Summary: Solomon gives us some important things to consider
SERIES: BE SATISFIED
“THINK ABOUT IT”
A young girl came into the kitchen one afternoon and complained that her stomach hurt. Her mother told her, “That’s because your stomach is empty. You just need something in it and you’ll be fine.” The mom fixed the little girl a sandwich and she felt much better.
About a week later, the mother and little girl were in the grocery store. They ran across one of the elderly members of their church. After some small-talk, the elderly member mentioned that she was heading home because she had a headache.
Before the mother could say anything, the little girl said, “Mommy says your head hurts because its empty. You just need to put something in it and you’ll be fine.”
Last week, we looked at some thoughts expressed by Solomon concerning wisdom. His thoughts continue in our passage today.
Eccl. 8:1-17 – Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man’s face and changes its hard appearance. Obey the king’s command, I say, because you took an oath before God. Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases. Since a king’s word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?” Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him. Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come? No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it. All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own hurt. Then too, I saw the wicked buried—those who used to come and go from the holy place and receive praise in the city where they did this. This too is meaningless. When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong. Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God. Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow. There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless. So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under
the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun. When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe man’s labor on earth—his eyes not seeing sleep day or night- 17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.
I’m sure that Solomon would agree with the old Persian proverb:
He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not is a fool; shun him.
He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a child; teach him.
He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep; wake him.
He who knows and knows that he knows, is wise; follow him.
I agree with the old preacher that said, “God gave us two ends: one to think with and the other to sit on. Heads you win, tails you lose.” Solomon challenges us to seek wisdom. He is telling us that wisdom enables us to meet challenges in life that defy easy answers and quick solutions. Solomon is talking about spiritual wisdom as opposed to earthly wisdom. Prov. 14:12 – There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Solomon recognizes that earthly wisdom and spiritual wisdom are two different things.
A number of years back, 75 prisoners in Saltillo Prison in northern Mexico started digging a secret tunnel they had designed. They had planned the tunnel so that it would bring them up on the other side of the prison wall.