1 As dead flies give perfume a bad smell,
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
2 The heart of the wise inclines to the right,
but the heart of the fool to the left.
3 Even as fools walk along the road,
they lack sense
and show everyone how stupid they are.
Some fools are very clever, shrewd, and intelligent people. There is much more to foolishness than low IQ. It’s seen in the impact of our decisions, the quality of our choices, the fruit of our lips, and the way we treat others others. Fools can be recognised by their their self-obsession and blatant disregard for God.
Wisdom offers way more than power and might, wealth and possessions, rhetoric and speeches, glitz and glamour. Wisdom is the humble pathway to life. Come to God, to the source of wisdom.
Unexpected things happen. The future is impossible to predict with certainty. We can’t control it and we waste effort worrying about it. God knows what lies ahead and he invites us to trust him every step of the way.
Have you found Ecclesiastes to be rather depressing? Have you identified with the experience and observations of the author? Have you had any ‘aha’ experiences as you’ve heard the analysis of life? While death is the destiny that awaits us all, there’s a life to be lived before then. Ecclesiastes is not nihilistic. It’s life affirming.
Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! (9:4)
‘Final justice’. It sounds like the title of a Schwarzenegger movie. Evil dudes getting away with heinous crimes, and plots to destroy society, and for gratuitously killing Arnie’s wife and daughter. A big mistake! Schwarzenegger shows his big guns and blows them all away. We cheer the destruction of the bad guys because deep down we believe that injustice should be punished and people brought to account. Ecclesiastes touches a few nerves as it explores the heartaches of unpunished evil and the question of final justice.
God calls his people to submit to those in authority. But is there ever a time for civil disobedience? What happens if the state outlaws Christianity? What then? When do I take a stand and when do I shut up?
(Spoiler alert: I have now finished working through Ecclesiastes and there will be 38 episodes in total. I’ve been uploading these brief messages to my macarisms blog to make them available to people. However, this isn’t the best delivery medium for video. It is better to subscribe to my YouTube channel to access all the talks and watch in sequence or pick out selected topics. I will complete Ecclesiastes on macarisms, but after that I recommend subscribing to YouTube. It’s very easy – just click on the video link and you will be taken to You Tube where you can hit the Subscribe button.)
Some things make claims to wisdom but are, in fact, the height of foolishness. Some things clearly make more sense than others, yet their wisdom is limited. One thing looks foolish beyond description but is, in reality, the source of ultimate wisdom.