, smile and sing the last verse, okay? Isn't that beautiful? Amen. Our opening song this morning is a request from--if you could see my list--you see all these names down here? Let me start.

It's a favorite, 528, "a shelter in the time of storm." Let's see. Getralene from the Philippines, francisca from ghana, barbara from Hawaii, marsha from jamaica, theresa from barbados, joanne from New York, william from the netherland antilles, catherine from queens village, New York, cametta from bahamas, earlan from hunter army field in Georgia, thorlo from Kingston, jamaica, Ruth, south australia, varan from tamil nadu, india, my favorite place on the planet, calvin from calgary, Canada, yonard from saint louis, the Philippines, joanne from brooklyn, New York, namsou from manchester, lancashire, england and tina mcdonahue from billings, Montana. And here's a good one. How do you say his name, doc? Gaitano gaitano from rome, italy. And he says, "greetings from the seven churches in rome, Happy Sabbath.

" , "A shelter in the time of storm." And we will do all four verses... [Music] Thank you so much for sending in your song requests. And to each one of you that sent them in this morning, thank you so much. We hope that you enjoyed singing along with us. And please continue to keep sending those in.

You can go to our website at and click on the music link. And we will do our best to sing your favorite on an upcoming Sabbath. At this time though, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for each person that is here this morning and those who are joining us from across the country and around the world. We thank you so much for each and every one of them.

And I know that you know who they are even though we don't. I pray that they will feel a part of our Sabbath school family here at central church. Father, we thank you for another Sabbath, for bringing us together to worship you, to praise your name through songs and spending time with you in Your Word. I pray that you'll be with our speaker this morning as well in a special way as he brings us the lesson study. In Jesus' Name, amen.

At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by pastor mike thompson, who is the health and outreach pastor here at central. Thank you, debbie. I'm not very healthy this morning. I sound like a frog. But as long as I don't turn into one, that's all that matters.

So Happy Sabbath. And a happy new year. I can say that, those of you watching on camera, I can say it to the people here because we're back in time right now. It'll already be 2007 by the time you see this. But anyway, Happy Sabbath to you.

The sun's shining. Are you blessed? Praise the Lord. So am i. I'm uncommonly blessed this morning and I thank the Lord for that. We're looking in Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiastes.

It's lesson number 3 and it's called "all that my eyes desired," pretty powerful lesson, quite a title when you think about it. There's a lot of people in this world, they look and they want. And we're looking at Solomon today. And he had the same desire to look and want. And what's more, he had the means to get it.

And he has a sad tale to tell as a consequence. But let's look at our memory verse, Ecclesiastes 2:22, which is in the lesson. It's from the new king James version and I'll read it. It's a question actually. "For what hath man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun?" It's a good question.

Maybe we could rephrase it. What is the end result that you get for striving and working for the worldly pleasures, while you still have a few years of life left? That's really what it's all about here. And you know there's a lot of people, they would say, "well, if you get it, you're successful," because that is success. People define success, many people define success in this world, if there's something you see and you can get it, hey, you did good. Well, you know, as Christians, we need to, we need a different definition of success.

And hopefully we have one. There was a radio ad I first heard on the radio, about, a few months ago. And it went pretty much like this. I'm paraphrasing a little bit, but I know this little bit at the beginning I did get right. It says, "all your hard work has finally paid off.

All your hard work has finally paid off. Now get the kind of home that you deserve." And then it's advertising these exclusive homes up in the hills. By the way, if you have a nice home up in the hills, that's perfectly fine. I didn't mean that. But it's when we take these things and we make idols of them, this is kind of what we're looking at this morning.

So if you define success as having a nice, exclusive home up in the hills as a sign of success, as a reward for all your labor, then just pause a minute and consider and let's read about what Solomon got through all his hard work, all the worldly success he achieved. I'd like us to look in Ecclesiastes 2, Ecclesiastes 2 and we're looking at, gonna look at verses 4 through 10. And let's see the success that Solomon achieved with all his hard work. Verse 4, he says, "I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit: I made me pools of water to water, to water wherewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of Kings and of the provinces: I got me men singers and women singers, and all the delights of The Sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom reMained with me.

