“Who is Like the Wise?” – Ecclesiastes 8:1–17
Hear now, the word of the Lord from Ecclesiastes chapter eight.
Who is like the wise?
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
A man's wisdom makes his face shine,
and the hardness of his face is changed.
2 I say: Keep the king's command, because of God's oath to him. 3 Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. 4 For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him, “What are you doing?” 5 Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. 6 For there is a time and a way for everything, although man's trouble lies heavy on him. 7 For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? 8 No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. 9 All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.
10 Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity. 11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him.13 But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
14 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.
16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one's eyes see sleep, 17 then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.
Ecclesiastes 8:1-17, ESV
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God endures forever.
I'd like to ask a question for you to consider your own life and experience. Maybe not a very deep question, but I promise I'm going somewhere with this. Have you ever experienced motion sickness in the car? Not a very pleasant thought, but again, I promise I'm going somewhere with this. If you've ever had car sickness, motion sickness, you know that car sickness is something that can make you really sick really quickly and really unexpectedly. The reason for this is that car sickness is not about something that's going on in your body. It's not that you ate something bad. It's not that you picked up some kind of a bug. It's not about anything your body is processing, so much as about what your brain is processing.
Specifically, motion sickness comes when you're in the car or something like that and your brain is getting mixed signals about whether you are sitting still or whether you are moving. So your brain can tell, OK, sitting down, I must be still in a very quiet place of rest. What makes this especially a strong signal that you're actually sitting still is if you're reading something, maybe a book or looking at something on your phone. So you're looking down and you see this fixed spot that your eyes can see right in front of you that you can sort of control in front of you and your body feels like I'm safe, I'm secure, I'm still.
Then your body and your brain can also feel the bumps of the road and the turns and the shifting of the car and the passing and the changing lanes. Your brain is getting all of this confusion of signals and it's in there that the motion sickness starts to arise. Again, this can happen very quickly where you start to feel very nauseous over this.
Now, the way that I'm going with this is that I want to suggest that in life, when we try to control things, when we try to exercise control over things that we can't control, we get something that is very much like a spiritual kind of motion sickness. You see in life where we're always trying to control things and our soul gets some signals that I can control the things of my life. Then we come across other competing, confusing, contradictory signals, conflicting notions that our soul has to pick up, that we are not, in fact, in control of a great many things in our lives. We sometimes feel like we're in control, but then we feel like we're out of control and very quickly what can descend upon us, this kind of spiritual motion sickness where we can't make sense of life.
Well, if you if you Google the remedies for motion sickness in a car, the way to sort of deal with this is that you have to actually lift your eyes up from wherever you are because probably you're again fixed on something that that is fixed like a book or something like that. You have to actually look up and you have to look not at the fast passing by scenery that'll just make you sicker, but you have to look at the far horizon that's fixed and firm and steady. It's there that your mind and your brain can start to sort out what your body is actually doing.
Spiritually speaking, what we need to sort of sort out all of these confusing and conflicting signals that we have in our souls about whether or not we have control, is wisdom. Not the wisdom that tells us precisely what to do in every situation, that's just one more effort to try to get control over our lives. A kind of wisdom that actually addresses the questions we have when we don't have control over our lives. That's the kind of wisdom that the preacher is talking about here today. What does wisdom look like? When you're out of control, when you don't have control, when you want to have control, but you can't have control over your over your life.
What this passage is teaching us, and here's our big idea, is that God's wisdom in lightens the eyes. That's a phrase from Psalm, 19, but we're going to use it to talk about what's happening here because it's all about what we see. Where are our eyes fixed? Is it making us spiritually sick or is it giving us the wisdom that we need.
