Today: [Ecclesiastes 10] Does Your Anointing Stink? In this chapter Solomon speaks about the problem of having an anointing from God with a character that brings ill repute on the cause of Christ. There are many men and women who are called and anointed to do great things yet because of character issues they become cautionary tales of failure and disappointment. It would be convenient to exclude ourselves from that number but every one of us is called of God and anointed in some measure to do His will and fulfill a destiny. You also being human and born of sinful flesh are vulnerable to failure. The enemy is always on hand to torpedo your legacy and rob you of a glorious testimony. Solomon’s wisdom speaks to us and cautions us in this important area of concern.
[Ecc 10:1-20 KJV] 1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: [so doth] a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom [and] honour. 2 A wise man’s heart [is] at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left. 3 Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth [him], and he saith to every one [that] he [is] a fool. 4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences. 5 There is an evil [which] I have seen under the sun, as an error [which] proceedeth from the ruler: 6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place. 7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.
Solomon begins this passage with a statement on the character of men. The ointment of the apothecary stinks if it is contaminated with dead flies. One of the names for Satan is Beelzebub which means lord of flies. A fly then is a metaphor in Solomon’s remark for the demonic and that which is sinful in human nature. There are many men and women who because they are called of God have an anointing from God. It shows up and manifests at times when they yield themselves to the spirit of God to minister and bring forth the gospel. Often these men and women minister before great crowds and become household names because as Proverbs 18:16 says “a man’s gift (or anointing from God) makes room for him…” There are many that have a calling but not all are faithful in that calling. Nonetheless the call of God and the anointing that comes with it will at times bring great success whether it is a calling to the gospel and spiritual things or even a call in what we would categorize as a secular pursuit. The call of God and the anointing of God is a powerful thing that will open doors and bring great things to pass. However if there are undealt with character issues, dead flies in the ointment of the apothecary, then the “savour” or reputation of that person will not bring forth something good.
There are many examples of this in history. Solomon’s own father David was called and anointed of God. His life was so important that in the scripture he is a type of Christ himself. Yet there were several instances where the enemy got the upper hand in David’s life (most notably the issue with Bathesheba). Samson in the book of Judges was a great deliverer because of character issues that were undealt with his life became a cautionary tale of scandal, heartbreak and untimely death. Elijah’s servant Gehazi was called to serve the prophet but because he bore covetousness a great opportunity was lost to him and Elisha took his place. Judas himself was prophesied by Jesus to sit on a throne judging with the 11 over the tribes of Israel but because of character issues, Satan entered into him and he became a betrayer.
In modern days, there are many names that come to mind of men and women who are or were greatly anointed but their lives took another direction and their reputations were unnecessarily contaminated by the enemy. Jimmy Swaggart is an example of this. He was a great man of God seemingly poised to step into the place of influence on the level of Billy Graham yet character issues brought him low. Bishop Earl Paulk pastored one of the first and largest mega churches in the US. He was a man with a powerful and unquestioned anointed on his life yet he was brought low by secret sin and died with a contaminated legacy. Roberts Liardon, someone I deeply respect set out as a young man and built a formidable ministry with great influence but lost out altogether for many years due to a weakness in his character that went unchecked. God bless Patricia King and others for acknowledging and facilitating the halting return of Roberts into ministry portion in recent years.
What is the lesson for us in this? There are many of us that have great anointings and an appointment with destiny. That doesn’t mean however that we are not vulnerable to scandal and downfall due to undealt with character issues. Many make this observation and insist that men and women in the things of God must be accountable to one another and be in a position to be disciplined before problems happen and bring disgrace on the cause of Christ. This would be a wonderful and a beneficial thing but the very persons who insist this must be the case are not examples of the very things that they loudly protest must be implemented. There are very few great and well known ministries in the present day or recent past that walked in open and evident accountability to other ministries in the interests of keeping them in a place of wholesomeness and purity. The only great example we have would be that of the founders of the discipleship movement such as Bob Mumford, Don Basham, Derek Prince and Ern Baxter. Yet for all their accountability efforts these men and their movement is one of the most repudiated movements in the body of Christ in recent years.
