The Scriptorium

The Neglect of Wisdom

Better not let this get away from you. Ecclesiastes 10.18-20

Ecclesiastes 10 (7)

Pray Psalm 38.22.
Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!

Read Ecclesiastes 10.18-20.
Review Ecclesiastes 10.

1. How is being wise like maintaining a house?

2. Why should we not speak ill of others?

Being wise is full-time work. Neglect wisdom and you will pay (v. 18). Yes, there is a time for laughter and gladness, and even money is not inherently evil (v. 19). But it won’t solve all our problems (Solomon is being ironic here), and it can’t be looked to as the source of happiness. It’s more important to get wisdom than to get bread, wine, or money. In the end you’ll know more joy, peace, and prosperity by “keeping the roof in repair” than by filling your life with good times. This makes being wise and working at wisdom full-time work. No flies in the ointment, ever.

And if Rehoboam thought about mocking his dad to his friends, he needed to remember that he will be king one day, and the scornful words of those who oppose him will find their way back to him, one way or another (v. 20). Then what will the fool do?

Jesus Christ is the Wisdom of God (Col. 2.3), and He never rests from applying His wisdom to the task of upholding the world and all things in it (Heb. 1.3). There is no such thing as a “spiritual vacuum” in life (Eph. 5.15-17). Wherever we are not keeping up the wisdom of God, the rot of folly will find a foothold.

Jesus is our example – steadfast and faithful in exerting His power, love, and wisdom on the entirety of creation.

We must not become distracted by the things that merely gratify, satiate, and entertain us, so that we neglect the larger and more important duty of keeping up the wisdom of God. The King of Heaven knows the folly we think we can get away with in secret. He loves us too much to sit by and let us destroy our lives with sin.

1. What do we mean by saying that wisdom is “full-time work”?  

2. In what sense are “laziness” and “idleness” antithetical to wisdom?

3. Why should we guard our hearts and mouths against saying wicked things about others, even though we’re alone and only speaking to ourselves?

Our house, which was built to human stature, along with the habitation we shall have in heaven, will collapse if we are lazy and hesitant to do good works. And every floor that depends upon a rafter for support will crush its inhabitant when it falls to the ground. It is when the assistance of our hands and our strength is lacking that all the storm clouds and violent winds from above burst forth upon us. Jerome (347-420), Commentary on Ecclesiastes 10.18

Help me to work hard at being wise, Lord, especially today as I…

Pray Psalm 38.1-22.
Repent of any sins, renew your hope in the Lord, and seek Him for the wisdom you will need for this day.

Sing Psalm 38.1-22.
Psalm 38.1-22 (Leoni: The God of Abraham Praise)
O Lord, rebuke me not, nor chasten me in wrath!
Your arrows pierce my sinful heart and fill my path.
Your heavy hand weighs down.
My flesh and bones grow weak.
My sins oppress, confuse, confound – I cannot speak!

My sinful wounds grow foul, and fester painfully;
I bend and groan within my soul most mournfully!
Sin fills my every part;
Conviction stings my breast.
Lord, ease my numbed and burning heart and grant me rest!

You know all my desire, my sighs You know full well.
My strength fails and light’s holy fire my eyes dispel.
My friends and loved ones fail.
The wicked do me wrong.
My life they seek, my soul assail the whole day long.

Their threats I will not heed, nor speak to their reproof.
To hear or speak I have no need – I claim Your truth!
Lord, hear my fervent prayer!Let not my foes rejoice.
Redeem me from their traps and snares – Lord, hear my voice!

My sins I now confess; my anxious soul relieve!
Though foes are strong, Lord, heal and bless all who believe!
Forsake me not, O Lord!
Repay my foes with wrath.
Stand by me with Your saving Word and guard my path!

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.You can download all the studies in this series on Ecclesiastes by clicking 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.

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