Rich Man, Poor Man

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 5:1-20, Matthew 21:28-31, Luke 12:13-21
Lesson: 6
Solomon realizes that human passions, whatever they are, can never be satisfied unless they are surrendered to the Lord.
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you're joining us again for another edition of "central study hour," coming to you from the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church in Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome those of you who are listening on the radio, watching us live on the internet this morning at saccentral.

org, and also watching 3 weeks delayed on the various networks. We're so glad that you are you are tuning in. And at this time, we want you to join us as we sing some requests. The first one you're gonna find in your hymnal. And this comes from anna bochino from tasmania, australia, leticia from weslaco, Texas, linda from west sussex, united kingdom, and joanne riley from brooklyn, New York.

Thank you so much for writing in, 528--529, "under his wings," and we'll do all 3 verses, ... [Music] Thank you so much for writing in with your requests. And I know there's many more of you who have them. And we'd like to sing those with you on an upcoming Sabbath. So go to our website at saccentral.

org, click on the music link, and send them in. And we will sing them together on an upcoming Sabbath. Our opening hymn this morning you'll find on page 75, "the wonder of it all." This is a favorite for laurie warren, from queensland, australia, elma and brenda from new zealand, jenna from saint andrews, granada, steve Johnson from grants pass, Oregon-- and he sends greetings to all his friends at central. Steve used to come here to central. Laurence hay from queensland, australia, alfonso from the Philippines, sonya from west indies, barbados, and roxenne tompkins from hollister, California.

Thank you so much. We'll sing your favorites, , "the wonder of it all," verses 1 and 2... [Music] Father in Heaven, this morning we come before you to praise you and to thank you for being a God who does love us. It is a wonder; it is a mystery how you could leave the glory of heaven and come down to this earth for us. And it is a mystery, but father we thank you that you were willing to make that sacrifice on our behalf.

We thank you so much for also creating the Sabbath for us. And for making this central family that we can enjoy each other's company as we spend time with you on this holy day. I pray that you'll be with our extended family who isn't here, but are joining us. We pray that you'll be with each one in a very special way. We also pray that you'll be with our speaker as he brings us the lesson this morning too.

In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you to our singers. Morning. Good to see each of you here.

And we have a very interesting lesson today in our Sabbath school study time. I want to welcome our friends who are studying with us on television or radio. And you know, I thought I might just take a moment and specifically thank the networks that are carrying this program. I don't know if I've given them any recognition lately. I want to thank 3abn television and radio, hope channel, safe tv, lifestyle television in sweden, and I know I'm forgetting some other ones that are around the country, around the world, many of them around the world.

We get letters from all over the world. And I want to thank them for carrying. They do this for us as a free service. Isn't that wonderful? And so we sure appreciate that. We get a lot of response from people who are studying with us.

I also want to remind you that there are some resources we'd like to tell you about. If you would like to know more about Bible study--we meet people frequently; we've got some who are here at church today for the first time. I won't put them on the spot, but they've been watching on television. And they came, and they said, "you know, we've been watching for a long time." We'd like to encourage you to study. Some people are not here locally, and so they may not be able to visit us here at Sacramento central.

But there's a website you can go to, to continue Bible study. And it's simply called, Bibleuniversity-- all one word-- .com. Go there and enroll in those Bible studies to get better acquainted with the Word of God and the foundational teachings of Christianity. And today we're going through our study on the book of Ecclesiastes; one of the very deep books in the Bible. It's a little bit melancholy in places, but it's a very edifying study, written, we believe, by the wisest man, next to Jesus, who ever lived and--Solomon.

It's sort of a reflection of life. And today we're in chapter number 5 of Ecclesiastes. It happens to be lesson number 6, 'cause of course we had an introduction. And it's called "rich man, poor man." And we have a memory verse for today's study. And the memory verse is in Ecclesiastes 5:10, I'd invite our class here, you at home can join us in saying this out loud.

You have a better chance of memorizing what you actually speak. Ecclesiastes 5:10, you ready? "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor that loveth abundance, with increase. This also is vanity." And now that's actually part of our study today, so I'll comment on that when we get to it. Why don't we go ahead and open; our study today is a complete study in that we are given the challenge of studying Ecclesiastes 5:1-20, the whole chapter. And I thought just to make sure we at least get through it, I'm gonna read it.

