Ecclesiastes 9 and 10
This chapter once again makes it clear that the Preacher didn’t have light on life after death, because, it is surprising to note that he kept reiterating that people who are wicked, righteous, wise, foolish, good and bad, all end up with the same fate, vs 1-3!
King Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived in comparison to anyone who had preceded or succeeded him, 1 Kings 3:11,12, 4:29-34!
However, this goes to show that while God gave the king wisdom, and a wise and discerning mind to make wise judicial decisions, this was restricted to wisdom concerning settlement of earthly matters. However, heavenly wisdom, on the other hand, is given only by revelation, and that too only to those who are humble and tremble at God’s Word, Mathew 11:25-27! For there is no partiality with God, Romans 2:11.
Also, this may explain why Solomon subsequently fell into sin by marrying so many foreign women! Being only gifted, he fell short when it came to applying what he knew to be God’s commands, and hence, failed to grow in spiritual wisdom, and become a partaker of the revelation that God stores for the humble (babes) who tremble at his Word! He believed in living and enjoying life for the moment, because he felt that only the living had hope, vs 4-6!
So, he advised everyone to eat, drink, dress well, enjoy life with one’s married partner and work efficiently, for that was our reward in life, because there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, the place where we will eventually go, vs 7-10! He believed that it was not always the swiftest, strongest, wisest, most discerning or most knowledgeable who would win, because time and chance could turn things in the favour of another who didn’t fit into the above categories, vs 11,12.
And although a poor wise man could deliver his city by his wisdom, yet no one would listen to him because of his poverty, vs 13-16! These thoughts were burdensome for him to digest! He said that it is only in quietness of spirit that the words of the wise can be appreciated and applied, and though wisdom is better than weapons of war, yet, when not heeded, because unrepentant sinners rule the roost, much destruction of good is the inevitable result that ensues, vs 17,18!
So while we glean the nuggets of truth and wisdom from all of king Solomon’s teachings, we must be careful to sift out what is irrelevant in comparison to the renewed and revealed perspective of the New Testament.
For in doing so, we will come forth with a balanced understanding of the whole truth which will indeed set us free from all bondage, sin and addiction present in our lives, so that our future will not end up like that of a wicked and unrepentant person.
This Chapter contains many practical words of wisdom. It tells us a lot about the pitfalls that we could avoid so as to steer clear from being a fool! A fool exposes himself by the way he talks, walks, thinks and behaves, vs 2,3,12-15!
He needs to realise that the outcome of his foolish behaviour can result in his own self destruction! On the other hand, even if we are not an out-and-out fool, yet we must remind ourselves that a little foolishness can still outweigh much wisdom, vs 1, even as only one fly is needed to make a perfumer’s ointment to give out a rancid stench! It is a misfortune to see a ruler making an error of placing a fool in positions of authority while making wealthy (wise) men sit in lowly positions, vs 5-7! All we can do is ensure that such things don’t happen to us on account of our own foolishness and also take care to see that even when the anger of the ruler flares up against us, for no fault of ours, we must not resign from our position, but rather respond calmly, so as to undo great offences, vs 4.
The fear of God will keep us from cursing a king even in our thoughts, or cursing the rich while in our bedroom; for a bird might report what we are thinking, and that can get us into deep trouble, vs 20!
We must know for certain that when we plan to do evil to others or exceed our boundaries, there can be negative repercussions that we will have to bear as a result, vs 8. Also, each job that we do always involves risks, so we need to approach the same with caution, wisdom and humility, vs 9-11.
If we desire the prosperity of our nation then we must take care not to vote into power rulers who are naive, unrighteous, foolish, lazy and pleasure loving, but instead vote for those who are noble, hardworking and self controlled, vs 15-18. And finally, without money, we can neither indulge in wine nor enjoy many feasts, vs 19, so let us take care to earn money righteously and spend it wisely too!
Let us take heed to this simple practical advice that can go a long way to enable us live righteously, peaceably, joyfully!