We are born as creative and inquisitive beings, in the image of God. Yet, this very nature, separated from God, can lead to destruction. The simplest misfortune is one that is so taken by wealth or possessions or honor that they cannot enjoy it in Ecclesiastes 6:2 “God gives a man wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires; yet God does not enable him to enjoy it”. Some are never satisfied in Ecclesiastes 6:7 “All of a man’s toil is for his mouth—yet his appetite is never satisfied”. It is good for us to set ourselves to understand and to gain wisdom even though the depths of evil or the schemes of evildoers is “beyond my grasp” in Ecclesiastes 7:23. It is still good for us to gain wisdom to order our lives as in Ecclesiastes 7:18 “It is good to take hold of the one and also must not let go of the other; for whoever fears God will hold both of them secure”. We are to take hold of our life for righteousness and not let evil go unpunished.
His Heart Is Not Satisfied With His Prosperity
Here is described a “misfortune” in
Ecclesiastes 6:1 Here is another misfortune that I have seen under the sun, and it is prevalent among humankind.
and it is that a man, though this is written by a man about men, we can certainly apply this in the gender-neutral sense because women also may fall into this trap. So, we can easily read “a man” as “a person” and “him” as “them” in
Ecclesiastes 6:2 God gives a man wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires; yet God does not enable him to enjoy it—instead someone else ends up enjoying it. This is vanity—indeed, it is a grievous ill!
this is the person that is “not satisfied with his prosperity” in Ecclesiastes 6:3. We might describe them as a workaholic or as driven or as greedy or even as those that are so needy in their own soul that they cannot be satisfied trying to prove their worth by amassing things.
There is in our physical nature a need we all have for preservation. It is for our own well being but it can run rampant as in
Ecclesiastes 6:7 All of a man’s toil is for his mouth—yet his appetite is never satisfied.
Somehow, we must learn to be content, to be satisfied in
Ecclesiastes 6:9 Better to be content with what your eyes see than for your soul to constantly crave more. This also is vanity and chasing wind!
Wisdom Restores Life To Its Possessor
Whoever Fears God Will Hold Both Secure
There are in this life, those that are righteous and those that are wicked. Yet, as a leader, whether as a king or a parent, or even among peers, there is a danger of destroying yourself in these extremes and this is based on your behaviour, your actions:
- “Do not act excessively wise” in Ecclesiastes 7:16.
- “Do not act excessively wicked” in Ecclesiastes 7:17.
The wise man will recognize that he must “take hold” of his own life and personally live a righteous life but he cannot force that on others. Also, the wise man will recognize that there must be an end to evil, he cannot “let go” and allow it to go unpunished. So, here is the path of the wise in
Ecclesiastes 7:18 It is good to take hold of the one and also must not let go of the other; for whoever fears God will hold both of them secure.
I Said “I Will Be Wise!”
We can all recognize the value of wisdom, it is the simple solution that comes in the middle of a crisis or the “Ahah!” moment when we understand what to do next. The word used here is “(ḥokmâ). n. fem. wisdom, skill. Refers generally to practical skill or special expertise ranging from technical skills to shrewdness, discernment, or understanding.1 but it is clear from the context that wisdom here is more than just aggregate skill and knowledge. Certainly, two minds are better than one, but here, there is that moment of insight that comes and brings a new idea, a new or better way to do things, a “shrewdness, discernment, or understanding” that is wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 7:19 Wisdom gives more strength to the wise than ten rulers who are in the city.
Yet, in seeking wisdom, we find there is more to know than we can discover in
Ecclesiastes 7:23–24 All this I have tested with wisdom. I said, “I will be wise!” but it was beyond my grasp. 24 Whatever is—it is far beyond comprehension. Who can discover it?
There are many facts we can know about our world, but when it comes to understanding “that wickedness is foolishness and that folly is delusion” in Ecclesiastes 7:25 it is beyond our ability because in
Ecclesiastes 7:29 Look! This alone I found: God made mankind upright, but they have devised many schemes.”
We are made in the image of God and are by nature creative beings, yet we are in this fallen world and separated from God. Here, that creative nature that is in us also devises evil. Here, the teacher, the writer of Ecclesiastes, Solomon has written what is later described in
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful more than anything else, and it is disastrous. Who can understand it?
There Is A Proper Time And Right Procedure
Sometimes Those In Authority Harm Others
All Are In The Hand Of God
- Ecclesiastes 6:1–12 His Heart Is Not Satisfied With His Prosperity
- Ecclesiastes 7:13–18 Whoever Fears God Will Hold Both Secure
- Ecclesiastes 7:19–29 I Said “I Will Be Wise!”
- Ecclesiastes 6:1–12
- Ecclesiastes 7:1–29
- Ecclesiastes 8:1–17
- Ecclesiastes 9:1–6
- 1. Nettelhorst, R. P. (2014). Wisdom. D. Mangum, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, & R. Hurst (Eds.), Lexham Theological Wordbook. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.