What is the answer then? Are we left to ourselves? If you consider yourself a serious believer in the Lord Jesus Christ you must make yourself accountable on your own recognizance. You must hold yourself to the standards that others are not capable of doing without extinguishing your destiny and squelching your anointing. There are many leaders who claim your should submit to them and align with their demands to serve and be discipled by them as a condition of ever seeing your vision come to pass. The truth of the matter is if you look at their lives and their own successes is that this was not how they came to prominence in their gifting. The very men and women who demand your submission and impose their accountability structures upon young or unknown ministries did not have anything like that in their own lives. Beyond that there are few if any examples of those under their “covering” that have amounted to anything. There are no shortcuts. There are 9 scriptures that demand that we SANCTIFY OURSELVES. It is our responsibility that cannot be left to someone else to oversee. Sanctify yourself for the Lord will do greatly in your life if you do. If you cannot find the motivation in yourself to seek holiness without which no man will see God then the only other alternative is shipwreck and joining the ignominious ranks of those who have contaminated their testimony.
8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. 9 Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; [and] he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby. 10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom [is] profitable to direct. 11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better. 12 The words of a wise man’s mouth [are] gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. 13 The beginning of the words of his mouth [is] foolishness: and the end of his talk [is] mischievous madness. 14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?
He that digs a pit shall fall into it. This happens far too often in Christian circles. Jimmy Swaggart dug a pit for Jim Bakker, calling Bakker a cancer that should be excised from the body of Christ. The pit that Jimmy dug for another, he fell into himself. What is a pit? It is a device designed to snare and contain a threat. Many leaders today in ministries both great and small are insecure in their leadership and threatened by up and coming ministries. Therefore they use many devices to snare, contain and hold back those who might grow to prominence. This is the Saul mentality who sought to kill David when the women of Israel sang “Saul has slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands…” If you are seeing any level of success in ministry portion be cautious that you do not resort to these tactics of defending yourself and your position by holding back others. The end for such insecure leaders is never good. As Saul they will wind up falling on the sword of their own insecurity and their successes will be given to another.
15 The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city. 16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king [is] a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! 17 Blessed [art] thou, O land, when thy king [is] the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. 19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all [things]. 20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.
Verse 15 holds a very pungent truth. The labor of the foolish wearies them, because they know not how to go to the city. I know in my youth as a leader I ministered and labored very long and hard in small rural communities without great or sustained success. If I had put forth the same effort in a populated area my efforts would perhaps have been rewarded more greatly simply by being exposed to a larger audience and populating group. My eldest brother and I both were in the computer business for many years. I labored in a rural market and he in a metropolitan area. We both put forth the same effort and while I did have success he was much more successful because he knew how to go to the city. This is a piece of wisdom that isn’t for everyone but there are those of you listening or reading that need to think of this and regard whether or not the reason your efforts are not more rewarded because you haven’t made yourselves available to a greater audience.
Verse 16 tells us woe to us when our leaders are youthful and self-indulgent. In the western world, and in popular culture we worship at the altar of youth and choose new, inexperienced leaders in favor of seasoned incumbents. In the United States we have many examples in the last 100 years of chief executives who came to power on the strength of a reform platform only to oust the incumbents and prove their own lack of experience. May God grant us leaders who are thoughtful, humble and more given to serving the people than they are to legacy building and serving their own appetites and interests. Verse 20 concludes with a caution not to curse the king nor the wealth even in secret. Words have spiritual import and they affect us even when there is no one around to hear us speak. Whether our leaders be wise or no, whether they serve our interests wisely or to their own hurt we must recognize as the scripture tells us God sets one up and takes another down. Ultimately the land will have rest not through the power or charisma of a sitting leader but through the mercy of God upon a prayerful people.
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