Ecc 12:11                             The Words of the Wise                             7/8/2012        

·        The Closing Chapter of Ecclesiastes (Ecc 12:9-14, Luke 18:17, Ecc 12:1-7)

 

 

 

 

#1.       Because the Preacher was Wise (Ecc 12:9, Matt 13:10-11, Psalm 7:11, Prov 25:2)

 

 

 

 

·        Find Out Acceptable Words (Ecc 12:10, Gal 1:10, 1Cor 2:2)

 

 

 

 

#2.       The Words of the Wise (Ecc 12:11, Judg 3:31, 1Pet 5:4, Eph 4:11, Jer 1:16, 2:9-13)

 

 

 

 

·        The Making of Many Books Has No End (Ecc 12:12, Matt 10:16)

 

 

 

 

#3.       Fear God and Keep His Commandments (Ecc 12:13, Prov 9:10, Rom 3:18, Rom 7:1-6, John 8:36, Rom 4:8)

 

 

 

·        Every Work Shall Be Judged (Ecc 12:14, Ecc 7:20, Rom 3:12)

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Ecclesiastes, Ecc 12:9 (2X). We have come to the last installment of this exposition of Ecclesiastes. It has taken me 61 parts, in 61 weeks, to finish the interpretation of the various parables and spiritual pictures of this prophecy. It has been a delight to dig into the Word of God and see how everything fits into everything else. It is amazing to see how pride shows itself as the dominant factor by which mankind will depart from the living God. Our pride gets in the way of serving God without baggage and without preconceived notions. The Lord Jesus said that we must serve God as a little child. The Lord said in Luke 18:17, “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” And how does a little child trust his earthly father? He does that without any preconceived notions, without any baggage, simply trusting that the words from his heavenly Father are true and trustworthy. This is how we must come to the message of the Bible, and we should always come with a teachable attitude, for the little child will keep learning and keep improving his understanding. But this we can do only if God gives us the grace to come to Him as a little child, for salvation is only by grace.

·        The Closing Chapter of Ecclesiastes (Ecc 12:9-14, Luke 18:17, Ecc 12:1-7)

The closing chapter of Ecclesiastes speaks about this, and it speaks of continuing to listen and to learn from the teacher who brings us the unadulterated Word of God. We read in Ecc 12:9-14,

9  And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10  The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. 11  The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12  And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 13  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

#1.       Because the Preacher was Wise (Ecc 12:9, Matt 13:10-11, Psalm 7:11, Prov 25:2)

The words of the wise are profitable, for they are given to them by the Shepherd of our souls. We must honor them as those who watch over the spiritual health of our souls. Let us read about that here in the literal translation. We read in Ecc 12:9, “And more than that, the preacher was wise; he still taught the people knowledge. Yes, he listened and looked, and set in order many proverbs.” How did Solomon teach the people? He taught them many proverbs. Solomon wrote more than 3000 proverbs. By comparison the scroll of Proverbs we have in the Bible contains only 865 proverbs. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 13:10 (2X). As you know, “proverbs” means “parables”. Why did Solomon teach the people in parables? He did that for the same reason that the Lord Jesus spoke in parables. Why did Jesus speak in parables? Many people would answer, “Jesus spoke in parables to make Biblical concepts more easy to understand.” Is that really so? No, that is not true; this conclusion came out of man’s wicked mind. The real truth is just the opposite: We read in Matt 13:10-11, “10  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” In other words, the Lord Jesus spoke in parables because God wanted the truth to be known by some people whom God will give the grace of understanding, and God hides the truth from others whom He has not given understanding so that they will hear with their ears, but they shall not understand. Matt 13:13-14,

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias (Isaiah), which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:”

And thus, the Lord purposely hides the truths of the Gospel from those whom He wants to leave in their own conceit. The Lord is not unfair to those He passes by, for they were enemies of God from birth, and they did not want His salvation to begin with. Here is the principle: Reprobate people are not allowed to understand the truth, and that includes wicked preachers. Does God not love every-body? No! The Bible says, “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11). Matt 13:15-16,

