Reading the Word
Ecclesiastes 9:17–18 (ESV)
17 The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
Understanding and Applying the Word
In the first three quarters of these verses we read of the advantages of wisdom. The quiet of wisdom is better than the shouting of fools. It seems like the shouting is all we ever hear, as it demands attention. However, wisdom is better and is often spoken in the soft quiet. The second verse also begins by telling us that wisdom is better than weapons of war. This is because the wise know how to avoid going to war, which is always costly, even for the victor.
Even with all of its benefits, there is one great weakness to wisdom. It only takes one sinner to mess it all up. You can have ninety-nine wise people working together, but if there is one who acts foolishly, the whole thing can fall apart. We see this on our roads. The great majority can be driving along just fine, but if one drives recklessly, it can cause trouble for everyone. In the context of Ecclesiastes, this tells us of the vanity of finding fulfillment in wisdom. It can be ruined so easily. We must seek fulfillment in the only One who can truly deliver. That One is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
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