Summary: A wise man takes life in stride because he has a realistic perspective about people, society, and himself.

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Wisdom and Reality

(Eccl. 8:1--9:3)

1. Wisdom has always been a valuable quality:

Ivy Lee, a management consultant, was called in by Charles Schwab, chairman of Bethlehem Steel Company, to give him advice on how to better manage his time. After observing Schwab for several hours, Lee gave this advice: "Every evening write down the six most important things that must get done the next day, and list them in order of importance. Don’t begin item two until item one is complete." Schwab asked Lee how much he wanted for this advice and Lee said, "Use the plan for 6 months and send me a check for how much you think it is worth." After 6 months, Lee received a check from Schwab for $25,000--which was quite a lot of money in the 1920’s.

2. That wisest of kings, Solomon, has been sharing with us counsel for

dealing with life..., and now, as we come to chapter 8, we say the wise man is handling life well….let’s read verse 1….

Why does the wise man of Ecclesiastes 8:1 go from a demoralized look to a confident look? Why? Because a wise man takes life in stride and has realistic expectations.

MAIN IDEA: A wise man takes life in stride because he has a realistic perspective about people, society, and himself.

I. He Expects Those In Leadership to Be Flawed (2-9)

1. Those who Have Executive Authority (2-9)

(1) the king may be corrupt

(2) Still go along with the protocol and procedures…(5-6)

(3) console yourself at what the king cannot do (7-8), and at his mortality

(4) recognize that the evil people are enslaved by wickedness (8b)…

(5) playing the authority card too often might mean you get tossed out of the game (like Solomon’s son, Rehoboam) (9)

2. Those Who Have Religious Authority (10)

(1) people hate religious hypocrisy…and they should

(2) but, hate it or not, it has always been…began with Cain who offers a sacrifice and then kills his brother….

(3) we are all hypocrites to some degree, because none of us lives us to the standard….but it is the PRETENDING that really alienates people…people who do not have an agenda against us will accept many of our faults as long as we are open about them…

3. People who retreat in cynicism and sarcasm whine about things, but do little to change them; people who are idealistic often become crusaders who eventually burn out in utter disappointment; but people who are realistic and participate in society become INFLUENCERS for good, because they know the limits of what can be, and they are more prone to take things in stride.

A wise man takes life in stride because he has a realistic perspective about people, society, and himself.

II. He Realizes Some People Have to Be Controlled by Fear (11-13)

1. Never underestimate the power of fear…

(1) it is one of the strongest forces in the universe…

(2) a healthy version (fear of God, fear of being caught doing wrong) and an unhealthy version (phobias, persecution, and tyranny)

2. According to verse 11, punishing criminal IS a deterrent to crime; reforming those who truly want to be reformed is great, but we must accept the reality that many do not want to be reformed; therefore, it is government’s job to check crime by playing the fear card…

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