“There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it” (Ecclesiastes 8:8)
When I was in my twenties and thirties, I felt I could do anything I wanted to do. But I failed to take heed to a lesson learned in adolescence. I had been schooled since I was a young lad that you have not, because you won’t go and get it. I was told you can be anything you want to be, and you can do anything you want to do.
So, I got a superman wardrobe (including the cape), got on a high ledge, and tried to fly “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive train.” I went straight down, almost seriously injured. The mind set did not help me; nor did the cape; nor did the large “S” printed on my outfit – for I was powerless to fly like I had seen Superman do many times on TV and in the comic books.
What was the problem? God did not make man to fly. He made man with no wings; but gave him two feet, two legs, and the ability to learn to walk upright and run upright, but not to fly. Man was created limited to the human kingdom and not the bird kingdom.
The key word is “limitations.” So it is in our text:
- Man has no power to retain (or hold onto) the spirit;
- He has no power to stop the reaper of death; and
- Wickedness has no power to deliver you, but only to destroy you.
- Why do men think they can fly or do anything?
- Why do men think they can cheat death?
- Why do men think they can make that straight, which God hath made crooked (Ecclesiastes 7:13)?
- Why do men think they can figure out the work that God maketh from the beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11)?
- Why do men think they know the way of the Spirit, how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child; when God said, “…even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all” (Ecclesiastes 11:5)?
- Why do men who are given to wickedness think that wickedness will deliver them?
Answer: Because man believes in himself more than he believes in God. Man, since the days of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden, has walked in pride. His way is better than God’s way. His thinking is:
- If I want to fly, I invent a plane.
- If I want to cheat death, I get a doctor.
- If I want to make straight that which God made crooked, I believe in evolution.
- I can figure out the beginning and the end through controlling my own destiny through education, environment, I.Q., self-strength, and determination.
- I know how the bones grow; I use sonograms and other hi-tech medical equipment.
- But you know, I never have figured out how to stop sinning. Oh well, I know if I wanted to I could do it; I just don’t want to do it.
No, the truth is:
- You can’t fly.
- You can’t cheat death (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2; Proverbs 19:21; Job 23:13-14; 14:5). “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass” (Job 14:5).
- Evolution is a lie; you can’t make straight that which is crooked; you can’t change the color of your skin, or your stature; neither can a leopard change his spots (Jeremiah 13:23; Matthew 6:27).
- Because the world has been set in your heart, you cannot figure out the works of God (Ecclesiastes 3:11; 11:5). Because you are the creature, not the Creator; you are limited, God is not limited.
- You can’t explain the Holy Spirit; much less your own spirit.
- Man cannot cure anything, not even the common cold; much less figure out how the bones grow in the womb.
Then to show the utter foolishness of man, he thinks that wickedness will deliver him (Ecclesiastes 8:8c).
The truth is that man is powerless to save or deliver himself from the law of sin and death. The only hope for deliverance is in Jesus Christ (John 14:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 2:24-25). “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9c).
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (45) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” (John 6:44-45)
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. (65) And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” (John 6:63, 65)
Paul said, “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died” (Romans 7:9). (Read Romans 7:9-14.) When the law came, Paul died. He was alive in his own power; but when the law came, he realized he was a sinner in the sight of God. By the law comes the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20). Godly sorrow worketh repentance. You must come to see that you are powerless before God; and that Christ is your Answer, your Power, your Substitute, your Sacrifice, and your Savior. When this revelation comes to you, then you will confess Jesus as Christ and Lord (Romans 10:9-10; Acts 2:33-36). Then you will confess that the Spirit of Life has made you free from the law of sin and death; and that you are indwelt by the Spirit of Christ and He is your Power. (See Romans 8:1-16; Galatians 2:20; 4:1-7.)
Wickedness will not deliver you; it will destroy you. But Christ will deliver you, because He has saved you on the Cross. Are you thirsty for the Water of Life (Revelation 22:17)? Then come and drink of that Fountain (the Love of God, even Jesus Christ). He has all Power in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18). He has been declared to be the Son of God with Power (Romans 1:4).
“…The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong…” (Ecclesiastes 9:11b).
“Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: (24) But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD...” (Jeremiah 9:23-24a)
“That no flesh should glory in his presence. (30) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:29-31) (Read 1 Corinthians 1:18, 24-31.)
Then Paul concludes in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Without Christ, we have no power. But when Christ, Who is the Power of God (1 Corinthians 1:24), lives, abides, dwells in us (Galatians 2:20); we then have the power to do all things (John 17:2, 19:11) through Christ.
Then you have the power and are delivered from wickedness. Through Christ, you have the power over death (Romans 6:23); that is over spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God (Hebrews 2:14; Romans 5:1-21).
How much power do you possess?