Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wisdom Wednesday: Ecc.7, A Beginning Look at Wisdom

Hey gang!

After a few weeks, we are back with Wisdom Wednesday. With November here, hopefully I’m getting closer to a normal schedule, but we’ll see. Today, we continue with our series on the book of Ecclesiastes presenting Chapter 7. This is actually a very powerful chapter as Solomon begins to take a deeper look into wisdom.

In verse one, he shares that a good name is better than perfume because the good name can last longer. Someone once said, It takes years of hard work and excellence to build a reputation, but it takes only minutes of folly to destroy that same reputation.

In verse three, he contradicts Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart is like a good medicine,” by telling us that sorrow is better than laughter and a sad face is good to the heart. But he is also comparing to Proverbs 14:13 as it says, “Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief.” In the end with death, we tend to recall the good memories of a passed person. We may still mourn, but with a laughing spirit.

We are given good advice in verse five to heed a wise man’s rebuke. The reasoning is that this wisdom is an effort to keep us from being fools. I had really never understood verse six until I lived with a gumball tree. When we light the leaves from an October or November falling, the gumballs will only crackle but remain even after the fire is gone.

In verse seven, Solomon is showing us two ways that money changes people. Paul takes that thought deeper in his first letter to Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” We are to use money as a means to an end, but not to fall in love with it.

Verses 8-9 give us encouragement to hold our tongues. With ending a matter, we are forgiving, or at the very least , letting a transgression pass. With verse nine, we are being reminded to be slow to anger.

Verse 10 left me with a mind of old men sitting in rockers on a summer day talking about the days when things were different. Each generation seems to remember their times as sweeter or even more innocent. Some part of me thinks that this is more about the idea that we are to keep looking forward to a day without sin or pain when Christ comes.

Verse 11 begins a change. This verse begins looking at a world with Christ rather than without. Solomon says, “…those who see the sun.” He is beginning to talk about people who understand their place in the universe with God. Verse 12 talks about both wisdom and money as shelter, but that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor. Money can’t preserve you, but if you use the wisdom that God has given you, it will save you from disaster or failure.

Verses 13-14, Solomon begins to credit God with accomplishment. No one else can straighten what God bends. God has made both good and bad times. He tells us to be happy during the good times. We are to enjoy the blessings God gives us.

In verses 15-17, Solomon gives us examples of people. Righteous people perishing in their righteousness. “Me doth think he protest too much,” is the famous saying of people who are trying to tell us how right they are. Wicked people living long in their wickedness. Not every bad guy is like evil in the movies. Their deeds cannot be summed up in a 90-minute saga. Some people figure out how to get away with it for months or even years.

In verse 18, Solomon goes back to the comparison of wisdom and money. While its good to grasp wisdom, don’t just let go of money. In verse 19, Solomon tells us being wise can make you powerful because you are blessed to see perspectives of many.

Solomon changes the tone again in verse 20. He wants us to understand that no matter how hard you try, you’ll not get it right every time. Verse 21 is a reminder that sometimes you’ll have to make unpopular decisions in life and not to let it bother you because, as he states in verse 22, you will probably disagree with others at different points.

In verse 23, he begins to tell us that he’s tried it all by testing. We may learn many things, but there is only one that knows all. We will never quite understand everything. Starting in verse 25, Solomon begins to show us some of the things that held him back. In verse 28, he states that he found one righteous man (talking about himself), but no righteous women among thousands. This is because of his marrying women outside of the Israelites, explained in 1 Kings 11.

So he closes this chapter with a thought. God makes us upright, but we go searching for schemes. God wants us to choose Him and let Him show us the right ways. However, we get caught up in wanting to make our own way, without direction from God. That’s where we get into trouble. That’s what seemed to get Solomon. When he chose something outside of what God wanted for him, he suffered. If the story sounds familiar, it is true of all of us.

God wants us to pursue Godly wisdom. Whether that is by reading his Word, spending time in prayer, or seeking the wise counsel of others who are doing those two things. He wants that communication with us so that we can grow.

Next week, we will look at Chapter 8 and learn more wisdom and how the wicked are dealt with.

I love you guys!
Frank

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