" And here he says, it says, "and whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them," I remember when I was about 18, when I was in a rock-n-roll band, there was this American rock star who was big in england. His name was scott walker. Forget the name. Probably don't know it anyway. But my mother, who was a rock fan believe it or not, she was reading this article by scott walker.

And here he was, he was an icon of british pop in the '60s. And she says, "listen to what he wrote here mike." And he said, "I deny myself nothing." And at the time I thought, "wow," you know, "he's a rock star. He can everything and anything that he wants." And at the time that kind of impressed me. But you know as you wise up, and especially as you become a Christian, you realize that to get everything that you--to deny yourself nothing is a prescription for total failure in this life, destruction of mind, body, and loss of eternal life. And here's, you know, Solomon he might as well have been the scott walker of his age.

It says he has man singers and women singers, so he had the music going on as well. Then he says, "whatever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor: and this was my portion of all my labor." Now, if you read these few verses to a lot of people today, and you said, "listen to this. Now, what does this define to you?" They'd say, "success. Yeah, that man had it and I want it too." We haven't changed, you know. Human nature's just the same.

But if we define success as acquiring possessions, as truly Solomon did, then he was certainly successful. If we define success as an ongoing pleasure excursion like, you know, retiring on a caribbean cruise ship, then man, he was successful. But in spite of all this acquiring and all this--all this pleasure and all this wine, women, and song, and acquiring whatsoever his eyes desired, you know what he finally had to say about all this? Verse 11, it says, "then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold," what was it, David? "All was vanity and vexation of spirit, there was no profit under the sun." A lot of people today would say, "oh no, that can't be true. You can't, you can't feel like--if you've got everything man, you can never feel like that." Listen to the man who had been there, who wrote these words not based on just his own experience, but through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in his later years. "All is vanity and vexation of spirit," just chasing the wind.

You know, there's so many people today, the devil comes along and he holds that little golden carrot and he [blows] blows it a little bit in front of them and they'll chase it. And they'll go off the precipice. They don't care as long as they can get that--chase the wind and catch--catch the dream. And what do you get? The dream turns out to be a nightmare, because there's a lot of people that they close their eyes in death, they go down to the grave in their sins. And next thing they wake up, it's gonna be the second resurrection and they'll wonder, "what's going on here?" And then the great white throne judgment, and the truth will dawn.

They've sold their souls cheap, just for the sake of chasing the wind. Read the word, my friends. Read the word, 'cause this is God's Word to us. Read Ecclesiastes and Proverbs. Read the counsel of the man who'd been there and had it all, and said when it was all done, "all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

" And so it should have been, because after all there were some things that Solomon did which were outright sinful. And we'll look at some of those a little later on this morning. But there were many things, which were not sinful in themselves, but they became a curse because of the antediluvians. He just took some good things, but took them to excess in his vain pursuit, this insane pursuit after the pleasures of this world. Beloved, my dear friends, and I can call you that because I really do love you.

I really do. I really love you. Jesus has not called us to become pleasure-seekers. He has called us to become treasure-seekers. And as we seek the treasure of eternal life, then along the way we will find some pleasures, the true pleasures that God wants us to enjoy, the pleasures of joy and peace and fellowship that we have this morning here with pastor mike who loves you all.

Isn't that a wonderful treasure? You love me too. Well, that's good. I was hoping somebody would say that. You know, those are the true pleasures. And you know in the Bible it says, speaking of God, "thy right hand," how does it go now? "Thy right hand is fullness of joy.

" "In thy presence is fullness of joy, thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore." These are the pleasures that God wants us to have, 'cause they're wholesome pleasures. But when we seek the pleasures under this sun, under the sun, friends, and that becomes the sole purpose of life, the end will be like Solomon said, "it's all vanity and vexation of spirit." You know, for those of you who are watching out there in wherever you are in england or whatever parts of the world, we live here in California. And just 100 miles, just over miles east in Nevada, there's reno. And the people from reno come in Sacramento and they put up their big billboards for these casinos. And they say, "come over here.

