Ecclesiastes 4:13 – 16 SOAP v. 13
13 Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice. 14 For he went from prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor. 15 I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with that youth who was to stand in the king’s place. 16 There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
O – Solomon continues to look at life, recognizing that he, near the end of his life, was no further along than anyone else. It would be better to be a poor and wise youth than he – an old and foolish king who didn’t listen to the advice of wise people. Wealth, riches, status, “stuff” – mean nothing! It’s better to have wisdom and be poor than to have “everything” but be foolish. A kingship can topple in a moment, leaving the kingdom to someone else. Popularity of leaders depends on the fickleness of others – look at the present elections in the states!
A – Yesterday, I read the chapters in the book “The Best Yes” that I am reading with two young women from church. The chapter “The Very Best Yes” spoke out to me. The author spoke of a time that she needed wisdom from someone in regards to making a decision while also traveling a difficult road with one of her children. Just a few sentences from the book:
“I knew I needed to stand on the wisdom from someone who had gone before me. Someone who had been through some stuff with her kids and still had the find the courage to speak. So I called another speaker I knew had some wisdom found in those places of humility and humiliation. It wasn’t an easy call to make. I cringed at how raw and exposed this admission made me feel. It’s much easier to paint on a smile and pretend…… It was interesting I’d read Proverbs 11:2 just that morning: ‘When price comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.’
Humility and wisdom are a package deal. And often the people who have the most wisdom have experienced the most humility. Or sometimes even the most humiliation. A wisdom like none other can arise from those hard places that bring us low.
When I’m going through stuff that makes it hard to make good decisions I want to turn to people who have been through some stuff. And not just people who went through hard times, but those who came out on the other side carrying some wisdom from which I can learn. Real wisdom – wisdom that’s been unearthed in the messy, untidy, mud-puddle places of life. When this kind of wisdom sits in the heart of a person who is vulnerable enough to drop their pride and share what they – that’s a gift…..”
When we recognize that we need each other, and each other’s wisdom gleaned from the crucible of life, THEN we are wise! We can topple in an instant, maybe not from a throne, but from our own pedestal. It is in humility and reality that we need to lean on each other, gathering His wisdom from His Word, from His heart, and from the hearts of others who do the same.
I want that heart – that heart that has learned from life and experience, enough to share honestly with others, and also to learn FROM others. I don’t want to be like the old and foolish king, who looked back at his life with regret.
P – Father God, You are the heart of wisdom. It all comes from You. Help me to seek it out, like treasure in Your Word. Father, thank You for the reminder that we need others, that we cannot navigate this life without the wisdom of those who look to You and have learned from You. Thank You for my Savior, who died to bring me to You. “Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone and live so all might see. The strength to follow Your commands could never come from me. Oh Father, use my ransomed life in any way You choose, and let my song forever be “My only boast is You.” Amen.
a. Better a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more: The Preacher begins this section with a proverb, observing that it is better to be poor and wise (and young!) than to be old, foolish and have great wealth and status.
b. He comes out of prison to be king: The Solomon thought of a second young man, who rose out of misfortune and obscurity to achieve great wealth, status, and fame (there was no end of all the people over whom he was made king).
c. Yet those who come afterward will not rejoice in him: As Solomon thought of this young man who achieved much and became famous, he understood that the fame would be short-lived. Even if it lasted his entire lifetime (which would be rare and remarkable), it would not live on much beyond his own life. With his under the sun premise, this thought brought the familiar conclusion to the Preacher: Surely this also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
i. “He has reached a pinnacle of human glory, only to be stranded there. It is yet another of our human anticlimaxes and ultimately empty achievements.” (Kidner) – Blueletterbible – David Guzik
All I Have is Christ – Erin Hill – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA5mMBtWKeg
I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still
But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life
Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You
© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)