So bear with me. It's just 20 verses. I hope you'll follow along as I read. And I'll do my best to read it accurately. Lot of important subjects are being addressed here.

Ecclesiastes 5:1, "walk prudently when you go to the--" oh by the way, I'm reading out of the new king James version. "Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil. Do not be rash with your mouth, and do not let your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let Your Words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, and a fool's voice is known by many words.

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed. It is better not to vow than to vow and not pay. Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. For why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity.

But fear God." Verse 8, "if you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high officials watch over high official, and higher officials are over them. Moreover the profit of the land is for all; the King himself is served from the field. He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them; so what profit have the owners except to see them with their eyes? The sleep of the laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much; but the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.

There is a several evil which I have seen under the sun: riches kept for the owner to his hurt. But those riches perish through misfortune; when he begets a son, there is nothing in his hand. As he came from his mother's womb, naked shall he return, to go as he came; and he shall take nothing from his labor which he may carry away in his hand. This also is a several evil-- a severe evil," sorry. "That just exactly as he came, so shall he go.

And what profit has he who has labored for the wind? All his days he shall also eat in darkness, and he has much sorrow and sickness and anger. Here is what I have seen: it is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor, this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart." Wooph! A lot of things to consider there. And part of the reason why I wanted to read through all of it with you is to make sure we covered the entire chapter, because I could easily see that I won't get beyond verse 7.

It's, verse 7 is talking a lot about speech and about words. Let's go back and begin. "Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools." Now, notice it's contrasting hearing with the sacrifice of fools. What would the sacrifice of fools be? Well, a sacrifice that doesn't cost anything is a sacrifice of fools. Have you ever heard someone say words are cheap? The sacrifice of hearing is opposite from the sacrifice of fools, which is speaking.

"Draw near to hear rather than to speak," that's the sacrifice of fools. When we come to the house of God, we should come to worship, we should come to listen. Often there's a lot of chatter in the house of God and we forget. Notice what it says: "God's in heaven, you're on earth; therefore let Your Words be few." There should be a reverence, a respect for God when we come to the house of God. Now, this is something that we battle with as pastors, as Christians.

I'll just tell you a little conflict, a paradox that I struggle with. I have been to churches before that are, there's a lot of reverence, a lot of quietness. I remember when I went to visit notre dame in France. And as I went in we were looking at the marvelous church and the stained glass. And I was with a group.

And we were talking to each other saying, "oh, look at this and look at that." And I think we were talking quietly. But a priest came over, and he chided us. He said, "shh, holy place, be quiet," with his french accent. And we didn't feel so bad, because his job was to tell everybody that came in to be quiet, to be reverent. Some people were not allowed in because of their dress.

That's interesting to think. They told the tourists, "this is the house of God. Be reverent." And that was his full-time job. And I thought, "oh, yeah, okay, sorry." But you know it helped me realize sometimes when we come to the house, there's so much idle chatter and even worldly chatter in the house of the Lord. And we forget we're in the presence of God.

Now granted, the new testament version of the church is not the same as the old testament sanctuary where they had sacrifices and those things. It's different from the temple, so to speak, that had the shekinah glory. I mean, some churches, let's face it; they have to meet in multi-purpose buildings. But while they're meeting in the presence of God, they ought to treat the place sacredly. There is a delicate balance for Christians when you come into a formal worship service, and once you begin the formal worship service, to be reverent, to not be chattering, not be gossiping.

For one thing, you distract those around you. Isn't that right? And sometimes you're doing the work of the devil by the chh, chh, chh, chh that's going on. But at the same time, as pastors, we want people to be able to turn and welcome and greet people, so you're a friendly church. And so there's that, you know, there's that delicate balance between taking a time before you enter into formal worship to say please smile and greet the person near you, being warm, being loving, being friendly. Part of church is the social aspect, right? But then also, when you enter in to that worship service, let Your Words be few.

You're in the presence of God. He is in heaven. There's needs to be a reverence. And I'll just confess that sometimes we struggle knowing how to educate Christians to maintain a sense of reverence and silence and awe in the presence of God. Sing when you sing with all--that's our problem, we talk too much and don't sing enough.