So three parts;
1. Seeing Jeopardy
2. Seeing Judgment
3. Seeing Joy
So let's start with number one seeing jeopardy. Now, as we get started with this chapter, it's good to remember where we are in the book of Ecclesiastes. The first six chapters, the first half of this book, the preacher spends deconstructing everything in this world under the sun. Then trying to demonstrate that there is nothing in this world that can offer lasting joy and peace and satisfaction. We frequently look to the things in this world, but the preacher looks at all of it and says nothing in this world will give you what you were looking for. All is vanity. I've seen everything, and all of it is vanity.
In the second half of Ecclesiastes in chapters seven through twelve, the preacher is doing something more constructive. He's giving us a vision for how to live life in this world where everything under the sun is vanity. Now we started this in the last chapter, especially with the preacher started to say that wisdom is so important to have this constructive, positive vision for the way in which we are supposed to live in this world.
In chapter eight, then he's going to then not only say the wisdom is important, but start to answer the question of what is wisdom? So in verse one, he starts with two questions that that get us into this topic, he says, "Who is like the wise and who knows the interpretation of a thing?" Now, it's very clear that he's saying that the wise are those who know the interpretation of a thing. That's absolutely what we would expect when we talk about wisdom. What is wisdom? Well, it helps, you know, the interpretation of things, how to understand things.
Then the preacher says something very unexpected. In the second half of verse one, he says, "A man's wisdom makes his face shine and the hardness of his face is changed." The preacher is not so much talking about what you can do with wisdom. The preacher is talking about the effect that wisdom has on your life. He is saying that wisdom, to the one who possesses it, gives a gentle and a patient demeanor.
The reason for this is, as he's going to talk about a lot of situations where we are not in control, that sense of control that sense of spiritual motion sickness can harden your face and darken your face. But wisdom is something that enlightens your face and softens your face over and against the cares of this world.
Wisdom, as he's going to say, is something that lifts the suffocating pressure of life from our shoulders, because wisdom helps us to know what to do when we don't know what to do and we are not in control. That's why the preacher begins to talk about our interactions with the king in verses two and following.
Now I want to be very clear, when the preacher starts talking about obeying the king's commands, and he absolutely sort of states this thing. It's important to understand that he's not offering any kind of political statement or political theory. He is certainly not saying that the king is infallible. In fact, when he talks about obeying the decrees of the king, he's not even evaluating the decrees themselves at all. He's not making a statement on that level. It's not so much whether what the king is saying is good or evil. In fact, he's not talking about that at all. We'll get more into that.
What he is saying is when you are in a situation when you must obey or else, how does wisdom lead you in that? What does wisdom have to say when you face the king and his supremacy of his word? So the preacher says in verse two, "I say keep the king's command because of God's oath to him."
Now those last two words in the English Standard Version "to him" do not appear in the actual Hebrew text. It's a way of bringing out the particular interpretation that the editors of the ESV think this is going. They think it's talking about the oath of God to the king, and that's one very legitimate interpretation. Literally, this is "on account of the oath of God." So other commentators think this could refer to actually your oath that you have sworn of obedience to the king. You've sworn this oath to God to obey the king. Whether it's God's oath to the king, or whether it's your oath to God about obeying the king, the command is very clear, keep the king's command.
Now, instantly, whenever we raise this kind of a of a statement, this kind of an idea, the question immediately arises, but what if the king would lead us into evil? Are we supposed to follow the king if he commands evil? Now, once again, I'm trying to make the point in the strongest terms I can. That's not what the preacher is talking about. He's not addressing that kind of a question. He's not at all talking about whether the command of the king is good or evil and what to do with it in either sense. Not talking about that at all, he is saying, what happens when you are not in control? So he's making the point, not that we should follow the king in the evil, I'll show you several ways in which that's the opposite of the point he's making. He's making a bigger point that understand the jeopardy that you face in the face of the king.
So what he's saying is wisdom is teaching you essentially to pick your battles, to be wise about the one you were opposing, and to pick your battles in this situation. So let me show you what's happening here as we work through this passage.
