Chapter 10 of Ecclesiastes has quite a few insights on how to live. I am just going to highlight some verses and split them up into two posts.
As the Preacher showed us previously, things are not always what they seem to be. Sometimes we make decisions that look right, but turn out to be wrong. The decisions we make, if not made with wisdom, can hurt ourselves and others — especially if we are people with much influence or power.
Dead flies putrefy the ointment, so does a little folly outweigh wisdom and honour.`` As a young teen, peer pressure can be overwhelming and the insistence of friends can turn us into fools. Sadly it`s a lesson many of us must learn over and over again throughout life.
``If a rulers` anger rises against you, do not leave your post. Calmness can lay great errors to rest.`` Sometimes our first impulse at trouble is to run the other way. However, that just makes us look guilty. A far better way is to show deference. A soft answer turns away wrath, and acknowledging another persons` feelings and rights can remove offense. It shows that you are a reasonable person that has a willingness to work things out. This is true when dealing with a friend or someone in position of authority.
``Ì have seen slaves riding on horses and princes walking like slaves.`` This verse actually refers to favoritism. You`ve heard it quoted, ``it`s not what you know, it`s who you know.`` Sometimes those with great ability go unnoticed, while those who have the right friends are put in positions of great authority. Perhaps this is one of the reasons government is so corrupt.
``He who digs a pit will fall into it, and he who quarries stones will be bit by a serpent.`` This is not talking about actual pits or quarries. It is speaking about what we do to ourselves and to each other. The first part of this verse tells us that if you try to set someone up for a fall, you may be the one hurting in the end. The second one tells us that when we work to get something of great value to us, something precious—we may get it, but it might hurt us in the end. Money is the thing that comes to mind. We all want more, but sometimes less is more. Yes, we all need money to live, but the love of money can corrupt us.
``If the axe is dull and the man does not whet the edge, he must put forth more strength; but wisdom helps him to succeed.`` Think carefully about how you go about things. Consider how you approach a matter because there is usually an easy way and a hard way. Careful consideration will make the job faster and easier. This is true when doing something, or dealing with others.
I`m going to stop here and post the second half of chapter 10 over the weekend.
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