Day 17: It is back to wisdom (7:19)
“Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city” (7:19).
We change tack from what is better to what is wise, with advice reminiscent of “be ye angry, and sin not” Ephesians 4:26, and a reminder of how to respond, when inevitably someone or something upsets us: “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (7:9). We may be right to be angry if we feel hurt or see unrighteousness, but we need wisdom in how to respond.
Just as yesterday when we tried to learn the lessons whenever the word “better” was used, so today we do the same with the word “wise”, bearing in mind, as with 7:9, what the Preacher had to say, for much of the rest of Ecclesiastes, was about the way of wisdom, regardless whether that word was used. We are back once again to “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom” Proverbs 4:7.
10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this. There is a tendency for older humanity, especially, to hark back to the good old days – but that is not wise.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun. While material wealth, e.g. as part of an inheritance, is not to be particularly sought after yet, when coupled with wisdom, it is a good thing.
12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it. Again, while not discounting the usefulness of money, wisdom is better, for it gives life.
16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ? How often do we do this? Simply put – we shouldn’t.
19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city. We want strength to withstand attack, but wisdom is the best way to do it.
23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. Concerning doing the right thing and what people say about us behind our back on in front of our face, the best response is wisdom – but it isn’t easy.
25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness. Which is a good approach to life and is also our text for tomorrow!
Prayer: Thank you Lord for reminding us of the importance of wisdom, as we try to come to terms with life under the sun. Forgive us for not seeking wisdom and may we now apply our heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom.