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A wise man said, “knowledge is knowing how to pick your nose, wisdom is knowing when”


In these Scriptures Solomon talks about wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to choose the best possible end, and to choose the best possible means of achieving that end. It is not the same as knowledge, but is rather the ability to put one’s knowledge to practical use.

Solomon, the wisest man of the OT, had a lot to say about wisdom. ““The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10

In Proverbs Solomon uses an illustration talking about lady wisdom and lady folly. Look throughout Proverbs and much is said about wisdom. Ecclesiastes is much the same. “Wisdom makes one wise man more powerful than ten rulers in a city.” Ecclesiastes 7:19

In chapter 9:13-16 Solomon elaborates more on 7:19 with a parable or an illustration of what he is talking about. However, in this story he also comments upon the drawbacks to wisdom

Our society honors wealth, attractiveness and popularity above wisdom. Many times the wisest in any area of life go unheeded and shunned even though they have the best ideas. Vs. 16- Wisdom is a greater asset than strength, although this is ignored many times by the masses. Samson was not wise but how many loved him. Solomon is warning us to be receptive to wisdom. Most of the best and the brightest are not at the top of the heap in society. No matter who it comes from true wisdom needs to be honored.

Let’s spiritualize this parable/ story in Ecclesiastes 9:13-16. Talk about 3 things:

1. a small city with only a few people in it

In Bible times larger cities had walls around them to protect them against enemy invasion.

Let’s say that this is the planet Earth. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Psalms 8:3, 4, NIV.

We are nothing compared to God and His immense universe.

We have no protection against enemies. If we do not have the protection of the Lord, we are extremely vulnerable to spiritual attack. No physical weapons or physical defensive items will help us. We are open to anything from the spiritual realm.

In ancient times they had no defenses against areal attack but there were not planes.

“The ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” Ephesians 2:2, NIV.

2. a powerful king came against it, surrounded it and built huge siege works against it

This small village doesn’t stand a chance.

Satan uses bulwarks of greed, deception and confusion against this world. He swallows up entire countries into his evil kingdom. “The whole world is under the control of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19, NIV.

There are very few men who are willing to stand up against him. Cowering in their homes, not mustering the courage to stand for the truth. But there is one wise man

3. a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom

Poor- “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9

Wise- “The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.” Matthew 12:42, NIV. Also “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:24

Saved the city- This man came up with a certain strategy for salvation. Sinners are saved by grace (as the basis, this is the gospel of Jesus Christ), through faith (as the means), in baptism (as the time), for good works (as the result). See Ephesians 2:8-10; Colossians 2:12.

The sad part is that this wise man is forgotten. Many forget or fail to understand what this man has done for them. Actually it could be read that no man appreciated that same poor man. This is what has happened with our Savior. He is often forgotten, often unappreciated for what He did for mankind. They do no appreciate His sacrifice for their sins.

We would expect this from many in the world, but what about vs. 16. But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded. As Christians do we do this?

Many want Jesus Christ to have their sins forgiven but we fail to heed and obey His words. Many do not want to hear the whole will of God from the wise man Jesus Christ. “For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.” Acts 20:27, NIV.

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