Wisdom (Part 1)
In this section, Solomon covers a number of small points. The points are similar to the ones found in Proverbs.
The first point is easy to understand. A good reputation is valuable (Prov. 22:1). It brings health (Prov. 15:30) and fond memories of ourselves after we dead (Prov. 10:7). It is unfortunate that so many will not work hard at cultivating their reputation.
Solomon's second point is strange. The day of our death is better than the day of our birth. We will cover this in more detail in lesson 11. For now, note that sorrow has a place in our lives. Remorse at someone's death reminds us just how short our own lives are. Paul tells us that godly sorrow is beneficial (II Cor. 7:10). Life is not a bed of roses and we learn a great deal from the low points in our lives.
Receiving criticism from a wise man is better than from a fool. A wise man criticizes us to help us to be a better person (Pr. 25:11-12), but a fool enjoys a chance to tear us down. Criticism from a fool is as grating as fingernails across a blackboard.
Oppression destroys even a wise man's reason. Bribes destroy a man's heart.
The end is better than the start. There is a lot of excitement at the beginning of a project, but it is nothing compared to the satisfaction of finishing a project well.
Patience is better than pride. A prideful person has no patience with other people's incompetence. We need to learn to be angry slowly (James 1:19-20).
If you talk about the good old days, you don't know what you are talking about. Our memories tend to enhance the good times and fade the bad times.
Wisdom is desirable. It not only profits the person who has it, but also all those who come into contact with the person.
God is always in control. Never forget God whether we are experiencing prosperity or adversity.
Righteous or wicked living does not determine the length of our lives. So many wonder what evil was done when a person dies before old age. Solomon warns against being extremely righteous. This is man's righteousness, not God's righteousness (Pr. 3:7, Phil. 3:6, Rom. 12:3). Nor should we be extremely wicked, which will definitely increase our chances of dying early. Solomon is not advocating purposely sinning once in a while. Rather he acknowledges that even righteous people sin.
Wisdom is more powerful than strength. A wise person can defeat a strong enemy.
Don't pay attention to everything that you overhear. Everyone grumbles at times, so don't be surprised if someone grumbles about you.
Even wisdom has limits. You can't find out about everything through wisdom. However, it is better than having no wisdom and getting caught in the snare of an adulteress.
Solomon sought meaning to life among mankind, but he only found it in one man. No woman had what Solomon was seeking. This is probably a reference to Jesus, the only man to live sinlessly.
The reason for these horrible statistics is not because God made men so they cannot help but to sin. God made man righteous. It is man who hatches so many schemes to sin.
Wisdom shows in the face of those who possess it.
- How can a person be too righteous? Can you cite any examples from the Scriptures?
- Why would God make some people's paths crooked?
- Give an example from the Scriptures of wisdom overcoming strength.