Text: Ecclesiastes 7:19-29
Date: November 23, 2014
The Big Idea: Biblical wisdom is the learned skill of applying biblical truth and biblical principles to life in a fallen world.
THE STRENGTH OF WISDOM
There is great strength to be found in wisdom. How much strength? The strength of wisdom is better than ten rulers – ten leaders of a city that has a balanced budget, clean streets, parks for the kids to play in, and streets that are safe to walk after dark. One person with biblical wisdom is far better than ten leaders who lack biblical wisdom.
Do you want to set yourself apart in this world? Do you want to truly stand out from the mass of humanity? Then become biblically wise. Make it a priority to acquire God’s wisdom. There is strength and great distinction in wisdom.
But don’t confuse intelligence with wisdom. This world is filled with men and women of great intelligence, yet they no nothing of biblical wisdom. Intelligence and knowledge will take you far in this life, but only that far. Apart from acquiring Biblical wisdom, no one will ever be able to comprehend the very important truth about our human condition, and our need for a Savior!
This passage also tells us how to respond to what others say about us. Wisdom gives us the strength to:
- Properly respond when others demean us. (Verse 21)
- Be discerning in what we should listen to and what we should ignore.
- Keep matters in perspective. (Verse 22)
- Not eavesdrop.
Before you talk about another person, ask:
- Would I say this if that person could hear me say it?
- And, if so, is this the way in which I would say it?
- Am I saying this for the glory of God and for the love of my brother or sister?
- Or am I only saying it to vent my own frustration?
Finally we would do well to remember the Apostle’s Paul words to Titus, “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” (Titus 3:2, ESV)
THE SEARCH FOR WISDOM
“All this I have tested by wisdom. I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. That which has been is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out?” (Ecclesiastes 7:23–24, ESV)
“All this” refers to all that he has been pursuing as described in the opening verses of the book. In 1:13 the Preacher says, “and I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.” (Ecclesiastes 1:13, ESV)
Despite all of his seeking and all of his searching, the Preacher has to admit that the wisdom he seeks is not easy to come by. This sentiment takes on full weight when we remember who said these words. These are the words of the wisest man to have ever lived. These are the words of Solomon, who asked God for wisdom and God granted him what he desired. Yet, despite the great wisdom that he had, there were still many questions that he could not answer.
Unanswered questions should not keep us from living life to the fullest, taking risks when required, and continually moving forward in life. Don’t let unanswered questions in life keep you from getting the most out of life, or getting the most out of your relationship with God. Not knowing all the answers about the way God works shouldn’t keep you from enjoying Him and experiencing Him. Take what God has revealed about Himself and act on that knowledge.
God has given us two coping mechanisms, if you will, when it comes to wrestling with unanswered questions about how He operates. One is faith ,or trust. Based upon what we do know of Him, we can trust Him in the areas where our knowledge is lacking. The second mechanism is prayer. Use prayer to take your questions to God and listen for His responses in His Word. There are plenty of things in life that we don’t have all the answers to, yet we still can find enjoyment in them.
What should we do when we hit a dead end in our quest for wisdom? When we recognize that there are going to be questions in life we can’t answer?
The wrong thing to do would be to blame God for what you perceive to be injustice.
The right thing to do is to admit reality. To admit that there are questions only God can answer and that in His wisdom He has decided to withhold those answers from us. First, we admit what we don’t know and, second, we believe that God does know and trust He is working all things for good.
As one writer said “Knowing the limits of wisdom is part of wisdom.” The more we know, the more we should realize how little we know, and that whatever wisdom we gain comes as a gift from God.