15  For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16  But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” Paraphrased God says, “The devil has made them spiritually blind and deaf, and I am not going to make them see and hear, for if they do see and hear and understand with their heart I am obligated to heal them so that they be saved. But if you do see and hear and understand with your heart, rejoice, for great is your inheritance in eternal life.” And so, what was the purpose of God in bringing us 27 parables in Ecc 12:1-7? The purpose was to hide the truth of eschatology in these parables, so that the reprobate will not destroy it. These parables are for the saints of God, for God said in Prov 25:2 “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” We are those kings who have the honour to search out the matter, and we delight to do so. Please return now to Ecc 12:10 (2X). Let us read verse 10 in the literal translation, I mean out of the Hebrew text, and there we read:

·        Find Out Acceptable Words (Ecc 12:10, Gal 1:10, 1Cor 2:2)

Ecc 12:10, “The preacher sought to find out words of delight; and words of truth written upright.” The KJV says, “acceptable words.” This sounds like the preachers of today must find words to please their audiences, as if they must bring their messages in words that are always pleasing to the ears of the audience, and never threatening with hell, and never invoke the wrath of God. Is that really so? What does the Bible say about this? We read in Gal 1:10, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” In other words, we must strive to please God rather than please men. Let us be candid about this: When we bring the true Gospel we are always pleasing God and we are always an offense to man. So, what does Ecc 12:10 mean? It means that we must find acceptable words, which are not words that are acceptable to men but acceptable to God. We must find words that are pleasing to God, regardless if they are also pleasing to men. We must find words that are words of delight in the ears of God, regardless if they would not be a delight in the ears of men. Where do we find those words that are a delight in the ears of God? Without hesitation we can say that these would be words concerning the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ and the subsequent exaltation of Christ. Why can I be so confident about this? Please turn in your Bibles to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1Cor 2:2 (2X). The apostle Paul is writing to the church at Corinth to discuss some of the problems they have. Some of their problems are major, and as a result some of the chapters in this epistle are of major importance to the Christian faith. The apostle wrote in 1Cor 2:2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” This is a very deep statement. We can be sure that the apostle Paul did not spend 3 years at Corinth speaking only about Jesus Christ crucified on a Roman cross there outside Jerusalem. No! He spoke of Jesus Christ so much because of the atonement. The 11 disciples when confronted with the cross of Christ fled in fear. But Saul of Tarsus when confronted with the cross of Christ was crushed with an overwhelming sense of guilt of sin. He prayed for three days and three nights, and did not eat or drink. What was the difference? The difference was that Saul was a Pharisee, and Saul knew the real meaning of atonement, or payment for sin. The most holy day in the religion of the Jews was the Day of Atonement on the tenth day of the seventh month. And so, Saul realized that the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ was His crucifixion and His resurrection together. And after much praying Saul realized that God the Son had come down and was united with the body of Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth, and had atoned for the sins of Saul, and had forgiven him his sins. What a stupendous act of mercy and grace. Since sin carries with it a penalty of an eternity in hell, the penalty for sin is infinite. Therefore the atonement of Christ must also be of infinite value. To do that the Lord Jesus Christ had to pay the equivalent of an eternity in hell, for only that would satisfy the righteousness of God. And since this gift of mercy and grace is infinite, God has to give it free of charge, for there is nothing man can do to even earn a fraction of this gift.

When we think of words that are acceptable to God, or words that are pleasing to God, or words that are a delight to the ears of God, we give God all the glory for such an incomprehensible gift. But is this pleasing to the ears of men? Is it pleasing in the ears of men to hear that this gift is so great that God must give it free of charge to whomsoever He will, and that God will make the decision to whomsoever He will distribute this gift? No! This is not pleasing to men because they lost control. They cannot come to God with a sinner’s prayer that is uttered from a sinful heart full of hypocrisy and insincerity. They cannot DO something that makes them worthy before God, and no ceremonial hoopla is of any value in the sight of God. All their smart choices to follow Jesus and to obey His commandments have been relegated to the trash heap of dirty rotten pride. No! Man is not pleased to hear this kind of a message. But this is the meaning when we apply the message of Ecc 12:10 to our time. Ecc 12:10, “The preacher sought to find out words of delight; and words of truth written upright.”

And then we read in Ecc 12:11 words that confirm what we have just concluded from Ecc 12:10.