You'll have a lot of fun," you know. "We'll take your money, but you'll have a lot of fun while we're robbing you blind." And some people will look at that and say, "wow, to live in a state where you can go gambling and it's legal." Well, you can on the reservations of course. Some people would give anything to come all the way from england, australia to do this very thing. But you know what? As you look at the billboards in Sacramento for gambling, I noticed three billboards that have gone up just recently about people who need help with gambling addiction. You see.

So what does it lead to? "All is vanity and vexation of spirit." So what did Jesus tell us? He says, "what does it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" It's just not worth it. And the sad thing is, my dear friends, there are multitudes upon multitudes that will be eternally lost on this very point here, not because they actually gained the world, but they spent their whole life trying to get it, just this mad scramble of seeking to possess, 'til it becomes an all-consuming passion to the exclusion of the God who made them, the God who created them, the God who loved them so much he gave them the best gift of all, the gift of a Savior. And what did they do? Well, what did we do? We took that gift of love and we nailed it to a cross. But praise God, we have a chance to say, "thank you, Lord," and appreciate that gift that we nailed to a cross. Can you say amen? Well, just in time Solomon finally learned the all-important lesson of the things that really matter.

And so he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes hoping it might help a few young men and a few young women and a few older ones to wise up if they're on the same path that he was on. And so we need to read the book of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs, written before some of them, some before, some after, but it's still truth. But before we go any further, I'd like to pause a moment and mention something about Solomon and the way that he learned to become wise. At the end of his life Solomon could speak of wisdom from two standpoints. He could speak of the wisdom he received in his early years, when from God he received the wisdom of divine foresight to preserve him from the pitfalls of going off the path.

There was that, the wisdom of divine foresight. And then later in his years, he wrote about the wisdom of human hindsight. And it's too bad he had to learn that way, but nonetheless he did. So he speaks about the wisdom of human hindsight, looking back on how he rejected the counsels of the God who loved him and wanted to preserve his life. And he learned the lessons through suffering, through reaping the consequences of the stupidity of his sins.

And so in our warfare, in our Christian war, which kind of wisdom do you want, my friend? Do you want the wisdom of divine foresight, or do you want the wisdom of divine hindsight? Well, which makes the most sense? Which one? The foresight, absolutely, you know. But you try telling some people that, you know, especially the young who know it all. I was young once. I'm speaking in the context of when I was young, you know. My dad would try and tell me stuff.

"Can't tell me. I'm 17," you know, "I know everything." I'm 60 next year in 2007, in case you were wondering; I'll be 60 years old. And I think I'm a little wiser now than when I was 17, but Lord may have to give me a few more years just to get this head firmly on the right way. But which road do you want to walk down? If God says to you, "don't walk down this road, you will break your leg." Then what should you do or not do? Don't go down the road, 'cause you'll break your leg, right? But if you disregard God's instruction--then that is being wise, that is taking advantage of the wisdom of divine foresight. But if you go down the road, and you break your leg and you suffer the consequences, then you wise up, but it's the wisdom of human hindsight.

And you realize that wasn't such a smart way to go, was it? But you know what? If you could have been smart before you went down the road, hey, how better it would have been. But you know actually it might almost be a blessing if we suffered a broken leg every time we went down the wrong road. Don't you think? I do know this. A bunch of our legs would be full of metal if we did. I just know this for a fact.

But it would almost be a blessing if we suffered a broken leg every time we rejected the wisdom of God's foresight and took the road of our own choosing. For sure we'd think more than twice about going down that road again, especially if you know that down that road you're going to break a leg. And on top of that, you know, broken legs are not very attractive and they're not very addictive in nature, are they? But the sad things is most roads people go down wrong, they don't break legs, where they would say, "oh, this is bad. I'm gonna take a u-turn." They go down roads where there's not the blessing of a broken leg. They go down roads which lead into addiction, into sin.

