Ecclesiastes 10

Ecclesiastes 10 has Solomon teaching us the difference between wisdom and foolishness.  He begins his discourse with something that might be interpreted through a political lens, but that is not his intent.  “A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left”.  Solomon is not talking about our politics here.  Right and left are natural symbols for the strong and good, on the one hand, and for the weak and bad, on the other hand.  He’s saying that a wise man’s heart is based on his strength, skill and favor, while a fool’s heart is weak and bad.

He goes on to teach us the importance of sharpening the ax.  “If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed”.  Scripture talks about ‘iron sharpening iron’ as a key principle.  A dull knife or ax is much more difficult to use than a sharp one.  But you don’t sharpen anything without some pain and effort.  There are times all of us are blunt, through much usage . When that happens we need to pray and ask God to let his power be magnified in our dull state and weakness. While having a sharp tool is important, more work is done by a blunt edge and divine power, than by a sharp edge and our own power.

Wisdom is an important characteristic to seek.  “The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him”.  People are drawn to wisdom.  There is foolishness at every turn, but wisdom is like gold and people seek it.  When we have it, we must be willing to share.  God grants us wisdom not only for our own benefit, but for the benefit of those in our patch.  It is His gift to those He blesses.  As it is shared, we have to understand that not all will receive it.  Wisdom is not about changing others, but sharing God’s truth.

Solomon hits on another of his principles here.  “Through sloth the roof sinks in, and through indolence the house leaks”.  There are a couple meanings related to this.  The first is the leadership of a nation.  He understood that a land was blessed by good, faithful leaders, but cursed under wicked and incompetent leaders.  But it also applies to the individual in caring for his home and family.  We have to be diligent in our work, both as a nation and as individuals.  If we aren’t things will fall apart.  It’s a pretty simple reality!

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