People talk loud, but they sing quiet. Isn't that right? When we sing it's [mumbling]. And we ought to be singing. You're singing to God, you know? Let your voice--hey, our choir was good. Amen? Our central choir just debuted; the new choir, and it was-- I was impressed.

I came out to listen, 'cause I usually listen from back there and I wanted to come out and hear them. But so when you sing, sing. But when you're in worship, don't be chattering to those around you. And we should try to teach our children to be quiet in church. Sometimes we just let our children run amok.

And I'm a parent. I know it's difficult. You know, sometimes you're tempted to give 'em a sedative before they go to church, just so that they'll sit still. Be quiet. And they've got so much energy.

And it's hard for them to sit. That's why we have a training room. And notice what I said. You take 'em into the mother's room. And that's where you teach them reverence and you bring them back here.

But they need to be taught reverence, so others can listen. If your children are being too rambunctious and distracting people, take 'em out, have a special laying-on-of-hands service, and bring them back in. And that's what you need to do. Let me tell ya, as a parent, I know something. If your kids know that all they've got to do is fidget and scream, and you'll take them out and let them play in the courtyard, what would you do if you were a kid? You'd fidget and scream as soon as church started.

But if they know if they're taken out, there's gonna be a formal service, and they're gonna be brought right back in again, they will be still. And that's what they need to be taught. And so some parents are really manipulated by their kids. You've gotta teach them reverence for God. Teach them we're going to be in here.

Some churches--i got this question in our Bible answer program the other day--some churches they have separate church for the kids every week. And the youth and the kids never worship with the parents. And their sense of community and family is lost. In my opinion, I think it's important to teach us to come together. The worship service is the one time in the week we say we are a community.

We are a family. We are gonna worship God collectively. As it says in the book of Ezra, "the women, the children, they were all there for the reading of the Word of God." And I think that's important. It's okay every now and then, maybe once a month or something, to have a special program where kid--have something special for them. But I don't think that should be the pattern.

So there should be a reverence in church, and it should be taught across the board to families. You know, they're reminding me with my monitor, I forgot to tell you about the free offer today. Thank you. We always have a free offer. Our free offer today if you are just tuning it, it's "teach us to pray," offer number 1-- sorry, 717.

The phone number is -788-3966. We'll give that one more time before we close, but we'd like you to have that. Just ask for it, and I trust it will bless you. Back to Ecclesiastes verse 2, "do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God." Sometimes we are so reckless and glib in what we say, and we don't realize--what does Jesus say in Matthew 12 about the judgment day? Are we going to give an account in the judgment for the words that we speak? How many words are we gonna give an account for? Someone read for me please, Matthew 12:34-37. "Oh generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Amen. Every idle word that we speak. I'm so thankful for the mercy of God, because I would hate to have all of my reckless words stand up in judgment against me in that day.

Amen? But we should be careful. Do not be hasty to utter anything. Just know it's being recorded. You know I've noticed something. I was doing an interview one time of somebody that had issue with one of our teachings.

And they said, "you know we'd like to sit down and discuss what you believe with you." And they were from another denomination. And they wanted to maybe use what I was saying. And when we sat down, they pulled out a tape player and set it on the desk and said, "do you mind if we record this?" Do you think my attitude about what I was saying was adjusted a little more carefully when I saw them pull out that tape player? Yeah, it just gave me a whole new sense of, "oh, yeah sure. Go ahead." I measured my words, because it was being taped. You'd think I should be more careful here, because this is all being taped.

But sometimes I forget I'm being taped, and I just think I'm talking to you. Are we--even if we walk out of church and away from the cameras here, are we being taped? It's all being recorded. There are recording angels. Sometimes I wonder if the guardian angels are recording angels. They can probably multitask.

But everything we say is being recorded. And we will give an account of those things, that's a sober thought, and especially in the house of God. On a couple of occasions, I have met with high-ranking politicians. I remember when I met with the prime minister of-- he's basically the president of new guinea. And I think I told you about that a couple years ago.

And then when we were in africa, we met with the equivalent of the vice president of cameroon. And they kind of put you in a waiting area and takes a while before you're cleared. And you go through. And then someone come out to prepare you to meet with them. And one of the things that they said was, "don't speak until they invite you to speak.

