In the second half of Ecclesiastes 7, Solomon adopts the style of the book of Proverbs, with multiple aphorisms on the topic of wisdom. He compares the wisdom of God (“I turned my heart … to seek wisdom,” vs. 25) with the foolish schemes of mankind (“wickedness of folly,” also vs. 25; “they have sought out many schemes,” vs. 29). Many of the hymns we sing today celebrate God’s wisdom and encourage us to walk in His ways. The familiar hymn Immortal, Invisible praises our God as the “only wise,” who seems inscrutable only because of the splendor of His marvelous light. By contrast, the hymn The Lord Is King warns us not to “murmur at His wise decrees, or doubt His royal promises.” The God Of Abraham Praise declares that we will forsake the world’s “wisdom, fame, and power,” while In Christ Alone assures us that “no scheme of man” can pluck us from the hand of God. Though we may be tired like the pilgrims on their way to Zion in Psalm 84, I pray that this morning our strength is likewise increased, as we leave this place saying, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!” —Henry C. Haffner
Key Words: Wisdom, Schemes, Find, Search, Righteous, Wicked, Life
Keystone Verse: See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes. (Ecclesiastes 7:29)
Ecclesiastes 7:14-29 14
In 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. 15 In my vain life I have seen everything. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing. 16 Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17 Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them. 19 Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city. 20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. 21 Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. 22 Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others. 23 All this I have tested by wisdom. I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me.24 That which has been is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out? 25 I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness.26 And I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. 27 Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things— 28 which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found. 29 See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.