And they find themselves bound by passion and by the devil. And he drives them further onward and downward on a road to eternal ruin. And this is why, you see, let us be wise in the wisdom of God's divine foresight. And that's what he gave Solomon. That's what God gave Solomon.

And while Solomon accepted and utilized if I may use that term, the gift of the wisdom of God's foresight, he was blessed. Not only was he blessed, he was safe. He was under the shadow of God's wing. And you know, the only place to be is under the shadow of God's wing, because out there flying the coop with your own wisdom it's a risky place to be. And many fly the coop and they never come back.

Let's not be that way, can we? Let's not do that. But Solomon hastened down this road in his thirst for carnal pleasure. And we're going to read again in Ecclesiastes 2:1-3. "I said in my heart, 'come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure;' but surely, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, 'madness!'; And of mirth, 'what does it accomplish?' I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, 'til I might see what was good for The Sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.

" Thank you very much, Michael. "I said in my heart, 'go now, prove thee with mirth.'" Just have a good old time, wine, women and song and acquiring wealth and all those things which some people would still say, "oh, that is success." Forget it, friends. It's garbage. It is total garbage. Now, we're on about pleasure.

He gave himself up to seek pleasure. Alright, there's two things I want to say about pleasure this morning. I already quoted before, psalm 16:11. It says, "in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." The pleasures we enjoy as we're treasure-seekers, are pleasures that do more, do far more than just stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain. They're spiritual in nature, you see.

They're spiritual pleasures, spiritual pleasures that come to us. And as a consequence, they satisfy the deep longings of the human heart, which everybody has. You see these people driving into these casinos. Why are they driven in there? Because there's a big hole in their heart, which they've been duped to believe that if you fill this with the pleasures of gambling or alcohol, you'll feel complete. And so they go it, they blow their money, they drink themselves into oblivion, and when they come out, or when they wake them from their hangover, that hole is just as big as ever.

But the pleasures we find as treasure-keepers, treasure-seekers is spiritual in nature. And they water the soul. They satisfy the deepest longings of the human soul. They satisfy the inner hunger. They quell the restlessness and the stirrings of the natural heart of the inner soul.

They comfort. They content. They satisfy so completely that we don't have to go and drink at the broken cisterns of this world. Do you know what I'm talking about? You do. Do you know what I'm talking about? You know the difference? You do? Okay, good.

We need to know the difference, friends. There is only one person who can satisfy that inner thirsting, which Solomon was looking after, seeking. And he knew where it came from, but he became insane, if you like, going down the wrong path. The one who can satisfy that longing is Jesus. Let's turn to John 6:35.

I'd like someone to read John 6:35. "And Jesus said unto them, 'I am the bread of life. He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.'" Thank you. A lot of people they hunger and thirst, but they don't go to Jesus. They go to the wrong place.

So they come out just as hungry. Okay birdie, John 7:37-38, please. "On the last day--on the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.'" Thank you very much. Now there's a context, especially to that last verse, which we're going to look at in just a second.

Well, this last verse, we tend to kind of apply it to worldlings, you know. We tend to apply Jesus talking to worldlings about, "come out of the bars," you know, "come out of the casino," or "stop drinking at the broken pleasure systems of this world and find spiritual refreshment in me." We tend to look at it in the respect of worldlings, but the context is not worldlings. Jesus is speaking to people in the church. It says in there, "the last day of the feast," the feast, we're looking at the feast of tabernacles, which took place in Jerusalem. It says, "on the last day, that great day of the feast," feast of tabernacles, "Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'if anyone thirsts," if any man thirsts, "let him come unto me and drink.

For as the Scripture sayeth, out his belly shall flow rivers of living water.'" He's calling his people. He's calling the jews out of dead, formal religion that has lost its meaning, in which they can find no pleasure, because you know, there's pleasure in religion, you know. Some people seek pleasure. They want the pleasure, the Spiritual pleasure of religion, but if it's a dead, dry, formal religion, you don't get no pleasure. Jesus knew this.

