Friday, November 15, 2013

The Foolish and the Wise

"The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools."
Ecclesiastes 9:17


Let's face it, we all know people who are wise and we all know people who are foolish.

We also, at one point or another, will all listen to, take advise from, follow, or "heed" the words of others.  

The question is, whose words are we heeding?  Who is it that we are listening to?  Are they wise or are they foolish?

There are a lot of voices we get to choose from in this day and age.  Television, radio, social media, news media, ALL have a LOT of opinions that they willing and eager to share.  

Opinions about how to live, what to think and who to vote for.  Opinions about who is right and what is wrong.  Opinions about what your priorities should be and how you should spend your time, energy and money.  Opinions about how to be a good spouse, a loving parent, and a decent citizen.

Some of the voices and words around us are quiet and gentle, but most more like shouts.  They are loud, decisive, judgmental and harsh.

This morning I found myself in the 9th and 10th chapters of Ecclesiastes, a book some believe was written by the ever wise King Solomon.  And although we don't know definitively whether or not he wrote the book, the author (whomever he was) had a lot to say about the foolish and the wise, especially in chapter 10.  

"…a little folly outweighs wisdom" (it takes just a little folly, one act of foolishness to outweigh, counteract, or cancel out the wise choices we have made)

"…the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is" (do you really need me to explain that one?)

"…fools are put in many high positions" (just because someone is in a position of authority or on television or radio, does NOT make them wise.  Sometimes it is just the opposite!)

"…words from a wise man's mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips" (there is a humbleness in the wise that you will not find in the foolish.  And likewise there is a pride in the foolish that you will not find in the wise.)

In this day and age, in our culture and in our society, MANY of the voices we hear are the "shouts of a ruler of fools", and the truly wise words, the quiet ones, get lost in these shouts.  

But it is the quiet words of the wise, the ones we too often miss that we need to heed.  Those are the words we should be listening to, that is the advice we need to follow.  

So where do we turn to hear these quiet words of the wise?  Today I found some in the 9th and 10th chapters of Ecclesiastes.  But you can find them in any of the 66 books in the Bible.  Take a look, the words are quiet, they don't yell or shout, you have to want to hear them, but wiser words you will never find.