Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Ecclesiastes 7:6-12

Solomon continues with a series of sayings full of wisdom and about wisdom itself...

Ecclesiastes 7:6-12


As Solomon lists off his thoughts about what wisdom looks like, we are left with a bunch of stuff to avoid and also some things to aim for...

Avoid...
  • The laughter of idiots/laughing like an idiot. It's annoying, pointless and meaningless. (v6)
  • Bribery and using money to manipulate people or exploit them. It's evil. (v7)
  • Starting something you can't or won't finish. It's a waste. (v8)
  • Arrogant pride in yourself. It stops you growing. (v8)
  • Quick angry reactions. They do damage. (v9)
  • Talking about the 'good old days' and complaining about today. It's depressing. (v10)
Aim for...
  • Laughing with real joy and fun that pleases God. It's a gift of grace. (v6)
  • Using money to put people first. It's a useful but temporary tool. (v7)
  • Completion of projects once you've started them. It's satisfying. (v8)
  • Patience. It helps you grow continually. (v8)
  • Slow and steady anger that is controlled, effective and Godly. It helps! (v9)
  • Talking about how today can be great and maybe tomorrow too. It's encouraging. (v10)
Solomon's talking about the difference between having wisdom and not having it. Solomon uses the word 'fool' but we might say 'idiot' or 'stupid' but let's be careful that we remember we're talking here about insight, not intellect. Whatever you want to call it, we're referring to the difference between having and using Godly wisdom and not having it or not using it.

Solomon's described something of what it looks like to put wisdom into practice. He says wisdom helps us and does us good while we're alive. He says it's like a gift that is left for us to benefit us like an inheritance (v11). It protects like money does but it also preserves life, whereas money can't do this (v12).

It's interesting that money features so much when Solomon talks about wisdom. Money is used to describe what wisdom is like (v11-12) and yet it's also the classic example Solomon returns to when he thinks about what distracts people from wisdom (v7). Solomon knows where we're weak and where we're prone to get our priorities mixed up. He also knows how to talk our language and help us understand. This is why he talks about money and possessions so much. Let's take this to heart. Maybe the best thing about money is that it can help us remember that wisdom is far more valuable!

Take another look at the lists above. Solomon hasn't said much but there's a lot to think about here. Maybe there's one thing that jumps out because you know you need to talk to God about it now. Take some time to do that before you log off!