And he says, "come unto me. Come unto me and drink." So he bids them leave aside all this dead stuff that had lost its meaning and find new life in him. In fact, if you have the book, "Desire of Ages," read the chapter called, "the feast of tabernacles," and it enlarges on this whole things here. It describes beautifully the last ceremony on the day when the priest walks up the steps, gets some water from the kidron, goes up the steps, pours it down with some wine. And it represents the rock smitten in the wilderness, which was Jesus.

And they'd gone through this ceremony of the rock being smitten. And they were just dry, because what had happened for--the feast of tabernacle, lasted a few days, the people had gone through an endless round of ceremonies. Their senses are being bedazzled and the sights and the sounds and the pomp and all the circumstance. There's a lot of religious hype, if you like, which you know stimulated the senses, but it didn't bring them the pleasure and the Spiritual pleasure and fulfillment in their hearts. It didn't satisfy the longing of their soul.

Only Jesus could do that. And he knew this. And so he cried out, "if any man thirsts, let him come unto me and drink." And you know I believe, my friends, there are many sincere Christians today who hunger and thirst for the pure pleasures, the pleasures that God wants them to have, the pleasures of pure religion, but they can't find it, because it's buried under a pile of cold formalism and legalism. So Jesus calls them. He says, "come unto me and drink.

" And on the other extreme, I believe there's many sincere Christians who seek the true pleasures of fellowship with Jesus, but they can't find him because they're fed a watered-down diet of weak biblical teaching. And they're given a lot of entertainment and musical hype, you know, that stirs the passion, stirs the soul, brings them, makes them laugh one minute, makes them cry the next. Let's bring on the Christian comedians, you know. Make 'em laugh. Make 'em cry.

Emotions are a powerful thing to reach into the mind and start meddling around with. And people get these ups and surges of passion and pleasure and they think that's the Holy Spirit. Well, be careful. There's a difference between the Holy Spirit and a comedian. There's a difference between the Holy Spirit and a nice piece of music.

You can listen to some beautiful, classical music. It can move you, but that's not the Holy Spirit, friends. No, we need to know. And so today there's a lot of sincere Christians, their seeking their spiritual pleasures, but there's all this hype. And the Word of God is made boiled down to 10 minutes.

And when it's preached, it's just weak pabulum. And people are hungry. You know, it's time to preach the third angel's message. Can you say, "amen?" It's time to preach it, really. Well, it's already been preached, but it's time to preach it more and louder and more far off away than anywhere that we've ever done before, but we can only do it through the Holy Spirit.

But you see, this kind of hype that people, that's passed off today as religion, it stirs the emotions, but it doesn't refresh the inner soul and it does not sanctify the heart and bring it into conformity to the will of God. Let me be more precise, to the point. It doesn't bring them in harmony with the Ten Commandments. Call that legalism if you want. It's not.

It's right there in the Word of God, because in the new testament, God says, "'this is the covenant that I'll make with the house of Israel after those days,' sayeth the Lord. I will take my law and I will put it in their hearts through the Holy Spirit." Right? That is where we find true pleasure, walking in obedience to God, receiving his blessing. That's true religion. And that kind of religion, friends, brings you joy. It brings you joy.

And when people tell you, "you're a legalist," say, "I may be--call me a legalist, but I'll tell you what, I have a lot of fun and a lot of joy in my life. So if that's legalism, bring it on." And so Jesus cries, "come unto me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Now, there's another context of this in verse 39. It says, "this he spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in him would receive." So only the Holy Spirit, Jesus' representative, can do this work of refreshing us in our inmost souls. So I say, let's lay aside the dry, cold formalism and let's lay aside all this contemporary, religious hype on the other hand.

And let us come to Jesus as humble little children confessing our sins, asking for the grace to lay these things aside. And let us seek the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And to receive the Holy Spirit, we must as Jesus said in John 7, he says, "whoever believes in me, believe in me, then the Holy Spirit will bring the living water." We also must remember as well in respect to receiving the living water, through the Holy Spirit, we don't just believe in Jesus, we obey him. Remember in acts 5:32, what does it say there? It says, speaking of the holy ghost, "whom God hath given to them that obey him." Yes, obedience. Oh, do we like that word? We should, because the Bible teaches obedience all the way through.

