The Wisdom of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes

Posted: May 27, 2007 in bible, Bible Study, Biblical Topics, Christ, Christianity, ecclesiastes, faith, farm, farming, History, life, Me, misc, morals, my life, prayer, proverbs, sin, solomon, Spiritual Struggle, wisdom

Solomon is a good example of starting strong and fading away as the race goes on. Tempted by foreign wives and gods, Solomon forgot his roots. Yet, his writing are enormously beneficial to us. Perhaps they are more beneficial to us than they were to him. Why? Because we have the benefit of his knowledge PLUS the hindsight to know how his life turned out.

Solomon’s pursuit of wisdom began pure and righteous:

“Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” 1 Kings 3:7-9.

In Response God blessed Solomon with great wisdom:

“God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt.” 1 Kings 4:29-30.

That context supplied, what can Solomon teach us? Quite a lot, so here is a small sample of some great teachings from this wise king.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge- 1:7

To understand God’s power, His creation, and His grace is the beginning of knowledge. For those who don’t look to God in awe invent reasons and justification to deny his authority and his sovereignty. That is why the proper awe of God is only the beginning of knowledge. It is a firm foundation to build upon. For how can you accept God when you don’t even recognize Him.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 3:5-8

Our understanding in finite and limited. We can look toward the end, but no matter how informed, we can only make an educated guess at the outcome. But God knows the beginning and the end. He, if we willingly submit, will guide our foot steps in all endeavors. When we take too much confidence in our own abilities and shun God’s guidance we invite ruin and destruction into our life.

Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 3: 9-10

My wife and I, when we begin our farm, will implement this in its literal sense. But in a larger sense, do we give our first fruits- our best? Or do we save for God the leftovers and the crumbs?

Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin. 10:14

This is a nice way of saying we should shut up more often. Our mouths should talk much less, and ears should listen much more. For when our mouths move we leave an impression of ourselves and of God on the listener. Listen first, speak later.

Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

All can be boiled down to revering God and keeping His commandments. This, claims Solomon, is the “whole duty of man.” For God’s commandments are not burdensome. We are not leaving behind a good life or a fruitful life to follow God, we are leaving behind the heavy burden of sin- and its harsh toll on our mind, body, and soul. Praise God for giving is commandments that might guide our steps and keep us from trouble and destruction. It remains to us to learn them, carry them in our hearts, and enact them in our day-to-day life.

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Comments
  1. Jungle Mom says:

    I enjoyed this very much.

  2. Thanks. I love both books. Could be the knowledge seeker in me. 🙂

  3. timbob says:

    Greetings. An interesting thought in the beginning; that the writings of Solomon didn’t benefit him as they do us. I was just listening to Ecclesiastes in the truck while on my way home. Such an awesome book as a lifetime of pondering is placed into words for our benefit. And Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; if we would just adhere to this, a liftime of heartache and missteps can be avoided. Thanks for a great and needful post.

    Have a blessed weekend in Christ.

    timbob

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