#2.       The Words of the Wise (Ecc 12:11, Judg 3:31, 1Pet 5:4, Eph 4:11, Jer 1:16, 2:9-13)

Let us read the words of Ecc 12:11 from the literal translation out of the Hebrew text: “The words of the wise are like ox-goads; and as nails are driven in by the masters of collections; they are given from one Shepherd.” Do you know what an ox-goad is? An ox-goad is an eight foot long wooden stick which has at one end a spade, used for removing mud from a plow, and at the other end it has a curved steel rod with a sharp point for prodding oxen. It was a formidable weapon in the hands of Shamgar (Judg 3:31) who slew 600 Philistines with an ox-goad. The words of the wise are compared here to ox-goads, and are most often not pleasant words; they are piercing words like the prodding of an ox-goad, but they are helping us to focus on the task we are presently performing in this world. They are reminding us to keep focused on understanding the words of the Bible, and then conveying that understanding of the Gospel to those around us who have not yet understood this. Especially when we try to understand parables, or proverbs, we need a great deal of prodding by the Holy Spirit to remind us of the pride and the depravity of man and the grace of God for bringing us to salvation. And then the Word of God says that the words of the wise are as nails that are driven in by the masters of collections. What does that refer to? It certainly does not mean that it will be a pleasant experience to have nails driven into your soul. What “collections” does God refer to? Remember that the Bible is a spiritual Book. The collections here most likely refer to the collection of Scriptures to be assembled and to be approved as having been inspired by God the Holy Spirit. And the “masters of collections” then refer to those who have been participators in these collections. And thus the masters of collections refers to the writers of Scripture, the joint authors of the collected canonical Scriptures. And these words of the wise are given from one Shepherd. Who does this one Shepherd refer to? He is the Lord Jesus Christ, who is called the chief Shepherd (1Pet 5:4), and who is the one who sent the prophets, the masters of collections in the first place. We read in Eph 4:11, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” How are the words of the wise as nails that are driven in by the authors of Scripture? Let me give just one example Please turn to the prophecy of Jeremiah, Jer 2:9 (2X). God is instructing Jeremiah how to speak to the nation of Judah. God already told him in Jer 1:16 that the nation of Judah has burned incense to other gods and has committed other acts of idolatry. But now God says to bring this message to the nation of Judah. We read in Jer 2:9-13, “9  Wherefore I will yet contend with you, saith the LORD, and with your children’s children will I contend. 10  For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. 11  Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. 12  Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. 13  For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” This scathing accusation is leveled at the nation of Judah. And this is only the beginning of the Prophecy of Jeremiah. Much more evils are mentioned further up in this scroll. And so, the message is not a pleasant message, but it is necessary; it is like nails driven into the conscience of the nation of Judah by Jeremiah, and it was given to Jeremiah by the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us remember where we are going. Ecc 12:14 speaks of Judgment Day, the Last Day. We need to examine ourselves and see where we are going, but we can only see it by the grace of God. Once we get there it is too late to make any preparations for it. That is why we need a preacher who is wise (Ecc 12:9). That is why we need to hear the true Gospel, which are words that are acceptable to God (Ecc 12:10). That is why we need words that are given from one Shepherd (Ecc 12:11). That is why we need to be warned that there are many books that try to lead us astray (Ecc 12:12). That is why we need a constant reminder to fear God (Ecc 12:13). That is why we need a constant reminder to be humble, for God will bring every work into Judgment. And thus, all these warnings from God are like reminders from a loving heavenly Father who has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. But in His omniscience God has already seen who will remain unsaved. Let us recognize the sovereignty of God in all of this. God puts His people to the test, and God is going to make the test more severe.

·        The Making of Many Books Has No End (Ecc 12:12, Matt 10:16)

We read from Ec 12:12 in the Hebrew text: Ecc 12:12, “And more than these, my son, be warned: The making of many books has no end, and much study is the weariness of the flesh.” What kinds of books does God have in mind? Do these books refer to secular books concerning engineering and science? Certainly the making of these books has no end. We can see it all around us. Does God say that the study of these books is weariness to the flesh? Well, I can testify that this is indeed the case. But does God refer to secular books? Again we need a reminder that the Bible is a spiritual Book, and God is discussing in here spiritual matters. Did God then refer to spiritual books, like books about the Hebrew and Greek text, or books about textual criticism, or commentaries about the Bible, or books about concordances and dictionaries, or books written by scholarly theologians, or books about the culture of those days, books about Christmas, and books about Easter, and books about Pentecost, and books about Psalms and hymns, and so on, and so on? Indeed there have been many books written concerning these things, and the end of those books is not yet in sight. On top of that these days we see that mankind has multiplied the capacity to produce more and more books about these spiritual things by using computers and by producing e-books, and by making people believe anything that was written in a book. It is a bewildering array of books, and we do not know what to believe any more. The authors of those books make us believe that a study of those books is beneficial to our spiritual health. But God sounds a warning here in Ecc 12:12. It is a warning, meaning that it is not good for us. Much study of those kinds of books is a weariness of the flesh. We need to be selective.

