Ecclesiastes 10-12

Sharp Axes

I’m willing to bet you have spent some time over the last week wishing you had a better tool for some task you were trying to accomplish. You needed a flat head screwdriver, but all you could find was a philips head. You needed to complete that report, but the hourglass or beachball on your screen just kept on turning. You were late for work, but could not remember just where you left those keys.

All of the Old Testament Wisdom Literature seeks to instruct us away from foolishness and toward wisdom for our joy. Just as your keys never find themselves nor does your computer fix itself, neither does wisdom just happen apart from our working toward it.

It doesn’t take a lot of foolishness to cause a great amount of damage (10:1). Foolishness begins in the heart (10:2 – which should also be the verse for politics, by the way), proceeds out the mouth (10:3), and spills out of us when we are overturned (10:4). We need not go looking for opportunities to display our foolishness, they find us where we are (10-8-9).

Unlike the fool, who goes about his work without thought of where it leads (10:15), the wise person works diligently and thoughtfully (ch.11) so that the light is sweet and he might rejoice in all his days (11:7-8).

These many wise words for daily life from Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are like goads to prod us along continually to live as wise people (12:11). They remind us again and again that, while man is continually seeking to find knowledge (12:12 – which should be the student’s verse, by the way), wisdom is simple – to fear and obey God (12:13). We return to God’s commandments for our daily lives because we know that joy requires wisdom and wisdom requires work.

I love the picture of this in 10:10:

Ecclesiastes 10:10 (ESV) — 10 If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.

Our hearts and minds become dulled by the sin nature that remains in our bodies and the world we live in. We must sharpen the edge daily on the Word of God if we are going to live wise lives that lead to joy.

How sharp is your edge? Discipline your mind to meditate throughout the day on the Word of God and what you have read that the Spirit may use it to sharpen what is blunt.