"Verse three, Be not hasty to go from his presence." Either this means show the king the proper respect in the way that you enter and exit his presence. Or some commentators suggest this might mean something like make sure you understand exactly what he has commanded you to do before you hastily leave his presence to try to go do it. Then he says this, "Do not take your stand in an evil cause for he does whatever he pleases." Now this is the first of many indicators that the preacher absolutely does not want us to follow blindly into evil. He's trying to help us avoid going into evil. But notice what he's saying, in the context the standing in an evil cause refers to opposing the will of the king. Do not take your stand in an evil cause for he, the king, does whatever he pleases. What's an evil cause, to oppose whatever the king pleases. So that's the wisdom that's happening here, not to lead you into evil.
This is talking about something where you don't agree with the king. He's saying, don't follow any evil cause that would oppose the king, especially because of the jeopardy this poses to you. Verse four, "for the word of the king is supreme and who may say to him, 'What are you doing?'" No one can speak back to the king and you need to bear that in mind. Wisdom brings this threat to your eyes.
Then verse five, "Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing." Once again, we see the preacher doesn't want you to go into evil. If it comes to that, we must obey God rather than man, even the king. That's not the point here. He says if you obey command, you will know no evil thing and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way.
Wisdom is what teaches you what to do when you don't know what to do. Wisdom teaches you what to do when you are not in control of the situation. The wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. This doesn't answer all the questions that may be swimming around your mind this week about places where you may have been in jeopardy.
The preacher continues, he says in verse six, "For there is a time in a way for everything, although or even though man's trouble lies heavy on him." He says this is a common experience that our trouble lies heavy on us. This can darken and harden our faces. Yet wisdom has this counteracting effect to teach us the time and the way for everything. Wisdom is lifting our eyes from fixating on what we cannot control under the firm and steady horizon of God's wisdom. Verse seven, "For he does not know what is to be", this is just people in general, "does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be?"
Part of the difficulty in all of these decisions, of course, is we don't know how the course of things will turn out, what the consequences for our decisions will be. Verse eight, "No man has power to retain the spirit or power of the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it."
Now here's where we get at this idea of being out of control. The preachers move from just I don't know what to say in the face of a king whose decision I disagree with to all the areas of life that we don't control. You cannot retain the spirit. You cannot prolong the days of your life. You have no power over the day of your death, say to postpone it later. There is no discharge from war. If you have been drafted and sent by the king into war, there's no way for you to excuse yourself out of that. That's out of your control.
Then he says this, "Nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it." Once again, the preacher does not say that you should go into evil or wickedness, if that's the command of the king, that's not the question that's in view. He's talking about those who surveying they're out of control-ness, decide I am going to take things into my own hands and do what it takes to get my way. The preacher says wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it. Now he'll have more to say about that in a moment.
Then in verse nine, he says, "All this, I observed, (or I saw literally) while applying my heart to all that is done under the Sun when man had power over man to his hurt." Wisdom enlightens the eyes, first of all, to see the threats and the jeopardy that you really face. It's not saying not to be bold or courageous in the face of true evil. Again, the preacher wants us to avoid evil. What the preacher is saying is understand your position, understand the jeopardy you face, know this, and pick the battles that you need to pick.
The preacher is saying all of this and he's understanding that we are in something like spiritual motion sickness as our heads are swimming in these kinds of decisions all the time. Consider all the disorienting, conflicting factors that we face. Sometimes we don't agree with the things that the powers above us decree, but we're not in control. Very often, always, we don't know the consequences of the outcome of what will happen if we take Path A or Path B. Furthermore, the king or someone else has real power over us to our hurt. How should we live in such a difficult situation?
