Archive for January 29th, 2013

Ecclesiastes 10

Ecclesiastes 10 brings us a lot of clarity around wisdom and being a fool.  The writer begins by reminding us of the impact of a fly in the ointment.  The point is that a dead fly can cause an odor that overwhelms the ointment’s smell, thus rendering it ineffective.  It doesn’t take a lot of bad to offset the good.  He writes it this way: “a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor”.  Unfortunately we can undo a lot of very good by making a few poor choices.  That is the way life works.

The following verse can really appear to be almost political, at least if you want to stretch it.  “A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left”.  But there were no political parties when this was penned, so we can’t apply it that way, at least as a scriptural truth.  We can however, see that there is a big gap between a wise man and a fool.  They are distanced from each other.  It isn’t a small gap either, it is 180 degrees different.  Wisdom and being foolish are not two points on the same line.  They are the ends of the continuum between the thinking of God, which is wisdom, and the thinking of man, which is foolishness.  We will fall somewhere on that line between those two ends.

Does it matter?  Scripture says it does.  “Wisdom helps one to succeed”.  That seems pretty obvious, but how often we fail to live that way.  We don’t seek wisdom from God, which means we slow down and stop and seek God’s face to hear His wisdom.  We rely on our own thoughts and often find folly from our heart.  We don’t speak that way.  “The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him”.  We blabber on with our own words and fail to realize the power of the spoken word.  Wisdom needs to come into our heart because scripture tells us that out of the abundance of our heart, our mouth speaks.

In a lot of cases, wisdom means keeping our mouth shut.  We often say a lot more than we should.  God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason – we need to listen more than we speak.  And that is really true if we are shooting off our mouth as a fool.  “Even in your thought, do not curse the king, nor in your bedroom curse the rich, for a bird of the air will carry your voice, or some winged creature tell the matter”.  Words get around.  There are no secrets except for those unspoken.  Our words often find their way to unintended places.  We can make excuses all day, but when we utter thoughts out loud, the chances are high they will be carried somewhere beyond our intent.  We need to carefully consider what we speak.  It does matter.

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