" And boy, that was hard for me. And so you go in. You don't sit 'til he sits. You sit when he sits. And then he speaks.

He addresses you. He welcomes you. He makes this--his sort of introductory remarks. And then, I remember with the new guinea, he actually said, "you may speak now." And so often they come because people have requests. They want to ask for something.

But you gotta listen before you talk. And I think we forget sometimes. We come into the presence of the King. Primarily we are there to hear what he has to say. Amen? Now, prayer is appropriate in the house of God.

Be careful about making vows. I gave roy a verse, Psalms 19:14. "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, o Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." That is a prayer that I think every one of us should pray. "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart." Where do the words come from? "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." So a change in the vocabulary is going to begin with a change where? In the heart. The meditation of the heart is what you speak from.

Every now and then I'll hear Karen talking. And I'll walk in, and I'll think she's on the phone. Yeah, she sometimes is going around the kitchen and she's got that phone plugged in, so she can cook, or do other things, or to iron while she's talking to one of her friends on the phone. And once or twice, I've walked in there and I'll say, "who you talking to?" And she'll say, "nobody. Myself.

" And she just thinks out loud. The meditations of the heart are coming out in the mouth. And so often whatever you say starts in the heart, doesn't it? So if we want a change in our words, a reverence in the words begins with a reverence in the heart. It represents a need for a change in the heart. We're not done here.

He has quite a bit to say about our words. "A dream comes," verse 3, "through much activity." King James says, "a dream comes through the multitude of business." By the way, allow me to take a little detour. Some people that you've met think that every dream has got some supernatural--or meaning of destiny or there's some God speaking to us through every dream. No, it doesn't mean that. Your dreams are largely your brain during sleep is reformatting the hard drive.

Whatever you have thought about or experienced combined with all your recessed memories are sort of realigning themselves when you sleep. And your thoughts, the little searchlight of attention in your brain when you're sleeping-- you ever seen one of those searchlights that they're kind of advertising the opening of some new store. And they just kind of go randomly across the sky. And the idea is not that they're shooting at anything in the sky. They're helping you find out where the light's coming from.

You know what I mean? They're just going like that to help advertise some opening event. They're not really pointing at anything. Your mind is sort of doing that during the night. It's just random scan. And if you spend your whole day snow skiing, you've filled your mind with snow skiing.

I know I used to go to a school where we skied all week long after school. We had a regular pass. I'd go to sleep at night and there I was, whoosh, whoosh in my dreams. I used to play a lot of chess. I was only an average player, but I played a lot of chess.

I'd go to sleep at night and what do you think I saw imprinted on my mental screen? The chess board, checker board, basically same thing. I kept seeing it in my sleep. I had a friend who ran an auto parts store. All night long, he was looking up Numbers. It's what he did during the day.

"A dream comes through the multitude of business." Whatever you spent a lot of time doing during the day, you're prone to dream about at night. And so don't try to say, "ooh, what is the message in this?" And it's frustrating for me as a pastor when I run into these people say, "pastor I had a dream." Next day, "pastor, I had a dream. What do you think it means?" I'm not Joseph. I don't--probably means that you're dreaming about celery. You were making a salad yesterday.

I don't know what it means. But so don't get too hung up on your dreams. If you've got a dream that really means something, then you will know like the pharaoh and like Nebuchadnezzar, "wow, that was not just a "multitude of business" kind of dream. This is a dream from God." Or you might have a dream, sometimes the devil, give you a nightmare. You ever wake up and feel like someone's strangling you, and you're sweating? The devil can give people dreams of terror.

So sometimes the Lord speaks through a dream, granted; sometimes the devil will give a person a frightening dream; 99% of the time it "comes through the multitude of business," that's what Solomon said, right? So don't overanalyze every dream that you have wondering what that might mean. Keep going. "For a dream comes through the multitude of business." Where was i? Oh, there I am. I'm sorry, verse 3, "and a fool's voice is known by many words." You know frequently I get a letter at Amazing Facts, it must happen every week, many times a week. Somebody has an issue with something I said.

