Wisdom (Ecclesiastes #10)

Text: Ecclesiastes 7:1-18

Wisdom is found in the end (vss 1-10)

  • While death ends several things, it does not end one’s relationship with God. What you’ll find is that God is the one you meet at the end. It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment.
  • Accomplishment is better than opportunity (vs 1)
    • Solomon takes a look in the casket and the body of the deceased has been made up to look good. In burial, perfumes are put on the body to make it smell good. If the body is the body of a traitor like Judas Iscariot. All the perfume in the world won’t make the stench of betrayal go away. His name is no good.
    • An old proverb said, Call no man happy before his death.
    • The day of birth represents opportunity. But opportunity is not as great as accomplishment. The day of birth is a day of potential. But potential isn’t superior to good character.
    • Getting started isn’t as good as finishing. You can’t finish without getting started, but too many false starts without finishing reveal weakness in character.
  • Confronting the end is better than being entertained (vss 2-4)
    • You’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die. The living needs to come face-to-face with the end. And there are few times when the living are confronted with the end.
    • This, by the way, is a new testament principle of dying daily. And what Jesus said about losing your life for my sake you’ll save it. Take up your cross and follow me.
    • Here’s what Solomon is not saying. While there are more benefits to mourning than being entertained, you can’t live in the house of mourning. The things I learn in the house of mourning are meant to be applied among the living.
  • Correction is better than the current hit song (vss 5-6)
  • Patience is a means of gaining wisdom (vss 7-10)
    • Because wisdom is found in the end, therefore a quick temper, the uncontrolled emotions, are sure ways of becoming a fool.
    • I just remember the good old days. If only we could go back. No, we don’t want to prolong the trouble. Zechariah preached to the old crowd saying despise not the day of small things.

Wisdom’s use (vss 11-12)

  • Wisdom is profitable to the living who get an inheritance. Wisdom helps you have the proper relationship with the stuff you receive.
  • Wisdom can protect you and money can protect you.
    • I remember dealing with some tax issues for someone. The tax office I was dealing with kept saying things were missing and these pages needed to be resubmitted. This went on for a while. Well, after several phone calls and emails and paperwork exchanges where there seemed to be no end in sight. I asked the tax office, so how much are we talking about here? What will it cost to fix this? She said, $77. I said, OK, I’ll just pay you the $77. It’s just about money. Money is a defense.
    • Riches profit not in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivereth from death (Proverbs 11:4).
  • Only wisdom can give life where money can’t.
  • Wisdom is life to the living

Wisdom is the fear of God (vss 13-18)

  • Solomon continues to explain that not everything in life can be figured out. Enjoy the good days. Consider things in the troubling times. But not everything will be figured out. So wisdom isn’t figuring out why things are happening the way they are, but having the right attitude during them.
  • Solomon has seen wicked people live long and righteous people die early. The obvious question is why didn’t wisdom give the wise life? Because wisdom isn’t the only principle at work in life. It’s one thing and it does give life. But sometimes other principles are at work.
  • Overrighteous means self-righteousness. And it is destructive.
    • To illustrate the first part of verse 16, the Pharisees destroyed themselves by being righteous over much. They missed the righteousness of Jesus Christ by their excessive self-righteousness (Romans 10:1-4; 9:31-32).
    • To illustrate the part of verse 16 that says, neither make thyself over wise, all you have to do is check out a modern university. Many professors there become wise to the things of the world and in their pursuit of education they reject the faith to believe in Jesus Christ. Paul also said, the world by wisdom knew not God, (1 Corinthians 1:21).
  • False humility and accepting sin is also destructive.
  • The point is in verse 18. He that feareth God shall come forth of them all. And this fear of God will be part of Solomon’s conclusion on life. Everything can’t be figured out. But enough can be understood to know that God is righteous, and loving, and worthy to be praised and feared.