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The Scriptorium

A Little Wisdom Goes a Long, Long Way

Ecclesiastes 10.10, 11

10If the ax is dull,
And one does not sharpen the edge,
Then he must use more strength;
But wisdom brings success.

11A serpent may bite when it isnot charmed;
The babbler is no different.

The Story:In the simple, non-moral, areas of life, it only makes sense to use a little wisdom. Even Rehoboam would acknowledge that; yet, as time will tell, he won’t practice it. A sharp axe gets more work done than a dull one. For better success in chopping, wise up and sharpen the ax! But folly is unpredictable. You never know when it might bite you, like the unpredictable snake in a charmer’s basket. You think you’ve got this situation in hand, then BANG, it blows up in your face. But wisdom never fails. If it makes sense to be wise in the small things of life – and thus to avoid predictable and unpredictable outcomes – doesn’t it make sense to pursue wisdom for allof life? Rehoboam would learn the hard way how the “snake” of folly can suddenly turn on the one who thinks himself its master. But no one can master folly. Its stench will out (v. 1); its tendencies are inevitable (v. 2); and everybody can see it, even though they might hold their peace in the presence of its ravings (vv. 3, 4).

The Structure:Solomon’s ability to appeal to common sense and everyday realities is seemingly unlimited. Certainly he has thought long and hard about the value of wisdom. He sees it everywhere, as indeed, wisdom can everywhere be found (cf. Prov. 8.1-3). But you have to look for wisdom, study it, pursue and embrace it, and not try to “balance” wisdom with just a little bit of folly. They just don’t mix, and it’s always wisdom that gets spoiled. The folly of an unbelieving age has made many inroads into the Church in our day. Believers would be helped by paying a little more attention to the ways God speaks into the ordinary situations of life. Jesus was the Master of such careful observation.

What opportunities for learning the ways of wisdom come to you each day in the everyday situations of life? Are you paying attention?

Each week’s studies in our
Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “It’s Common Sense! Ecclesiastes 10,” simply click here.

T. M. Moore

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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 the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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