Sometimes I just must respectfully disagree with them, and I stand by what I said. Every now and then I say, did I say that? Sometimes you misspeak. It's just that your tongue gets tied and you say the wrong thing. Sometimes you actually, I've had to eat humble pie and say, I shouldn't have said that. Or I said the wrong thing and I've been corrected many times.

I'm not perfect; I'll be the first to say it. And you know, I write back and I say, "in the multitude of words, there wanteth not sin." That's another statement by Solomon. "In the multitude of words, there wanteth not--" the word wanteth means there is no lack of sin. Loose translation: the more you talk, the more prone you are to say something wrong. And if your job is a preacher and you're up talking all the time, y'all be gracious with me.

You try it. You're bound to say something wrong. And so if you don't want to say anything wrong, don't say anything. And at least be very careful with what you say. Amen? Someone read for me--now I'm jumping around in Ecclesiastes.

That's our study. Some of the other things in Ecclesiastes we're gonna run into that deal with words, Ecclesiastes 7:21-22. "Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you. For you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others." Y'all underline that. Don't pay attention to everything everybody says.

People talk all the time. People talk about people. People talk about you, unless there's really nothing to say. There's nothing to say about you, you're not living a very exciting life. But some folks have just imploded; they've self-destructed, because they've gotten so worried about what others have said about them.

And especially, you know, if you're involved in any work that involves the public scrutiny at all, you've just got to have a thick skin. You can't, you can't implode and go to pieces when you hear somebody talking about you or saying something negative or saying something untrue. My skin has gotten thicker-- trust me--since I've become involved more publicly as a speaker. But you know what he says is, "lest you hear your servant curse you." Someone who's in your house that's supposed to be serving you and supposed to be protecting you, supposed to be defending you, if you pay attention to everything everybody says, even those in your own house will every now and then roll their eyes and say something about you. Don't pay too much attention to that.

Everybody does a little bit of loose chatter, 'cause then he goes on to say, "you also know in your heart at times you've said things about others." And it doesn't mean you didn't really like them. It doesn't mean that you were trying to assassinate their character. It just means that people talk too much. So don't pay so much attention to the idle chatter and the gossip. Better yet, don't gossip.

Is there one of the Ten Commandments that talks about that? A couple. One is, "don't take the name of the Lord in vain." Bad speaking is, in one respect, taking God's name in vain. Another commandment is, "do not bear false witness." You got at least two of the Ten Commandments that have to do with speaking. And so it's something that we should think carefully about. Now, I gave out also Ecclesiastes 10:12-14.

Did you have that one? Alright, go ahead. "The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow him up." Keep going. "The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?" "A fool is also full of words." A fool's voice is known by the multitude of words. Don't worry about what everyone says.

Let me give you another statement by Solomon. This is from Proverbs, Proverbs 26:4-5. This is going to sound like a contradiction. "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him." You hear it? You understand what he's saying there? Have you ever had someone say something just totally outrageous, and when you try to correct them, you sound like you're buying into their outrageous statement, even by answering them? I mean, I've had some people say some things to me that are just so absurd, that as soon as I try to answer them, I'm giving credibility to their foolishness. Don't even answer them, lest they be wise in their own eyes.

Then you know what it says in the next verse? "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he's wise in his own eyes." I'm sorry. I spoke too soon about the second half. So it says, "don't answer a fool--do answer a fool." In other words, if you don't answer a fool, he's gonna think I'm right. If you do answer a fool, you're giving credibility to his statement. Does that sound like a contradiction? You know what Solomon is saying there in his very clever way? "You can't win when you communicate with a fool.

" That's what he's saying. He means exactly what he says. You can't win if you answer him. You can't win if you don't answer him. If you don't answer him, he says, "ah-ha, you don't have anything to say.

No comment, because I'm right and you're wrong." If you do answer him, he's engaging you in his foolishness. See what I mean? Words. Somebody read for me Proverbs 29:20, Solomon again. There's so much we could read in the Bible about words. I'm trying to stick to Solomon, 'cause he's the author of our book.

I see dell. Did you have your hand up? You gotta have the verse too. Don't raise your hand unless you got the verse. Proverbs 29:20. "Do you see a man hasty in His Words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

" Be careful what you say. "Be careful little lips what you say." When we speak rashly--soft words sung in a lullaby will put a baby to sleep. Rousing words spoken on the battlefront will send soldiers to their death. Cruel words in a heated marital dispute will wound and cut and never be forgotten. Words are powerful things.