So let's be Bible-believing Christians and let's walk the walk, let's not just talk the talk. Can you say, "amen?" Which brings me back to Solomon, which is the one we were talking about in the first place. He deliberately went down a road of disobedience. So if God only gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him, as he walk down the path of disobedience, the Holy Spirit vacated his heart. And he lost the true joy, you see.

He lost the true spiritual pleasures that he had experienced before. And so he starts to fill the void now, with possessions and wine, women and song. And it all turns out, when he's had his fill and the mad party's over, he says, "all is vanity and vexation of spirit." He was left to the mercy of a carnal heart. He was taken captive by the lusts of the flesh and driven by satan in an insane quests for earthly pleasure. And the sad thing is, friends, about pleasure, 'cause remember about a half an hour ago, I think I said I wanted to tell you something about pleasure.

Pleasure is something that feeds on itself, earthly pleasure. Pleasures you seek under the sun, it's a vicious circle. It feeds on itself. For example, that first glass of champagne that Solomon drank, looked nice, bubbles, smelled nice, exciting, new drink, never had this before. It gave him a buzz, right? But you know very well that before long you need a second glass to get the buzz.

And before long, as you get used to it, you need a third glass. And then champagne's a little weak, you know. Bring on the southern comfort, which is actually southern discomfort, because it never did--i remember once talking to a friend, I've lost contact with him, his name was brian jones. He was a Bible worker. Brian, if by chance, you ever watch this, this is a story he told me once.

He was once out in the world, he's a minister now. I think he's up in new england somewhere. He said he was out there and he was, he finished up just, you know, down and out. And he had a bottle of southern comfort. He said it was a dismal drink, dismal drink.

But how do you finish up with a bottle of southern comfort in your hand? You finish up with a bottle of southern comfort by taking one glass of maybe something a little weaker until you want the stronger stuff. And that's the whole thing, you see, with the pleasure cycle. It feeds upon itself. And because of this there are thousands of people every day around this world. They sacrifice their eternal life on the alter of pleasure-seeking.

They have no idea when they set out that that's where they're going to finish up. But that's where they do finish up. Sin has a big price tag. It's a high price to pay. I was working once at a vegetarian restaurant in chattanooga, tennessee.

And this man called--I'm a southern boy, Michael--there was this man called al glance. He was a colporteur. He came in one day and I was on the cash register. He came in and he came up to the cash register. He looked right in my face.

And I kind of like, "whoa. Okay, al." He said, "I want to tell you something." I said, "what?" He said, "sin will take you further than you want to go. It'll take you deeper than you want to go. It'll make you pay more than you want to pay. It'll keep you there longer than what you want to stay.

" Then he left. And I thought, "well, that's true." And that is the price tag. And that price tag, the devil dangles the golden carrot, but the price tag he keeps behind his back, until you're down near the precipice. And the carrot, the price tag and you, they all go down together at the same time. Book of Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, oh there's some beautiful things.

I started reading in Proverbs just recently, even before I knew I was going to teach this lesson. Some of the wonderful things, near the beginning here, I just love these things. They really speak to my soul. I'm going off the lesson a bit here, but I want to read you this. When I was in a rock-n-roll band, before I knew about the Sabbath, but I started reading the Bible.

I had my grandfather's old Bible. And before I'd go out on a gig on a Friday night, I started reading Proverbs. And I remember reading this here and it kind of spoke to me. I didn't respond to it straight away. It was a little while later, but finally I did.

And I was baptized in 1969. But listen to this. This is God speaking to us. This is God who loves you. "My son," try and hear his voice speaking to you softly as a father.

It says, "my son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them," where? "In the midst of thine heart." I'm going to come back to this if we have time. "For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a forward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil." You know who wrote those words, don't you? Solomon. It's almost ironic. But he wrote those words.