We need to remind ourselves of the words of the Lord Jesus in Matt 10:16, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Is it possible that our enemy, the devil, has been using this technology to make us confused about the Word of God? And of this we can be sure, for this is an old strategy of the devil to make us doubt what God has said. This was the first thing the devil made Eve doubt: Yea, has God said this? And then when we are debating with the devil we will always lose, just like Eve already lost when she answered the serpent. And so, we can expect to find some books out there which will shake our faith in the Word of God, and which will shake our faith in the established doctrines of the Christian faith, and which will shake our faith in the working of God the Holy Spirit, and so on and so on. This is why the Lord sounded the warning in Ecc 12:12. But how can we arm ourselves against these attacks by Satan? We can study our Bible, but there is no guarantee that we will remain faithful to Christ and to the Bible. It depends entirely on the grace of God. We have to trust that God will do what is best, but we must leave these decisions entirely in the hands of God. However, we should not forget that this is a stern warning about books that may deceive us. This was written in the end of Solomon’s life. This was written in a most important period of Solomon’s life; one of the last messages to leave to the children of Israel. And in these last messages he stressed what is most important to his congregation.

Moreover, the conclusion in verses 13 and 14 shows that Solomon repented of the sins he has committed. Nevertheless, the Lord did not turn away His wrath on the reign of Solomon, for the Lord rent ten tribes away from the kingdom of Solomon. He may have forgiven Solomon his sins, but He did not remove the consequences of those sins, just like He forgave David his sins, but He did not remove the consequences of David’s sins: the sword did not depart from David’s house.

#3.       Fear God and Keep His Commandments (Ecc 12:13, Prov 9:10, Rom 3:18, Rom 7:1-6, John 8:36, Rom 4:8)

 We will read verse 13 from the literal translation of the Hebrew. Ecc 12:13 “Let us hear the whole matter of the end: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this applies to every man.” A more literal translation would be, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole man.” The full ideal of man as originally contemplated, and wholly realized by Jesus Christ alone, and through Him by the saints, is now expressed in this sentence, “Fear God and keep His commandments.”

What does it mean to fear God? To fear God means that we do not want to sin, for sin is a transgression of any of God’s commandments. To fear God means that we continuously remember that the wages of sin is death, and that the death that God has in view is to be cast into the lake of fire for an eternity. To fear God means that we have an awe and reverence for God, and we want to lift Him up on the highest pedestal in the world. The fear of God is a good thing, for we read in Prov 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” On the opposite side we read in Rom 3:18, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

“Fear God and keep His commandments, for this applies to every man.” Is every man, both Jew and Gentile obligated to fear God and to keep His commandments’? In the natural sense, that is indeed the case. Both Jews and Gentiles are under the law and are obligated to keep the law of God. But there is one exception. Please turn to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 7:1 (2X). We read in Rom 7 that every man is born under the law of God, as tightly as if every man is married to the law of God. This is the state in which we were born. We read in Rom 7:1-2, “1  Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2  For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.” Only death can separate a person from the law. As long as we live under the law, the law accuses us to be an unfaithful wife, for we have violated the law, and thus the penalty of death for violating the law hangs over the wife all the time. But if we have been chosen in Christ from before the foundation of the world, then we also have been crucified with Christ and we died with Christ. And so, when Christ died we died with Him and in Him. Now then, let us read Rom 7:3-4, “3  So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4  Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” When we died with Christ and in Christ we were freed from that law with which we were born, and so we no longer answer to the law of God. Then we are free to marry Christ, for we have been promised to be the bride of Christ. And this is confirmed in Rom 7:5-6, for there we read, “5  For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6  But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” And thus, when we were delivered from the law in AD 33 the law no longer reigns over us. The Lord Jesus said in John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” And God said something of this sort in Rom 4:8, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” In other words, if a child of God who has died with Christ and in Christ violates one of God’s commandments, it will not be accounted to him as a sin. These are special people for whom Christ has already paid all their future sins, and thus those sins will not be accounted to them a second time. Who are these special people? They are the elect of God who were chosen from before the foundation of the world and who have been placed in Christ. There is only a small fraction of the people who have this status of “most favorite of God”, but they are the only ones who do not have to live by the rule of: “Fear God and keep His commandments.”

