The Value of Wisdom in the Struggles of Life

The Value of Wisdom in the Struggles of Life

Ecclesiastes 9:13-18

“The words of the wise heard in quietness are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.”

 

            What enables us to succeed in life and overcome our challenges and struggles? Throughout the book, Solomon continually challenges our perception of success to drive home the point that wisdom and obedience to God are the only things that have genuine value in the struggles we face in life.  Everything else becomes a pursuit of the insignificant. To illustrate the importance of wisdom within the context of God’s wisdom, Solomon presents an astonishing contrast.  With the full might of his military strength, a mighty king surrounds a small town.  It is a David and Goliath contrast.  This mighty king has all the weapons of war and the mighty armies of men.  In contrast, the small village has nothing that would stand against this invading force.  Even before the battle starts, the results are already assured. The only weapon the town has is found in the most unlikely source, the presence of a poor man who possesses wisdom. The battle boils down to the conflict between a powerful king and an insignificant nobody. In a surprising turn of events, through his wisdom, this man of little status in the eyes of the world achieved what strength could not; he brought deliverance to the city.  Wisdom, rather than abilities and power, are more valuable. However, the irony is that the city soon forgot the individual and his wisdom. 

            Through this parable, Solomon highlights the value and importance of wisdom over the strength and power of armies.  The strength of a nation is not found in its military but in its character and righteousness.  Zechariah 4:6-7 reminds us, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, Says the Lord. Nothing, not even a mighty mountain, will stand in Zerubbabel’s way.”  The point that both Zecharaiah and Solomon are making is that wisdom, character, and righteousness are more valuable and necessary for security and success than the strength of the armies or the prosperity of the economy.  The security of the nation is grounded in godly wisdom.  When this is absent, the nation is destined for defeat.

            However, even as Solomon recognizes the value of wisdom,  he also points out that wisdom is often disregarded.  The words of the wise are often ignored, while the shouting of the ruler among the fools is often received with open arms.  In a fallen world, people listen to the voice of a fool who proclaims what people want to hear.  They despise the words of the wise because they want affirmation rather than transformation.  Paul confronts us with our inclination to embrace folly when he writes, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor give thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human” (Romans 1:21-23).  The greatest act of folly is rejecting God and His wisdom and embracing human reason as the basis of truth.  

            Living in a broken and fallen world marred by futility, one can only find meaning and purpose through the wisdom that God provides through His Word. Instead of following the prattle of fools who proclaim human wisdom, we need to turn to the wisdom of God, for it is this wisdom that brings strength and security. Solomon drives the point home that success and meaning in life do not come through human effort and power but through a life governed by God’s wisdom. The starting point for success is the wisdom of God, even though that is the one thing we often ignore.  As you face the struggles of your day, instead of looking for answers from your own wisdom or the wisdom of others, start by looking to God and His wisdom. Start by asking, “What does God say about this?”  How we answer this question will determine our success or failure in life.

 

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