The beauty of wisdom

[Ecclesiastes 7:11-14]

What do you think is the decision criterion that we make in our lives? My personal thought is 'Are there any benefits for me?' For example, if we are standing at the crossroads of choices A and B, if the path A benefits us, but path B is disadvantageous to us, then we will choose path A. Of course, we have to think about the "benefits" that it give to us when we make the choice. We must consider whether the way we choose is beneficial to our faith or only to our physical life. And if the way we want to choose is spiritually profitable, then we should choose that path. Although the path does not benefit our physical life, we must choose that path if the path is profitable to our spiritual life. In order to make the right decision, we need God's wisdom. We must have God’s wisdom so we can make the right judgments with the right discernment.

As we continue to meditate on Ecclesiastes 7, we are thinking about "wisdom": verses 1 to 4 are’"the heart of wisdom,’ verses 5 to 7 are ‘rebuke of wisdom,’ and verses 8-10, ‘service of wisdom’. In that context, this is what King Solomon, says in Ecclesiastes 7:11 and 12: “Wisdom along with an inheritance is good …” (v. 11), “But the advantage of knowledge is …” (v. 12). In a word, he says that wisdom is beautiful. In fact, King Solomon speaks of "beauty of wisdom." Here, the word 'beautiful' means 'good' or 'advantage'. This means that wisdom is good for us and it has advantage. What are the advantages of wisdom to us? There are three things:

First, the advantage of wisdom is that wisdom gives us eternal values.

In Ecclesiastes 7:11, King Solomon said that wisdom along with an inheritance is good. Here, “inheritance” refers to a perpetual possession. In other words, wisdom is beautiful because it is worth forever to us (Park Yun-sun). The substance or power of the world is not worth eternity, but wisdom is worthy of eternal value to us. That’s why wisdom is beautiful. Wisdom is good and beautiful like the inheritance because it gives us eternal value of wisdom. Wisdom is good, beneficial and beautiful because it leads us to pursue the eternal things. In particular, as King Solomon already said in Ecclesiastes 3:11, God has given us a longing for eternity, and wisdom satisfies our very eternal heart. That’s why wisdom is good, beneficial and beautiful. So Proverbs 24:14 says as follow: “Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” For those who have wisdom have eternal hope.

Second, the advantage of wisdom is that wisdom gives us protection.

Look at Ecclesiastes 7:12 – “For wisdom is protection just as money is protection, But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.” Here, the literal meaning of the word "protection" means "shade" or "shelter" (Radmacher). What King Solomon is saying is that wisdom and money is shade or shelter to us. Imagine a day with sunshine. How hot would it be? Then will we not go to find the shade? King Solomon says that wisdom and money give us such a shade. The word ‘wisdom and money give us shade’ means it gives us pleasant security. In a word, wisdom and money protect us. What do you think? Do you think wisdom and money protect you? I think we agree that money protects us. The reason is that if we have money, we can be without fear and anxiety. So Proverbs 13:8 says “A man's riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat.” For example, if my kid is kidnapped and the kidnapper asks for the money, if I have the money, then I can pay for his child and save my child. But what if we do not have money in such a situation? But King Solomon says that wisdom is more beautiful than money. In other words, wisdom has an advantage in protecting us more than money. Do you also think wisdom is more beneficial in protecting us than money? In Proverbs 31:10-31, the Bible speaks of a noble woman. Especially in verse 10, the Bible says: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Things like pearls and money are things that will disappear. In other words, money has no eternity. But, as we have already meditated on today's Ecclesiastes 7:11, wisdom does not disappear. Wisdom has eternal worth to us. That’s why King Solomon says that wisdom is more beneficial than money. Money may be able to preserve our physical lives but it cannot preserve our souls. But wisdom can preserve both our physical lives and our souls. So Proverbs 3:13-14 says as follow: “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” We must listen to what Proverbs 4:6 says: “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.”

Lastly, the advantage of wisdom is that wisdom enables us to experience God's helping grace in time of need.

What is the grace of God that helps us in time of need? The Bible says in two ways: (1) First, the grace of God we experience is to acknowledge God's sovereignty. Look at Ecclesiastes 7:13 – “Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?” The meaning of this word is that man can not fix God's work. Therefore, this is the word that refers to the absolute sovereignty of God (Park Yun-sun). It may be easy to acknowledge God's absolute sovereignty when we prosper. However, it is impossible without faith to acknowledge the absolute sovereignty of God even in times of hardship. Of course, we can acknowledge God’s sovereignty by faith alone even when we are prosperous. However, I think that it is not easy to acknowledge the sovereignty of God when we are in trouble. Of course, we can ask this question: 'If God loves us, why doesn’t God only gives us prosperity and not hardship?’ It is a sovereign work of God that can not be understood by our intellect. What is God's will? Look at Ecclesiastes 7:14 – “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.” In His sovereignty, the reason God allows us to have not only good times but also bad times are so that we cannot discover anything about our future. This is beneficial to us because we believe in God alone (Park Yun-sun). The message that God is giving us is wisdom recognizes the absolute sovereignty of God in times of prosperity and trouble. Therefore, a wise man lives by faith in acknowledging his sovereignty when he is prosperous or when he is in trouble. (2) Second, the grace of God we experience in time of need through wisdom is that it makes us to be happy when times are good and to consider when times are bad. Look at Ecclesiastes 7:14 again: “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider … .” A wise man knows that God gives both prosperity and hardship in our lives. The wise man does not rejoice only when he is prosperous. Rather, he enjoys God’s grace in his suffering. What is that grace? The grace is wisdom makes us see what we have not seen until this time of trouble. What is it that wisdom makes us see when we are suffering and enjoy the grace of God? (Park Yun-sun) (1) First, it is the fact that we are sinners. In other words, wisdom makes us humble before God by seeing our sins when we are in trouble. How blessed is this? It is a great blessing to realize that we are sinners before God. The reason is that when we realize this, we can realize the greatness of the grace of Jesus Christ. If we can realize this grace when we are suffering, then the suffering that we go through is blessing. Wisdom is beneficial because wisdom helps us to realize this. (2) Second, another grace that wisdom gives us when we are in trouble is that it helps us to see other people. When we are doing well we tend to not look around us and even ignore other people around us. But when we are suffering, then we start to look at them. Before we use to ignore them but now we show some concern about them. (3) Third, grace that wisdom gives us when we are in trouble is it enables us to see God's judgment. Who will think of God's judgment when all is well and prosperous? But when we are in trouble, we meet a just God who judges sin. Therefore, we also have awe toward God. This is the grace God gives us when we are in trouble. (4) Lastly, grace that wisdom gives us when we are in trouble is it makes us look forward to dwelling with the Lord forever. Since the wisdom not only makes us eager for eternity, but also gives us eternal values, it makes us more and more eager for God's eternal kingdom, especially in times of trouble. And wisdom makes us to hope for eternal the kingdom where we will live with the Lord forever. This is the grace that God gives to us when we are in trouble or afflicted. This is the advantages of wisdom. This is the beauty of wisdom.

Wisdom is beautiful. In other words, wisdom is good for us. The reason is because wisdom gives us eternal values. Also, wisdom is beneficial because it protects us. Moreover, wisdom is beneficial because it helps us to experience God's grace in time of need. So this is what Proverbs 4:7 says: “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” So let us ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, for wisdom (Jam. 1:5). Therefore, I hope and pray that we all be able to experience the beauty of wisdom.