What the preacher is teaching us against is this insistence upon controlling our lives, about keeping our eyes fixated on the things that we cannot fix. It's that disorienting confusion of I'm trying to see and fix what is right in front of me, but all around me my soul can fear all of the swirling and the motion. That's causing this spiritual motion sickness. It will darken and harden your face. It will make you spiritually carsick. You need to let go of your control and lift your eyes to wisdom, the preacher is saying. Because wisdom will enlighten and soften your face. Wisdom would lift the suffocating burdens of your life off of your shoulders. Wisdom will chart for you the proper time and the just way in the middle of your spiraling, diminishing sense of control. That's the first thing wisdom does is to give us eyes to see these threats, the jeopardy all around us, especially for those who have power over us to harm us.
Wisdom doesn't just leave us there, it doesn't just say, oh, I'm sure you'll figure it out. Wisdom actually gives us a very concrete thing to do in the midst of these confusions. Wisdom does not seek the way of the world that is to fight evil with more evil, the two wrongs make a right philosophy. With the preacher commands, here is again the fear of God we looked at this last week, but it comes up again in this passage, the fear of God. So this brings us to our second section, seeing judgment, in verses 10 through 13.
The preacher in verse 10 lays out a scene, a scene where he is at a funeral, the funeral of a wicked man. As he's listening to what's happening at this funeral, he's hearing everyone who forgotten all about the wicked things that this wicked man has done, and they're praising this man. Have you ever been to a funeral like this? You know that this person was a terror. They were horrible to everyone they met, yet every eulogy is about how this is the sweetest person to ever grace the face of the planet. That's a conflicting thing that can give you a spiritual sense of motion sickness. It reminds you that evil is a presence in this world, and the preacher says this also is vanity.
In verse 11, he says you can actually draw a conclusion from this that would be incorrect. "Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily", verse 11, "the heart of the children of men is fully set to do evil." If I see that the wickedness of these men is forgotten, then why don't I pursue wickedness too? Why don't I do whatever it takes to get my way to get that control back over my life, whatever it takes? But the preacher says, don't do that. If that's all you're seeing, then you're not seeing the full picture.
Verse 12, "Though a sinner does evil one hundred times in prolongs his life. Yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God because they fear before him." Now, one commentator points out how important it is that the preacher is constantly talking about what he sees; verse 10, "then I saw the wicked burial", verse nine, "All this I observed or I saw while applying my heart." The preachers, always talking about what he sees and then come up a few more times in our chapter today.
Here he shifts and he doesn't talk about what he sees. He says the way to evaluate the seeming multiplication and improvement of the wicked in the world is not by what you can see, it's by what you know. "Yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God because they fear before him." He knows that because of the fear of God, it will go well for those who fear before him.
Well, this brings us back to this biblical notion of the fear of the Lord, it's not something that we can see the good benefits that it will bring, but it's something that we must know by faith. The fear of the Lord, as we talked about last week, has really two ideas. First of all, the fear of the Lord involves the acknowledgment of vulnerability, of helplessness, of hopelessness, of guilt before God that we truly have. It recognizes that we are undone before a holy holy holy God. That's the first part of the fear of the Lord. That's why it's called the fear of the Lord because we should be terrified in the presence of God.
Yet the fear of the Lord, nevertheless, anyway, means entrusting yourself to God's mercy and grace and his love. We don't do this just because we do this on the basis of God's promises, that he will be merciful to those who look to him in faith. So the fear of the Lord looks at both of those things and recognizes that we are guilty sinners before God. Yet it approaches God with faith as little children would come to their fathers with that kind of confidence. In a word, the fear of the Lord is faith.
Faith is this fundamental difference between Christianity and the world, as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:7, "We walk by faith and not by sight." Not by what we can see, because again what we could see would tell us why not go ahead and commit more evil? You'll get ahead in life. But faith knows that there's something else that we can't see, namely judgment.
Look at verse 13, "but it will not be well with the wicked. Neither will he prolong his days like a shadow because he does not fear the for God." The wicked may escape judgment in this life. They may be praised endlessly at their funerals, as their wicked deeds are forgotten. The preacher is reminding us of what will come, namely the judgment of God.
