Wisdom that strengthens a wise man

[Ecclesiastes 7:19-22]

I am experiencing the agony of my elderly people around me these days, and I realize that our destiny in this earth is death as Ecclesiastes 7:2 says. And I am taking this truth in my heart. As we get older, I see that our body, the tent of our flesh, cannot but become increasingly weaker. And as our body becomes weaker and weaker, we are exposed to many different illnesses and thus suffer. As the body weakens, the immune system is less able to take illnesses, and I think that if our souls are not strong enough, they will easily fall into temptations and commit sins against God. So we need spiritual power. Then what should we do to get this spiritual power? We must pray to God. I think this prayer that we give to God should be a Word-centered prayer. So perhaps someone is saying that spiritual power is the power of prayer. We must pray hard when we pray. I have personally heard a few years ago that an elderly person told me that I am lacking in spiritual power as a young pastor. Then I did not know how to react because I did not know what spiritual power means. However, when I see myself, I feel that I am lacking not only spiritual power but also intellect, ability, practicality, physical strength, etc. That’s why sometimes I feel very helpless. What should I do? I feel the necessity of strengthening my weaknesses such as spiritual power, intelligence, ability, practice, power. How can I strengthen it? How can I especially strengthen my spiritual power?

In Ecclesiastes 7:19, King Solomon says: “Wisdom makes one wise man more powerful than ten rulers in a city.” What does it mean? This means that wisdom is more powerful to a wise man than ten rulers who rule a city. In a word, wisdom makes the wise man strong. How does wisdom make the wise strong? There are three things we want to learn from the text today.

First, wisdom makes the wise man strong by teaching him that there is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.

Look at Ecclesiastes 7:20 – “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” King Solomon says that there is no righteous man who does good in this world and does not commit sin. What does it mean? It means that there is no one in the world who will earn righteousness by doing good works. In other words, no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the law (Rom. 3:20). So Apostle Paul said in Romans 3:10, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” Wisdom makes the wise man strong by letting him know that there is no one in this world who will be saved by good deeds. How does wisdom make the wise man strong? Wisdom makes him wise by making the wise man to look to the God of salvation. Wisdom teaches us that there is no righteous man who does good in this world and does not commit sin, and that there is no one in this world who is worthy of salvation through human good deeds. By doing so, wisdom makes us look to the God and makes us strong. Therefore, we must desire this wisdom that makes us strong. We should desire this wisdom more than gold treasures. We, who are already justified through faith in Jesus Christ, can be strengthened by wisdom that makes us to realize that we are justified by God's whole grace. In a word, wisdom that makes us strong is the power of grace. Wisdom makes us strong by the power of grace.

` Second, wisdom makes the wise man strong by giving a discerning ear.

Look at Ecclesiastes 7:21 – “Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you.” I personally think that the ear that listens to someone else's words is very precious. This is because the ears that listen to others are not so common. It is one of the most precious comforts to listen to the words of people who are going through their own difficulties and hardships in their lives. Of course, I don’t think this is an easy task. The reason is because we have to control ourselves to listen to others. And as Apostle James said in James 1:19, we have to devote ourselves to be slow to speak in order to listen to others’ words actively. Furthermore, we have to devote ourselves to be quick to listen what others saying (v. 19). That’s why we must seek wisdom from God. Why? When God gives us wisdom, we can not only hear others humbly but also listen with discernment. A true wise man does not listen to everything unconditionally. Instead, he listens to others’ sayings with discernment. In a word, the wise man has a discerning ear. So with his discerning ears, the wise man filters what others are saying. He listens to the words that need to be listened but the rest he filters them out. If we are foolish and without such discerning ears, we will listen to everyone. Then we will hear the words of those who gossip about us and put them in our hearts. We will even hear someone cursing us (Eccle. 7:21). If we listen too carefully to all the words of everyone, then we will even hear someone cursing us. How will we feel if that happens to us? “Charles Spurgeon told his pastoral students that the minister ought to have one blind eye and one deaf ear. “You cannot stop people’s tongues,” he said, “and therefore the best thing to do is to stop your own ears and never mind what is spoken” (Wiersbe).

We must seek wisdom from God. We should ask God to give us a discerning ear. Therefore, we must make a distinction between what we should listen to and what we should not listen to. We should listen to only those words that we should so that they can be beneficial to us. One of the words we should hear is the rebuke of the wise (7:5-7). Look at Ecclesiastes 7:5 – “It is better to heed a wise man's rebuke than to listen to the song of fools.” Who would like to hear the voice of self-reproach? But wisdom makes the wise hear the rebuke of the wise. Not only do we hear reproof, but wisdom allows us to hear God's voice. Therefore, we must seek wisdom from God. We must seek God's discerning ear. And we must rejoice in listening to the voice of the Lord by distinguishing the voice of the world from the voice of the Lord with the sensible ear that God gives us. In a word, the power that wisdom gives us is the power of the Word. Wisdom makes us strong by the word of God.

Lastly, wisdom makes the wise man strong by making him realize his sins.

Look at Ecclesiastes 7:22 – “for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.” When wisdom makes the wise man distinguish the voice of the world from the voice of the Lord and hear the voice of the Lord, we are aware of our sin through the voice of the Lord. Although the voice of the world causes us not to regard sin as sin and continues to commit the same sin, the voice of God makes us regard sin as sin. For example, King Solomon, in today's verse 22, says that wisdom makes wise men view sin as a sin and that is sin of our hearts. And the sins of the heart are that we curse others with our hearts (v.22). If we listen to others without discretion, we can hear curses. Furthermore, if we are not discernible, we may not be able to hear the sound of the heart that curses others in our hearts. Wisdom, however, makes the sound of this heart so powerful that it allows the wise man to hear. How does wisdom make a wise man strong? This wisdom makes the wise able to know the incompetence of the sins of the wise, and at the same time makes the wise to rely on the blood of the cross of Jesus who forgives sins. In other words, true wisdom not only makes the wise man realize the sins of the heart, but also makes him enjoy the freedom of sin by faith in Jesus, who died in the place of the cross, the tree of curse. Don’t you want to enjoy freedom from sin? Wisdom strengthens the wise man by helping him to enjoy freedom from sin. Wisdom makes the wise man strong because it reassures and experiences the power of the blood of Jesus Christ. In a word, the power that wisdom gives us is the power of blood. Wisdom empowers us with the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Wisdom makes the wise strong. Wisdom makes us strong. How does wisdom make us strong? Wisdom teaches us that there is no righteous man who does not commit sin in this world, so that we can only believe in Jesus Christ, who has done good in this world and has not sinned. As a result, wisdom makes us strong by the power of grace. And wisdom makes us grateful in our hearts because we are made capable of the power of grace. In addition, wisdom gives us a discernible ear and makes us strong. Wisdom makes us distinguished the voice of God from the voice of the world and the voice of the world, so that we can filter out the voice of the world, and listen to the voice of God. In other words, wisdom makes us strong by the power of the Word. And wisdom allows us to walk in the path of obedience because it makes us capable by the power of the Word. Wisdom makes us strong by making us aware of our sins. Especially wisdom makes us realize that we are guilty of cursing others with our hearts, so we look at Jesus who paid for his sins. Wisdom enables us to taste the joy of freedom by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. I hope and pray that these blessings to be with you.

"Lord Jesus, grant grace in its fullness

Brimful in my heart to be pour’d

Thou only my strength and my wholeness,

Yes, Thou art my plenty, Lord!

(Hymns, “Heart longings”)