Daylight Robbery (Ecclesiastes 5:1-6:12)

  • well, they were just making a quick trip to the store, so they never bothered to arm the security system
  • in all likelihood, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, since the alarm was simply a buzzer and was not hooked up to any security company or the police
  • immediately upon their return, though, they knew something was wrong
  • the mat at the front door was out of place, and they could somehow sense that someone had been in the house while they were away
  • gone: thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, as well as some home electronics
  • daylight robbery is what they call it
  • you might have had a similar experience, or have had friends or family who have experienced such a break-in
  • but most robberies aren’t this obvious
  • many robberies are every bit as significant as the one I described, but we are less aware of what is being robbed
  • just because the mat isn’t out of place, the windows are not broken, and jewelry is still there, doesn’t mean that something wasn’t stolen!
  • as we look at Ecclesiastes, Solomon observes three things that are easily stolen but not always detected
  • and Solomon issues three warnings
  • please open your Bibles to Ecclesiastes 5
  • it might surprise you that the one doing the robbing in this passage is you!
  • I’m issuing a warning to you this morning: stop!
  • stop robbing the Lord!
  • stop robbing others!
  • and stop robbing yourself!
  • now, if you’re smart, you’re asking yourself, “How am I robbing God, others, and myself?”
  • I’m glad you asked
  • let’s look at the passage this morning
  • ONE: DON’T ROB GOD
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:1) Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:2) Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:3) As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words.
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:4) When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow.
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:5) It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:6) Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:7) Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.
  • it’s an amazing thing
  • as the writer observes the scene at the temple, he sees people robbing God – it’s daylight robbery
  • they’re robbing God by coming to his house carelessly
  • as they come, they’re not thinking about what they’re doing
  • they’re worshipping God outwardly out of tradition or habit, but their heart is not in it
  • furthermore, they’re careless in their words to God
  • they’re hasty and verbose, making rash promises to God and then trying to get out of it
  • you get the impression that the whole thing is a bit of a game; it’s an afterthought
  • and no-one is really stopping to think that the people were robbing God
  • as I prepared my message, I wondered what would happen if Solomon observed our church today?
  • would he see anyone robbing God?
  • are we giving our worship the priority that it deserves? or are we worshiping God?
  • let me be honest
  • some people go to church out of habit
  • they don’t put any thought into it
  • they enter God’s house flippantly
  • they don’t think when prayers are being offered and hymns are being sung
  • and they leave no better for having worshiped God
  • what a tragedy that people in Solomon’s time went to the temple and brazenly robbed God!
  • I think Solomon would say we’re robbing God when we’re habitually late for the worship service
  • when we fight with our families on the way to church
  • when we enter quickly and flippantly without preparing our hearts
  • when we sing songs of praise without thinking about what we’re singing
  • when we let our minds wander as we hear God’s Word
  • when we pray and don’t mean it, or back it up with action
  • I think we’re robbing God when our heart doesn’t enter into worship
  • David Allan Hubbard writes:
Babbling, rambling, wild words may be all right in dreams, but they do not belong in worship. Our relationship with God is one of sober, respectful, reverent awe…False worship is as much an affront to him as obscene insults are to a wife or husband. Better to bribe a judge than to ply God with hollow words; better to slap a policeman than to seek God’s influence by meaningless gestures; better to perjure yourself in court than harry God with promises you can’t keep. The full adoration of our spirit, the true obedience of our heart – these are his demands and his delights.
  • Solomon says, don’t rob God!
  • I think we should pause and pray
  • it’s possible that you came to church in a hurry this morning without thinking about what you were doing
  • it’s possible that you’ve been singing the songs and experiencing the service without giving God the adoration of your spirit
  • we’re going to pause and ask God for forgiveness, and make things right
  • God is looking for people who worship him in spirit and in truth
  • let’s pray right now
  • TWO: THE SECOND THING SOLOMON SAYS IS THIS: DON’T ROB OTHERS
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:8) If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still.
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:9) The increase from the land is taken by all; the king himself profits from the fields.
  • Solomon sees corrupt possessions oppressing the poor
  • he sees officials using their rights to oppress others
  • and even the king appears to be in the act
  • it should be no surprise that when people rob God, they end up robbing others
  • if we don’t show proper deference and respect to God, why should we mind when we end up oppressing others?
  • it’s unfortunate that “the rich tend to take charge and their power intimidates and offends the poor”
  • eventually the rich and powerful can’t even hear those who are poor and oppressed
  • Solomon’s words are not a command, but an observation
  • but in Scripture, we are commanded to care for those who are being oppressed
  • (James 1:27) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
  • Solomon says, don’t rob God; don’t rob others; and thirdly:
  • THREE: DON’T ROB YOURSELF
  • a lot of people look to money for answers
  • do you ever dream about winning the lottery?