You know, America exists because of words. Some carefully chosen words were written. It's not a king. We are based on words. It's a constitution.

It's something that is said that we live by. By the way, what is another name for Christ? The word. And so because Jesus has communicated to us in words, how careful should we be in our words? The word became flesh and dwelt among us. Christ is the word made flesh. And so humans have something animals don't have.

I know animals communicate different ways, but they cannot articulate the abstract thoughts that you and I can conjure through our speech. There's no animal in the world comes anywhere near humans in the complexity of how we communicate. And no 50 million years of evolution has enabled us to do this. They say there's a very narrow window in a child's development when it learns to speak. And it learns very quickly.

And if you can live in a country where that child is exposed to two or three languages-- you go to europe; they all speak four languages. America, we're one of the only places where so many people only speak one language. People come from another country to America. The parents speak one language at home. The children hear another language at school.

And I have been amazed. I've seen families show up in my church, fresh from another country, they've got children that are young, school-age children. They're speaking their native tongue. They go to school for 6 months and they are fluently speaking english. You try and learn to speak like they learn during that window.

That's not something that evolved. There's a time where we learn this complexity of speech that is very precious. Ah, you know there's so much more I have to say, but I'm going to have to move away from the subject of words so we can get a little more. Well, verse 5, "it is better not to vow--" oh, verse 4, I'm sorry. "When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for he has no pleasure in fools.

Pay what you have vowed. It is better not to vow than to vow and not pay." Can you all think of somebody in the Bible who made a vow, a horrific vow, he didn't want to pay, but he did? Jephthah. Remember when jephthah made a vow to God? "If you give me victory in this battle, whatever comes through the gates of my house, I'll offer as a burnt offering unto you." He thought it was going to be an animal; it was his daughter. And he didn't offer as a burnt offering, but he basically gave her to the service of God the way hannah did with Samuel. She could never get married or have children.

And it was his only daughter. It was the end of his line. He made a vow. And a lot of us make very foolish promises, and we don't keep 'em. We need to keep our promises to God.

God is recording these things. Verse 6, "do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error." Sometimes they make a promise, "come by the house and I'll make a donation to the temple," or whatever. And the messenger would come and they'd say, "oh, I didn't really mean it. I gave at the office." "Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands?" In other words, the blessing of God can be withdrawn from your work when we fail to pay our vows. "For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity.

But fear God." Now that whole section we read there is talking about being careful and the sacredness of speech. Let's go to verse 8. "If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them." Now I want to pause there. Solomon, who was the highest official in the Kingdom recognized there is not always justice in leadership. Some of you remember--someone read for me 1 Samuel 8:3.

"And his sons walked not in his ways; but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment." Thank you. His sons "turned aside after dishonest gain," filthy "lucre," that means they said, "we'll judge you, and we'll judge in your favor if you pay us." Now, if someone's gonna pay a judge, usually they got more money, so the justice the rich get is a little better than the justice the poor get. Isn't that what that means? Have we seen in our country that sometimes if you've got enough money, you can be found innocent? You could hire attorneys that are just so Ruthless and clever and dogged and determined that we've seen people get off for everything from murder to child molesting; if you've got enough money and you're in high places. And the poor are being oppressed. And the rich are being abused.

But you know, Solomon goes on, he says, "but don't forget, there is someone always higher that they must give an account to." And we've seen cases of people who are in positions of authority. Corporate crime: that was in the news quite a bit a few years ago; that some of these people were juggling the figures. They were buying and selling stock in their own company. They were getting rich. And the people that worked for them were going bankrupt.

But finally payday came; those companies went bankrupt and some of those people are now in jail. And there's always someone higher. And even if you're the King, there is someone higher, because everybody ultimately will answer to an authority that is higher, and that is God. Verse 9, "moreover the profit of the land is for all; the King himself is served from the field." It doesn't matter whether you're the poorest man in the Kingdom, you're strawberries are gonna grow the same way the King's strawberries are gonna grow. And the King might be the King, but he still needs the field, doesn't he? I've always said if you want to know what to invest in, buy land.

