11Wisdom is good with an inheritance, an advantage to those who see the sun. 12For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it. 13Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? 14In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
(Ecclesiastes 7:11-14 ESV)
Yesterday King Solomon gave us some specific examples of how to live wisely which included being willing to accept constructive criticism, not being to quick to quit when things aren’t going well, and not complaining. Today he expounds on the benefits of wisdom.
Wisdom is an advantage to those who are alive. It offers protection much like money provides protection. While loving money is not a good thing [1 Timothy 6:10] God recognizes that having at least enough of it has its benefits, especially when we face hard economic times. Having wisdom is similarly beneficial when we go through difficult times in life.
Interestingly, the Hebrew word translated “protection” here is צֵל (pronounced: sāl) which means “shadow”. Just like the shadow of a tree or a building provides protection from the sun, wisdom provides protection from life.
One of the ways we can apply wisdom is to realize that we cannot make straight what God has made crooked. This phrase by Solomon is just an expression – he is not accusing God of doing anything wrong or deceptive. He is simply stating a truth – man has no power over God.
As we’ve learned over the past couple of days, sometimes God will send us through difficult (i.e. “crooked”) times. Maybe we lose our job. Or our marriage faces a crisis. Or we get a devastating medical diagnosis.
As difficult as these situations are, we should embrace these as learning experiences that build our character for this is exactly why God allows them to happen.
We must realize we cannot affect God’s choices. He is sovereign. And He knows what He is doing [Romans 8:28].
When God sends us prosperity we should be joyful. When God sends us adversity we should consider what we can learn from it by applying the wisdom we have previously achieved in life. Wisdom provides protection so the adverse circumstance doesn’t become worse than it need be.
Much like a baseball pitcher can’t simply throw the same pitch at the same speed and in the same location lest the batter know what is coming, God sends both prosperity and adversity into our lives – each without warning – so that we cannot predict what will come next.
We are to leave everything in the hands of God. It is not for us to understand or predict His ways. Our job is to respond properly to the life lessons He gives us and thereby accumulate wisdom.
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