Skip to main content

The Words of the Wise (Ecclesiastes10-12)

The final stretch of Ecclesiastes has the feel of the wheels slowing as the end approaches. Three times we're told about the words of the wise, and how they relate to the rule, to the king and to God. The viewpoint escalates with each cycle.

9:17-10:7 Rulers can be loud and angry but the wise will keep quiet and calm in the face of them. Wisdom has a stability that isn't easily fazed, though things in the world are topsy-turvy, rulers are wicked and the rich can be like slaves. Wisdom stays the course, holding to The Wisdom of God whatever the world is like.

10:8-11:6 Kings can be good and they can be bad. It's tempting to be deeply opinionated about them, but that's like digging a hole for yourself to fall into. Words travel and the wise know this. The wise know that words of fools multiply and consume them. The fool fails to realise that there are limits what he can know and so blabbers on endlessly like a blogger. Words multiplying like books. The wise gain favour. Wisdom is the way of grace.

11:7-12:14 Ultimately it matters where you stand with God. The skies will darken as life heads for judgement where God brings all things into the light, known and secret. And so, to fear God is the way of wisdom. The God who created us and from whom our very life comes. The world is full of vanity - for this is not a Genesis 1-2 world but a Genesis 3-4 world that groans for God to act, to set everything right. It's delusional to claim otherwise and pretend like everything is wonderful. In the mean time Ecclesiastes says: cling to wisdom, to the wisdom of God - the person in whom you can have life itself, and know that the page will turn and it'll soon be time for the Song of Songs to lift our hearts.


  1. I think The Song is the best antedote or just partner for Ecclesiastes... has more of a Geneis 1-2 flavour to it, and so cries out for the Passover (where it is read) and for the Great Passover to bring us into it's marriage.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use ( tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue

2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin

3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong

4. Cornerstone - Hillsong

Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…