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Summary: Are the wise really wise if they do not have God in their lives? Solomon says “No they are not!”

“Are the wise really wise?”

Ecclesiastes 2:12-26

Opening Timer Illustration: Set timer for 30 minutes – Did you know - What happens in 30 minutes? “Mission Maker Magazine”, page 18, Edition 2008, (www.WorldChristianDatabase.org).

7,764 souls began life in the world

3,444 souls meet Jesus face-to-face

3,420 baptisms occurred in foreign mission

$1,311,888 dollars where given to foreign missions

$1,368,924 dollars were embezzled from Christian funds by leaders

10,896 people migrated internationally

402 children became homeless or family-less

2,275 rural poor migrated to cities

1,140 people moved into urban slums

68 people began supporting themselves only by collecting garbage

1,375 children under age five died from preventable starvation related causes

22 million was given to all Christian causes (3% from Christian incomes)

10 Christians died for their faith witness

Thesis: Are the wise really wise if they do not have God in their lives? Solomon says “No they are not!”

Scripture Text: Ecc. 2:12-26

12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom,

and also madness and folly.

What more can the king’s successor do

than what has already been done?

13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly,

just as light is better than darkness.

14 The wise man has eyes in his head,

while the fool walks in the darkness;

but I came to realize

that the same fate overtakes them both.

15Then I thought in my heart,

“The fate of the fool will overtake me also.

What then do I gain by being wise?”

I said in my heart,

“This too is meaningless.”

16 For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered;

in days to come both will be forgotten.

Like the fool, the wise man too must die!

17So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 18I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? 23All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.

24A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.


Our subject this morning is “Wisdom” – Our author Solomon discusses the thought of whether a person who is wise is really wise if God is not a part of his or her life. He talks about the nature of wisdom in comparison to foolishness. He concludes that a person may be wise in the things of the world but this really does not mean anything if they are not endowed with Heavenly wisdom from God.

James addressed this same subject in his New Testament book: James 3:13-18

13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

James speaks of two sets of attitudes. One focuses on negative attitudes and the other positive attitudes.

We have in the passage, James comparing two lifestyles on what he calls "wisdom from above" and "wisdom that is from below." Vs. 14-16 speak of wisdom from below or earthly wisdom and Vs. 17-18 speaks of wisdom that is from above which is from heaven.

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