  • or coming home to find a big check waiting for you in the mailbox that you weren’t expecting
  • we sometimes think that wealth brings satisfaction and security, and that wealth solves every problem
  • Solomon warns us that we’re robbing ourselves if we look to money or wealth for the answers in life
  • and I’m here to tell you three things about money this morning:
  • money doesn’t satisfy, money doesn’t bring security, and money can’t solve every problem
  • MONEY DOESN’T SATISFY
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:10) Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:11) As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are the y to the owner except to feast his eyes on them?
  • Warren Wiersbe says that some people treat money as though it were a god
  • they love it, make sacrifices for it, and think that it can do anything
  • their minds are filled with thoughts of it; their lives are controlled by getting it and guarding it; and when they have it, they experience a great sense of security
  • but the person who loves money cannot be satisfied no matter how much money he has in his bank account
  • the person who is greedy for money will never have enough
  • the more he has, the more he wants
  • as somebody has said, “Greed and materialism have no built-in safeguards or satisfying limits”
  • you see, there’s nothing wrong with having money
  • the problem is in loving money
  • Jesus went so far as to say we can’t love both God and money; it’s going to be one or the other
  • this is an attack on greed and clutching
  • because the person who loves money is ultimately robbing themselves; they’re not going to be satisfied no matter how much money they get
  • Solomon points out that money doesn’t satisfy
  • and he also points out that
  • MONEY DOESN’T BRING SECURITY
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:12) The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep.
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:13) I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner,
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:14) or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when he has a son there is nothing left for him.
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:15) Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:16) This too is a grievous evil: As a man comes, so he departs, and what does he gain, since he toils for the wind?
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:17) All his days he eats in darkness, with great frustration, affliction and anger.
  • Solomon reminds us of two “grievous evils”
  • (verses 13 and 14) that riches have to be guarded by a person and thus give them worry, and ultimately the riches can be lost
  • I’ve never once sat up in bed at night worried about my wealth and stocks disappearing
  • but rich people do
  • I’ve never jumped out of a helicopter or bank building
  • but rich people have
  • riches bring worry, because riches can be lost
  • (Proverbs 23:4 NCV) Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich; be wise enough to control yourself.
  • (Proverbs 23:5 NCV) Wealth can vanish in the wink of an eye. It can seem to grow wings and fly away like an eagle.
  • there’s another grievous evil in verse 16-17
  • that the rich person dies as empty-handed as he is born
  • one is naked at birth and at death; you can’t take it with you
  • money doesn’t satisfy; it doesn’t bring security; and also:
  • MONEY CAN’T SOLVE EVERY PROBLEM
  • one problem with wealth is the responsibility that comes with it:
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:11) As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them?
  • money is relative: the more money, the more relatives
  • all of a sudden people show up we didn’t even know before
  • furthermore, not all who have wealth are able to enjoy it
  • some people have all their desires fulfilled but are unable to enjoy their riches
  • (Ecclesiastes 6:1) I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on men:
  • (Ecclesiastes 6:2) God gives a man wealth, possessions and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires, but God does not enable him to enjoy them, and a stranger enjoys them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.
  • Solomon gives two examples of people who apparently have everything they ever wanted, and yet have nothing
  • they have all the resources necessary for a satisfying life and yet they are unable to enjoy them for one reason or another
  • perhaps due to trouble in the home, or illness, or death
  • verse 2 says that the man who had all these things had no heir, and so when he died a stranger enjoyed all his wealth
  • I heard of one person who could afford to eat out at the finest restaurants, yet his taste buds didn’t work so he couldn’t really taste the food
  • we’ve all heard of rich people who lived eccentric and unhappy lives despite their wealth
  • money can be an illusion
  • if we love money, we’re robbing ourselves
  • money doesn’t bring satisfaction; it doesn’t bring security; it doesn’t solve all of our problems
  • tucked away in this passage is a hint on how to overcome the deception of wealth
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:18) Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him–for this is his lot.
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:19) Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work–this is a gift of God.
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:20) He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.
  • Solomon reminds us that the real answer isn’t the love of money, but simply in accepting our station in life and enjoying all the blessings God has given us
  • it is good for us to eat and drink and find pleasure in our labors
  • the ability to enjoy life’s blessings is in itself a gift from God
  • verse 20 tells us that the person who rejoices in God’s blessings will never have regrets
  • (Ecclesiastes 5:20) He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.
  • God blesses us and gives us the ability to enjoy our lives
  • this morning, are you robbing yourself?
  • are you knocking yourself out to get more money than you really need?
  • are you worshipping money and materialism instead of God?
  • if you are, you’re robbing yourself
  • are you robbing others?
  • are you insensitive to the needs of others?
  • are you oppressing them or unjustly using them?
  • are you robbing God?
  • are you worshiping him carelessly by rote?
  • are you rushing into God’s presence and making rash vows?
  • or are you guarding your steps as you come into God’s house?
  • it’s a terrifying thing to come home and find out you’ve been burgled
  • but it’s even worse if you find out that the burglar has been you
Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Liberty Grace Church in Toronto. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada