The Scriptorium

The Protection of Wisdom

Only wisdom will keep us forever. Ecclesiastes 7.12

Ecclesiastes 7 (6)

Pray Psalm 49.15.
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,
For He shall receive me.

Read Ecclesiastes 7.12.

1. Which is more to be desired, wisdom or wealth?

2. What is the relationship between knowledge and wisdom?

Wealth can blind people to the things that matter most. Wealth provides a false sense of security to those who have it. It can lead people to think that now they are truly happy. Now they have everything they need. Great wealth also gives people a feeling of influence and power. But all of this is fleeting; when the money goes, so go security, happiness, power, and friends.

Still, wisdom is like this, with the exception that the knowledge that brings wisdom truly preserves a man’s life, because it secures him in eternal verities, invests him with eternal riches, and allows him influence that extends even beyond his own lifetime.

Granted, these benefits are intangible; but they are real, and they last. The wise person will strive for whatever lasts – such as the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6.33) – whether he can see it or not (1 Pet. 3.8, 9; Col. 3.1-3).

Here again we note Solomon’s poetic skill, as he telescopes this proverb out of the previous one, thus making a connection between inheritances and wealth – and the false sense of wellbeing they convey – and wisdom and true knowledge – and the lasting benefits they afford.

An advantage of a proverb is that it can be easily recalled when, in the midst of a life situation, something about our context brings to mind a pearl of wisdom we heard, perhaps long ago. Perhaps Solomon hoped that these references to wealth and money might come to Rehoboam’s mind at some point after Solomon’s departure, so that, by frequent recall he might find his way to the wisdom which, at present, he seems indifferent, if not altogether oblivious to.

1. How are wealth and wisdom alike? How are they different?

2. Why is wisdom so much harder to secure than wealth? How would you counsel a fellow believer who said he was hoping to grow in wisdom?  

3. In what sense does wisdom “give life”? How is wisdom expressed in life?

The word translated defense literally means “shade” or “shelter,” a kind of protection. The Hebrew word translated here as excellence is often rendered profit in Ecclesiastes. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible Notes for Ecclesiastes 7.12

Help me to increase in wisdom’s protection, Lord, and to seek Your Kingdom rather than…

Pray Psalm 49.13-20.
Give thanks to God for your redemption, and pray for the lost people in your Personal Mission Field, that they might see the light, understand their need, and turn to Jesus.

Sing Psalm 49.13-20, 15.
Psalm 49.13-20, 15 (Sagina: And Can It Be, That I Should Gain)
Thus go the foolish on their way, and all who approve their deceitful words.
Meekly like sheep to death they go, and meet destruction afterwards.
See how the righteous overrules the fleeting forms of dying fools!
Refrain v. 15

My God redeems my soul from hell!
His grace and mercy let me tell!

Let the redeemed of God take heart, though fools and all their wealth increase.
Death shall deprive him of all he owns, the grave shall make his glory cease.
Thus though he boasts, no light he sees; his end in hell shall ever be.
Refrain v. 15

T. M. Moore

Where does the book of Ecclesiastes fit in the overall flow of Scripture? Our series of studies, God’s Covenant, can show you, and help you discover the great beauty of the unity and diversity of Scripture, and how it all points to Christ. To order your copy of this important workbook, click here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore