Week 11: Nuggets of Wisdom – Don’t be a Fool!

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Ecclesiastes 10:1–20
Chapter 19: Be Sensible! (10:1–11)
Chapter 20: A Fool’s Portrait (10:12–20)

 

 

Most people would find no structure in these proverbs – similar to chapter 7. Those that try to group the verses in some type of pattern don’t agree as to the main topics… But I think there is a common theme running through these verses dealing with the relationship between rulers and their subjects. Certainly Solomon was qualified to speak on this subject as the great and wise king of the nation of Israel. He starts out with some more general observations comparing wisdom and folly; but then makes the more specific application to the realm of civil government. These same principles would apply to other realms as well: leadership and submission in the home; in the church; at work; etc.

FOLLY ON THE PART OF RULERS PUTS A NATION IN JEOPARDY AND REQUIRES A RESPONSE OF WISDOM – YET WISDOM IS PRECARIOUS AT BEST

I. (:1-3) FOLLY LEADS TO RUIN

  1. (:1) Ruining That Which Otherwise Would Be Good — One Rotten Apple Spoils the Barrel
  2. (:2) Ruining the Fool’s Course of Life by Consistently Making Bad Choices — Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide – If You Have a Good Conscience
  3. (:3) Ruining the Fool’s Own Reputation and Legacy — A Fool is Easy to Spot

II. (:4-7) FOLLY ON THE PART OF RULERS CAN FRUSTRATE THE WISE WHO ARE IN A POSITION OF SUBMISSION

  1. (:4) Tempted to Run Away From Your Circumstances — Keep Your Cool / Hold Your Water
  2. (:5-7) Tempted to Resent Inequities — The Prince and the Pauper – Incompetence Exalted over Competence

III. (:8-11) WISDOM IS SUPERIOR BUT PRECARIOUS

  1. (:8-9) Wisdom Understands the Dangers and Uncertainties of Life
    1. Accidents Happen – They are Unavoidable
    2. Fine line between production and catastrophe – No Guarantees of Success in this life
  2. God’s Sovereignty and Providence governs all circumstances;
    1. Digging a Pit
    2. Breaking through a wall
    3. Gathering Stones
    4. Splitting Logs
  3. (:10) Wisdom Must be Applied Skillfully — Work Smart / Use the Right Tools
  4. (:11) Wisdom Must Be Applied at the Right Time — Timing is Everything

IV. (:12-15) FOLLY LEADS TO RUIN

  1. (:12-14a) The Folly of Speaking Stupidly
  2. (:14b) The Folly of Thinking Stupidly
  3. (:15) The Folly of Working Stupidly

V. (:16-20) FOLLY ON THE PART OF RULERS CAN FRUSTRATE THE WISE WHO MUST BITE THEIR TONGUE AND EXERCISE DISCRETION

  1. (:16-17) Contrast Between Foolish and Wise Leadership – The Quality of Leadership Makes All the Difference
    1. Foolish Leadership – Cursing on the Land
    2. Wise Leadership – Blessing on the Land
  2. (:18) Laziness on the Part of Leaders Leads to Ruin — How the Wise can avoid Frustration?
  3. (:19) Response: Enjoy Your Life as Best as Possible
  4. (:20) Response: Bite Your Tongue — Discretion is the Better Part of Valor