And though he strayed off the path, those words are still true, 'cause they were given to him by the Holy Spirit. But thousands sacrificed themselves with pleasure. And Psalms 16:4, it says, "their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another God." Well, Solomon's sorrows became especially multiplied because he hastened not just after one God, but many Gods. It's hard to imagine how somebody who was initially so spiritually enlightened, so pure in his heart, could ascend to such depths of depravity. And finish up, encased and entombed in a place of such spiritual darkness as Solomon did, but he did.

We ask you know, why, how, how? Well, one thing he was wise. And he began to take that, kind of, for granted, you know. He became proud of his wisdom, which was a gift from God. But along with that, he did something which--should have known better. Let's turn to 1 Kings 11:1-5, Kings 11:1-5.

Yeah, there'll be some men in the world who would say, "hey, this is success." Bring it on. But I tell you, friends, it's scary when you read it. Kings 11:1, here's where he went wrong. "But king Solomon loved many strange women, together--" nothing against the ladies, but these were strange ladies who he was not supposed to associate with. "Together with the daughter of pharaoh, women of the moabites, ammonites, edomites, zidonians, and hittites: of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their Gods:" it says, "Solomon clave unto these in love," actually in lust.

Verse 3, look at this: "he had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other Gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after ashtoreth the Goddess of the zidonians, and after milcom the abomination of the ammonites." Milcom, another name was that was moloch, a chemosh. You know what moloch was? Moloch was this hideous-looking metal, hollow, metal God that they filled with fire. Fire came out of his mouth.

He had these big hands and they'd heat him up red hot. And they'd take their innocent little babies and drop them in his hands. Isn't that awful? I don't want to sound too graphic. I didn't mean to do it in that way, but that's what they did. This man, this man allowed these abominations to be in the temple precincts.

This man who had seen the glory of God sent down upon the temple, when the temple was dedicated, he saw the glory of God with those eyes. And yet these eyes became so dark, he beheld moloch, burning little babies. You might say, "oh, that'll never happen to me." Don't fool yourself. Don't fool yourself. Jeremiah 17 says, "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Your heart and my heart is no different to Solomon's.

The only thing led by our hearts can be lifted up and purified is through Jesus Christ. It's only through Jesus. And the more you realize that, the better off you will be, friend. And the more you realize that 'til you're poor in spirit, the better off you will be. Because of necessity, as you sense your own inability to generate anything that is righteous, the more you'll cling to Jesus.

And we're told by the servant of the Lord, "while you do this, you will never perish," never. So cling to him, whatever you do, cling to him. And so he did all of these things. Remember Solomon's boast, he said, "whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them." Surely isn't this the hedonist's cry of delight? You know, hedonism, hedonism, just if it feels good, do it. If you want to eat it, eat it.

If you want to smell it, smell it. Whatever it is. If it's there and you want it, just do it. Well, after all the physical thrills have run their course and there wasn't a pleasure Solomon hadn't tasted, he found what was left was not really delightful at all. It was all vanity and vexation of spirit.

And with 700 wives to try and keep happy, I'm not surprised. Boy, it must have been quite a road. But you know, getting back here to Solomon and his wives, we really can't blame his wives. They were pagans. They knew no better.

You know, you can't blame them. Solomon's downfall was his own fault. And it began where? "With these eyes," he says. "Whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them." It was his eyes, the direction of his eyes. It was the focus of his vision.

His eyes began to wonder from beholding God; he lingered upon other things. His eyes turned away from beholding the Word of God. And his eyes descended. And he started to contemplate and gaze upon strange, beautiful and infatuating women, which satan used to steal his affections from God. And we spoke of his eyes, but I actually said his heart.

It stole his heart away from God. Because it was Solomon's heart that strayed long before his eyes did, because your eyes actually are just an instrument of vision. Your eyes are a servant to your heart. Your eyes will go in the direction of the things that your heart wants to behold and contemplate. In fact, it really wasn't his eyes, it was a heart problem that Solomon had.

And that's, that's where he went wrong. And so for this reason, if his heart had reMained pure, then his eyes would have contemplated pure things. Can you agree with that? Let's learn the same lesson, friends, realizing that the Bible has much to say about the heart being kept pure. Let's in closing, let's just read a few little verses here. I'd like us to go to Proverbs 4:20-21 and I'd like somebody to read that if they would.

