13I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. 14 There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. 15But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man.
(Ecclesiastes 9:13-15 ESV)
Just like the swift may not always win the race, the wise may not always get rewarded. King Solomon explains this through a parable which relates a real-life example he had seen.
In this parable a great king came against a little city that had few men in it. The king built great siegeworks against the city. Considering the city’s small size and military weakness, this seems like overkill. If the king simply wanted to take over the city he could have probably done nothing more than send a threat. But it seems he wanted to throw his weight around.
But in the city there was found a poor, wise man. Notice that he was found. The people had to go looking for wisdom as apparently the city’s rulers did not have any. And they found it in an unlikely place – a poor man.
Poor people back then had little respect of those in power. The were not considered valuable resources. Yet, by this man’s wisdom the city was delivered out of the hand of the invading king.
Wisdom is greater than strength. Our society values strength – either physical or political. But most victories in life come not from controlling others but through diplomacy and relationship acumen.
Besides, strength doesn’t last. As we grow older our physical strength wanes. Over time our influence over others does likewise as newer leaders emerge on the scene. But wisdom not only doesn’t fade, it can increase as we grow older.
Sadly, though, no one remembered the poor man after the siege ended. Someone who should have been remembered as a savior and a hero was forgotten. People don’t value wisdom as much as they do influence, power, and fame.
Wisdom may be better, but it comes with no guarantee of reward – just like we learned yesterday. When we offer godly wisdom to others we may fail to profit from it while they reap its benefits. We should not be surprised or angry at this.
And even though human beings forget God never does. Even though our lives may go unnoticed by others, God knows those who are His [2 Timothy 2:19, Malachi 3:16, Luke 10:20].
Yesterday we read how our lives are certain to be interrupted by unforeseen circumstances. Wisdom teaches us how to deal with them.
Disaster may strike – as it did the city in the parable – but it can be turned into victory through the wisdom of God. True wisdom is following God [Proverbs 3:5-6].
Sadly, the world values other things more than God’s wisdom, including secular wisdom. They’d rather follow the advice of a person based on their fame, wealth, or personality than follow the advice of the God who knows them and seeks only their good.
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