I think it's one of the smartest things. Buy good land; don't buy desert, unless it's in vegas. No, don't say that, please. Don't--you want to buy land that you can grow something on, because everything comes from the land. Man was made from the dust of the ground, and that's where we're going back-- and the other thing is there's more and more people all the time, but they're not making anymore land, unless you're in Hawaii where the volcano's constantly pouring new real estate off into the ocean.

But otherwise, there's a limited amount. And I've read inspired counsel that says some day those that have land will be Kings and queens. You need land to grow everything. Everything comes from the earth. Isn't that right? And so he's saying respect the land.

Everything comes from the land, "even the King is fed by the field." Moving right along. Number 10, "he who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This is also vanity." Those people that get bitten by the gold bug, do they ever mine for a few days and say, "oh, I've got enough, I'll quit," or does it become an obsession? They just gotta have more and more and more. People who love money never get to the place where they say, "I've got enough." Those who love money, fill themselves, what did Paul say? They "pierce themselves through with many sorrows." You can never find happiness through being satisfied with an abundance of money. "Nor he who loves abundance, with increase.

" People who find their self-esteem in how much stuff they have, do they ever get to the place where they say, "I have arrived; I now have enough stuff," or are they always looking for the next sale, or the next acquisition that's gonna bring them satisfaction? Jesus said, "a man's life does not consist in the abundance of things that he possesses." You all know the story about the foolish barn builder? There was a man and God blessed his crops. And he said to himself, "soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. I'm gonna build bigger barns and stuff those barns, tear down my old barns, build bigger barns, so I can have even more stuff stored away. And I'll say to my soul, 'eat, drink, be merry.' You got provisions for many years." And then the messenger of the Lord said to him, "you fool, tonight your soul is required of you. Then whose shall those things be that you have accumulated?" That's a loose translation.

What profit is it? Have you ever seen a hearse pulling a u-haul? Huh? Someone actually portrayed that in a photograph. That's what made me think about it, a hearse pulling a u-haul. You can't take it with you, can you? Which kind of leads us to some of the other things we have to consider. God is the one who provides for us. Let me see here.

Why don't we go ahead, somebody look up for me--I'm trying to measure how much time I've got here--James 2:2-3, we're talking about the rich and the poor here. James 2:2-3, you're willing to read that, got a hand, andrew? James 2, God does not want us to strive for riches. He doesn't want us to mistreat the poor. Read this for me. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool.

" What is he saying? Should we show preferential treatment to people when we come to church based on how much they have? One of the things I really appreciate about the seventh day adventist church, the pastors in the church are not paid by, directly, the members. They are on a fixed salary that goes from the church to the storehouse, in this case our conference, our union offices. And then it is returned. And the pastors are paid on a fair scale across the board. Pastors who have churches in our denomination that may have thousands of members don't get more than an ordained pastor with a few hundred members.

They're paid based on the housing in the area. It's a very close scale. Some pastors are paid by their congregation and the tithe that comes into their congregation, some denominations. You know what a terrible dilemma that puts the pastor in? Usually, the Bible says, "it's hard for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of heaven." Those that have the most money have the most opportunity to sin with money. Power often causes sin.

Money often leads to sin. Isn't that right? And so the pastors of those congregations have to be very careful not to jump on the toes of the people with the money. And they're the ones who often need it the most. But praise the Lord, in our church, I can preach a straight message, and if I offend a rich person--i don't want to offend anyone, but if the word offends them--they're going to have to deal with that. It won't affect my salary at all.

See what I'm saying? They don't pay the check. And so you can preach a straight message at Amazing Facts. Most of you know Amazing Facts is a--it's a non-profit corporation. It's supported entirely from donations. It's existed 40 years from month to month by donations.

Some ministries are tempted to give a lot of preferential treatment to the big donors. I struggle with that concept, because God, does he look at the amount of the gift or the amount of the sacrifice? It's you know, there might be people who gave $10,000, and praise the Lord, we're always thankful when that happens, really are thankful. But for the person who gave, there might be someone who sends $50 to the ministry and it represented half of their paycheck. You know what I'm saying? It could represent a bigger sacrifice for them, the one who gave $10,000, they don't even know it's missing. It wasn't even a sacrifice.