"My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart." Thank you, David. So he says, "let them not depart from thine eyes," but where do you keep 'em? In your heart, you see your eyes are just an instrument. Keep them in your eyes. Cherish these things--sorry, cherish these things in your heart.

Proverbs 4:23, which I read earlier, it says, "keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." If you read Proverbs 7, if you get time--go there and let's go there real quickly. He says, "my son, keep my words, and lay my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye." But verse 3, "bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon," what? "The table of thine heart." That's where we have to have the truth, in the heart. Verse 5, you know, his downfall is a lot of strange women, so let's look at this theme here about following after a woman that a man should not. Looking verse 5, "that they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.

" Let's move on here. Then he speaks about this young man who, Solomon's looking out the window and he sees this young man. And just look here what he's talking about. "For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, and I beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding." And he's describing about this young man, he goes down the road and this harlot meets him and she flashes her eyelids. And he goes--well, what's the term he uses here? Let's have a look.

"Like an ox to the slaughter," I believe he says. Yeah. Verse 21, he says, "with her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him." And then verse 22, "he goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter." And verse 27, "her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death." Let's look at another one: psalm 139, psalm 139:23-24. I'd like someone to read it if they would, please. "Search me, o God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

" Thank you, andrew. There's other verses. I'm gonna have to cut those short, but I want to say this. I was reading this morning from "Desire of Ages," chapter called, "among snares," and it speaks about the woman taken in adultery. And you should read it.

It's towards the end of it, there's other things in the chapter, but especially this toward the end, the woman taken in adultery. She sold herself. She sold herself cheap. She made merchandise of her body. I know there's scheming of some of the men who were involved in this.

Solomon made merchandise of his body as well; became defiled through sexual immorality and impurity. And if there's one thing that will just defile the body and destroy it, this sexual immorality. God wants us to be pure, my friends. He wants us to be pure. And your body can only be physically pure if you're pure in your heart.

But it's very moving how God, in spite of everything Solomon did, God was merciful to him when Solomon turned around. the Lord forget--for burning babies, surely he'd sinned away his day of grace. No, God forgave him and we can be encouraged by that, same way that Jesus forgave this woman taken in adultery. We got about a minute left. I just want to read this little paragraph of, here's Jesus, here's the woman, she's crying and trembling on the floor.

Jesus has said, "whosoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone." And the woman is waiting, waiting for the stones to be cast. And Jesus gets down in the dust and is writing with his finger in the dust. And these men who have brought her to get her stoned, to get Jesus into trouble, they're looking. And they see Jesus writing their sins on the floor. And one by one they decided that they don't want to be around here any longer.

They take off. 'Til finally it's just Jesus with this one lady. And she's trembling. She's afraid. She's defiled.

And she thinks, "this is it. He's gonna stone me." And she looks up and her accusers are gone. And Jesus says, "where are your accusers?" And she says, "I don't know, Lord." And this is what the servant of the Lord says here. "In astonishment she saw her accusers depart speechless and confounded; then those words of hope fell upon her ear, 'neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.' Her heart was melted, and she cast herself at the feet of Jesus, sobbing out her grateful love, and with bitter tears confessing her sins. In his act of pardoning this woman and encouraging her to live a better life, the character of Jesus shines forth in the beauty of perfect righteousness.

While he does not palliate sin, nor lessen the sense of guilt, he seeks not to condemn, but to save. The world had for this erring woman only contempt and scorn; but Jesus speaks words of comfort and hope. The sinless one pities the weakness of the sinner, and reaches to her a helping hand. While the hypocritical pharisees denounce her, Jesus bids her, 'go, and sin no more.'" There's a free offer here, offer number 708, called "tips for resisting temptation." Sounds like a good book. So if you call Amazing Facts, the number is 866-788-3966, they will send this to you.

This is just in the United States of America. Free offer number 708, "tips for resisting temptation," -788-3966.

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