I had an eye appointment yesterday. I'm getting new glasses and new prescription sunglasses, it's been several years and I'm finally doing it, we'll see if I actually wear them more or not. I'm blind as a bat without my contacts, so I need these. I went in for this appointment and as I was trying to get these, especially prescription sunglasses done so that I could drive with glasses on, I had to try a number of different tints. Apparently, there are different tints, different colors of shading that have different effects for reducing glare on different eyes. The tint that works for you in reducing glare may not work for me and vice versa.
So to test the effectiveness of the different colors of tint, they have me try on these different colored glasses and to look at this white screens. To my amazement, when I put these glasses on, I realized it wasn't a white screen. There was a video playing and it was a video of like, it looked like a car commercial car driving through different places because it was supposed to represent what you might see when you're out and about and driving with these tinted. I had to evaluate which is the one that cuts through that white glare most effectively.
The unassisted human eye could not see the video that was playing behind that white glare. That's what you needed the glasses for. In the same way, the unassisted human eye cannot see this coming judgment. We just can't see it. There's a glare. It's the glare of this present age, this evil age. It's the vanity of everything under the sun. Because of this, we can't see the looming judgment. We can only know about it by faith in what God tells us in this world.
At this point, we have to be asking, is there more to life than simply enduring under the evil and the out of control-ness of our lives and waiting for God to return and to bring this judgment? Where the preacher closes is to say, yes, there is more to life.
The first is that we must look to and appeal to the promises of God and the fear of God. We must depend on what God has promised and the second thing, the preacher is now commanding in this final section versus 14 to 17 is joy and contentedness. Especially as we rest in the knowledge that we cannot see everything that God is busy at work doing. So here's the third section seeing joy.
In verse 14, the preacher says that bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Verse 14, "There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity." No one, the preacher says, is in control.
Nevertheless, in verse 15, the preacher tells us something that doesn't make sense, he commends to us joy. In spite of everything else he has said, in spite of everything that we know to be true of the world. The preacher commends joy. Verse 15, "And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun."
The preacher says eat, drink, be joyful. Enjoy these few years of the brief life that God has given to you. But make no mistake, he is saying seek this joy with wisdom. That's the next thing he turned seek this joy and wisdom. In verse 16, now he's going to talk about where wisdom fits into this joy. He's not just saying eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. He's saying, do this with wisdom. Verse 16, "When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one's eyes see sleep, then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out."
Wisdom helps us to enjoy life with a proper perspective of the good gifts that God is giving to us. We realized by wisdom that these gifts are good and truly to be enjoyed, food and drink and companionship and fellowship and the various gifts that God gives us in the world, these are to be enjoyed, but we cannot make them ultimate. We won't make them ultimate if we are living, according to the wisdom that reminds us that this is not all that there is. That even these gifts will fade away, especially in the eternal plan of God.
The preacher says when he sees all the work of God, but then he turns around and says, but no one is able to see all of this work. The one who tells you that they can see is a liar because there is no way for us to get our minds around all that God is doing in this world.
So as against that question, how do you live according to wisdom, when you don't know what to do? How do you live when your life is out of control? What the preacher saying is that ultimately wisdom will enlighten our faces and will soften our faces because ultimately wisdom trains us to see what we can see; both the jeopardy, the threats that we face, and the opportunities of the gifts of God that we have for joy. Wisdom teaches us to see all of these things, but also to know the limitations of what we cannot see. To know what God is doing in this world and to know what he will do one day when he comes to bring his final judgment.
Wisdom leads us through the minefields of life. And wisdom also shows us the proper place to stop in this minefield and to set up a picnic to enjoy. We need to see both. We need to see both the opportunities and the threats. Wisdom opens our eyes to see the danger not only of just blindly walking out into the world hoping for the best, but wisdom opens our eyes to see the danger more of resorting to wickedness, "I am going to make this work by taking things into my own hands." Not by what we see in this world, we cannot live that way, but by what we see through faith of the impending doom for those who do not fear God. Wisdom then leads us to live in every moment in utter dependence on the Lord.