And so for us to give preferential treatment, I struggle with that. I think that, you know, some of these dear folks who are supporting God's work from their social security, God looks down from heaven, and God is really impressed with them; more than maybe the millionaires who are giving their spare change. I think sometimes we pander to the rich. And my perspective is probably different from just about anybody else's in my position, because my father-- you go online, type in george Batchelor-- has a foundation, it's the 14th wealthiest foundation in florida. Millions of dollars.

I grew up seeing how preferential treatment destroys a person. Nobody, almost nobody, would tell my father, "george, you're acting badly. You're being rude. This is unacceptable behavior." Because when they got money, people are afraid to say that. And they don't tell the truth.

And so I chafe whenever I see people given this kind of buttering people and sweet-talking people, because they've got money. I think you talk to people because you value who they are as a person, not because of what their bank account is. And this is what James says. I have slept on the ground, dug in dumpsters, and lived in mansions. I've been across the board in my experience.

And you know what? Some of the nicest people I've met have been some of the poorest people. They've had great integrity. They'd give you the shirt of their back, really. And I've also met some really nice people in high places. Don't misunderstand.

I'm not saying everybody with money is mean. Job and Abraham were rich. But Solomon, does he know what he's talking about? Was he rich or poor? After a lifetime of having money, he saw what it did to people, didn't he? He was wise enough to tell when people were sweet-talking him and didn't fall for it. You won't be satisfied. Number 11, notice, "when goods increase, they increase who eat them.

" Ha ha, so you say, "hey, I'm gonna make a lot of money." Well, you know what? The more you make, the more expenses you'll have to consume what you make. The more people will be knocking at your door. "When goods increase, they increase who eat them." The bigger your farms, the more servants you need to take care of the farms, the higher your expenses. Isn't that how it works? "Whether he eats little or much," but notice this. I'm sorry, verse 12, "the sleep of the laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much;" cause he's working hard, he goes to sleep from pure fatigue, "but the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.

" The rich people go to sleep wringing their hands wondering if their riches are safe. "Is everything being watched?" "Will somebody steal?" "Are they taking advantage of me?" And you're better off having a little with peace than a lot with strife. My father had to drink himself to sleep every night because of the tremendous stress of managing all the businesses and the assets. It's just stressful. So many of you think, "oh, if I had more money I'd be happy.

" You think so? You really believe that? Well, maybe a little bit, huh? Little bit might make a difference. Just take the pressure off. Those that strive or make haste to be rich--happiness does not come from the abundance of things that a man possesses. "A man's riches will not permit him to sleep." Here you got the poor man who's curled up on his cardboard. He's sleeping like a baby.

You got the rich man who's on a big, old bed. You need a fire truck to get in it. It's big, plush, comfy pillows and the tapestry over the top. And he can't sleep. Doesn't matter how much money he's got for his bed.

He can't sleep because of his stress. What good is it? Say "amen." It is true. Verse 13, "there is a severe evil that I have seen under the sun: riches kept for their owner to his hurt. But those riches perish through misfortune." You know, haven't you seen cases where people hoard something and they lose everything? Well, you know, we've sort of run out of time for our lesson right now. I've got so much to say.

Don't go away yet. We're going to have special music at the close of Sabbath school here. Our special book again is "teach us to pray," it's offer number 717. And you can call 866-788-3966. We'll send that to you for free.

As we close out our Sabbath school, we thought we'd like to have our new choir conductor here at central church. She's gonna bring us special music. Natella rusu and she's gonna be singing, "people need the Lord." [Music] Every day they pass me by, I can see it in their eyes; empty people filled with care, headed who knows where. On they go through private pain, living fear to fear. Laughter hides the silent cries only Jesus hear.

People need the Lord. People need the Lord. At the end of broken dreams, he's the open door. People need the Lord. People need the Lord.

When will we realize people need the Lord? [Music] We are called to take his light to a world where wrong seems right. What could be too great a cost for sharing life with one who's lost. Through his love our hearts can feel all the grief they bear. They must hear the words of life only we can share. People need the Lord.

People need the Lord. At the end of broken dreams, he's the open door. People need the Lord, people need the Lord. When will we realize that we must give our lives? For people need the Lord People need the Lord.

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