·        Every Work Shall Be Judged (Ecc 12:14, Ecc 7:20, Rom 3:12)

We read the last verse also from the Hebrew text. Ecc 12:14, “For every work God shall bring into judgment with all that is hidden, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.” How many good and how many evil works are there in the world? The answer is: All man’s works have at least some sin cleaving unto it, and thus all man’s works can be classified as evil. God says in Ecc 7:20, “There is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.” If this can be said for the just men, or the righteous men upon the earth, then how filthy must be the works of all the unrighteous men upon the earth? God emphasized this truth in Rom 3:12 where God says, “There is NONE that doeth good, no not one.” And so, when we read this we come to the conclusion that all men are guilty and all men will be cast into hell for all their works are evil. But God is merciful and God is gracious to His elect. He will not let His children, His elect, suffer the torments of hell, for Christ has already suffered in our place the equivalent of an eternity in hell. Our evil works are not going to be judged the second time. They were already judged the first time when the Lord Jesus Christ hung on the cross of Calvary. And so, here again, it is true and trustworthy that every evil work shall be judged, but not all works shall be judged at the same time. A smaller portion of the works of man were judged at the cross, in AD 33, and the greater portion of the works of man shall be judged on the Last Day when the Lord Jesus Christ returns. But why does God specify in Ecc 12:14 that there are works which are good and there are works which are evil? The answer is this: Consider the works done by those who have been saved, which means those who have been Born Again, those who have been regenerated in their soul, those whose works have been cleansed from every sin at the cross, those who have been placed in Christ before the foundation of the world, consider their works: In God’s sight those works are perfect; there is not a single sin cleaving to them for Christ has cleansed them at the cross, for Christ’s atonement must apply to every sin we have committed, or else it is not a complete atonement. But Christ is God the Son, and as God He is not able to do anything imperfect, or incomplete. Christ’s atonement is perfect in all its details, and He cannot be a failure. When all our sins were imputed to His account He satisfied the righteousness of God by paying for every one of them, even little sins as small as an idle word. The saints can say that all our sins were paid, or none of them were paid. All our sins were paid in AD 33 at the cross, which means past, present, and future sins. This is the great concept of atonement for all our sins. Remember that in AD 33 all our sins were still future sins. And so, what does that mean for us today? It means that we are FREE. We are free from the law, for there is not one law in existence that can accuse us. If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. This is a glorious awareness that we are headed for the New Heaven and the New Earth, and that there is now no condemnation for all them who are in Christ Jesus. And because Christ lives in us we no longer walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit, for the law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus has made me FREE from the law of sin and death. Yes, the Lord shall judge all unrighteous works on the Last Day, but mercy and grace are upon all the works of His elect. All the works of man shall be judged and be found defiled by sin, but not all the works shall be judged at the same time: Some shall be judged at the cross, and the rest will be judged on Judgment Day. All people shall stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ; this is a fundamental rule that applies to all men. But not all men shall stand there at the same time; some have already stood there in AD 33, but the great majority has not yet been standing there; they will stand there on the Last Day and every one of them shall be found guilty and be cast into hell. God has sounded this warning for the past 2000 years, but there are NONE who will listen. The Lord Jesus will say on that day, “You call Me the Bread of Life, but you eat Me not; you call Me the Truth, but you believe Me not; You call Me Lord, but you serve Me not; if I condemn you, blame Me not.” You were born as a servant of the devil, and you delighted to follow his gospel all your life. Now follow your father the devil to the place where he is going, and remember that all your life you have spurned My love, you have rejected My words, you have regarded the words of the serpent more trustworthy than My words, and you have ignored the prodding of My ox-goad of having to be righteous before God. Therefore follow your father the devil to the place where he is going, and consider that God is a righteous Judge who will not condemn you if you have not deserved it.

But all of you who love My Bible, rejoice in My grace for it is FREE. Rejoice in the glory that is waiting for you, for it is FREE. Rejoice in the love that is in your heart, which is a love for Christ that was placed there by the Holy Ghost. Rejoice in My presence for all eternity, for I have determined that destiny for you, and I have done that for My glory. You have been created by Me for My glory, and in this you should rejoice, for this is the best plan I have created, and also it is the best plan for you.

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.