So how then do we apply this to our lives? Well, the application is from 2 Corinthians 5:7, which I read earlier, "Walk by faith, not by sight." God's wisdom enlightens the eyes, it teaches us to see, so walk by faith and not by sight.
Often when people talk about faith, they pit faith against rationality and reason and right thinking. Yet in fact, the opposite is true rationality, true rationality, true reason requires faith in something. The question is not whether we put our faith in something, but what we will put our faith in, because no one can see everything for themselves. No one can firsthand explore everything. Everyone has to take something by faith. Again, it's not a matter of whether we take things by faith, it's what we put our faith in.
So the preacher then talks about two kinds of knowledge, knowledge of what he has seen and knowledge of what he knows because of what God tells us in his word. What he knows by faith through the word of God drastically changes the way that he interprets everything that he sees around him.
Wisdom sharpens our eyes then to see what's wrong with the world, to see in clearer detail vanity oppression, injustice and the danger of crossing the king. The preacher is not living in some Disney fantasy land. He sees more problems with greater clarity because of his wisdom.
Further wisdom gives us eyes to see dangers that are beyond our experience in this world, that we wisdom that we can't see, but that we need to know about. Namely, wisdom knows about the final judgment of God. How do we know this? Well by faith in what God has told us in this world. I want to ask you; do you know that Jesus Christ is returning to judge the living and the dead? Do you know about the judgment that is to be revealed at the day of God? Do you know that it is a day of gloom and darkness for those who have not put their faith in the Lord, for those who do not fear after God?
Do you fear the Lord for the devastations and the wrath that he will bring on the day of his coming? Wisdom enlightens the eyes to know what we cannot see on this side of that. To know by faith according to what God tells us in his word. Wisdom also enlightens our eyes; it gives us eyes to see and ears to hear in hearts to understand the goodness of the gospel of Jesus Christ who was crucified for us. Wisdom recognizes completely how deeply guilty we are.
Wisdom nevertheless illuminates and lifts up our faces and softens our faces so that the cares of the world are not on our shoulders because wisdom knows that God put them on the shoulders of his son at the cross. Wisdom believes he died for me. He died for my sins. Do you believe this? Do you know this? Do you see this by faith? Has God opened your eyes to see Jesus Christ publicly portrayed before you as crucified through the preaching of his word? Are you trusting in him for your eternal salvation?
Finally, in life, as we go through it, wisdom also gives us eyes to see these simple joys and pleasures that God has given us as gifts to enjoy. Hear now, these simple joys are vanity to anyone who does not have eternal security through faith in Jesus Christ. Don't think for a moment that you can live a good, happy, contented, fulfilling life if you are still at war with God. For those who know Christ, who sins are forgiven, you've been named coheirs with Christ. As the Bible tells us, all things or yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death of the present or the future all or yours and you were Christ's and Christ is God's.
The way of the world is to grasp for control over the aspects of life that are beyond our control. Maybe this morning, this way of living has left you miserable in spiritual motion sickness. Where you want that control, but everything around you is telling that things are moving that you can't see, that you can't put your finger on and that you don't have control over. The way of wisdom is not to teach you how to gain ultimately control over these things, rather, the way of wisdom is to lift your eyes to Christ.
Christ, through whom the Father created the world. Christ, who continues to uphold the universe by the word of his power. Christ who loves you and gave his life up for you. Christ, who is coming on the clouds to judge the living and the dead. You are not in control, but Christ is. Will you trust him?
Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we pray that you would teach us to trust Christ, according to the promises that he's given in his word and according to the warnings of judgment that are coming. Teach us to fear the Lord knowing that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Give us wisdom, Father, to cut to the superficiality and the conflicting messages of this world to our soul. We pray this in Christ name, Amen.