Knowing How To Make Wise Choices
The one thing that gets us all in the most trouble is the choices we make in life.
God gave us all the gift of a freewill!
God gave us all the ability to choose.
God does not want a bunch of robot Christians!
Freewill is the power to direct our own actions without restraint.
The greatest choice we all have to make concerns life after death.
God first explained this to Israel:
Deu 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: “therefore choose life”, that both thou and thy seed may live:
Deu 30:20 That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
We all have to make this choice!
Again God had to explain this to Israel through Joshua:
Jos 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, “choose you this day whom ye will serve”; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Jesus also presented this choice to the apostles and even Peter knew the choice that had to be made and most all of us can relate to Peter:
Joh 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
Joh 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Joh 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
Joh 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? “thou hast the words of eternal life”.
Joh 6:69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
It is only Jesus Christ who has the words of eternal life!
We should consider that no person knows what lies ahead but those who know the truth and are wise and are in God’s hands.
Once we know the truth then our eyes are open to the truth!
We also know that to the human, death is the most horrible of tragedies.
Death is the fate of everyone.
Death is the end for all those who live in the world.
Death is the end of all hope.
And we know that life is uncertain and totally unpredictable!
Let’s begin at Chapter 9 verse 11:
*****Ecc 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
The truth of this world is, that the outcome of a person’s life is unpredictable!
Abilities are not a guarantee of success!
Things just do not turn out like we expect them to!
The results of things are most always determined by unforseen circumstances.
Success is never guaranteed!
Most things are determined by being in the right place at the right time, in others words by chance.
Many things are just a matter of timing.
Timing is something we have a limited control over!
Chance refers to those things that cannot be prepared for, or unseen factors over which we have no control.
For instance an unexpected death can affect our success.
*****Ecc 9:12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.
No matter how hard we may work, or how close we are to finishing a project, death can suddenly and unexpectedly bring things to an unforeseen end!
Death is like a net that catches a fish against it’s will.
Death is like the trap that seizes a bird in it’s clutches unaware.
Unexpected and catastrophic events can effect our success.
Trips, falls, accidents, cancer, heart attacks, or some other illness can stop things that looked like they were about to be finished.
Only while there is life, do we have the opportunity of preparing for our death, since death is certain.
It takes wisdom to make the best possible use of life while it lasts!
*****Ecc 9:13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:
Ecc 9:14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:
Ecc 9:15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.
We see that the wisdom, this world has to offer, has no guarantee of success!
It seems that Solomon may be relating this statement to an actual event in history of his own lifetime.
This event concerns a poor but a very wise man.
A small city was under attack by a mighty king. This city had a wall but other than that, it had no real means to defend itself.
This city was helpless against this mighty army.
Living in that city was a very wise but poor man who suggested a great military solution that worked, and the city was saved.
One would think that this man would at least be rewarded for his wisdom, but that was not the case and this man was soon forgotten.
God would not give us this lesson if we were not to learn from it!
It is a fact that the world we live in, is but a small thing to an awesome and a mighty God.
One day soon an angry God will inflict judgment on this world.
God demands justice on each sinner!
The Lord Jesus Christ is the answer to this dilemma.
Jesus Christ offered Himself as the innocent Lamb of God, and by His sacrifice this little city, which in “type” represents the Church is now made safe.
Today we see that many in the Church have forgotten the Savior and His sacrifice is no longer remembered by far too many, who call themselves Christians.
*****Ecc 9:16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
In our story, this poor man’s wisdom was more powerful than that of the mighty kings army.
In our world today, we know that the “Grace” of God is more powerful than the wrath of God!
Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Rom 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Rom 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
In our story, this poor man was despised because he was wiser than all others in this city.
In our world, the Lord Jesus Christ is despised, because He has made salvation such a simple thing that the world rejects it as not possible and His words are not heard!
The truth is, in this world we live in, wisdom and accomplishments can be despised and go unrewarded because of self-centered and prideful people.
Our world finds it humiliating, to admit that they are in need of a Savior!
The truth is, wise words spoken quietly are much more powerful than the loud words of all those who are foolish!
*****Ecc 9:17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.
When this little city was about to be over run, no doubt there were many who proclaimed to know the answers, but it was only the poor wise man who calmly knew the truth.
We must all realize it is the wisdom of God that will prevail in our lives at all times.
Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
The truth is, God’s wisdom is much better than any weapon of war, but it is also true that one sinner can destroy much good!
*****Ecc 9:18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.
The truth is, that life offers no guarantees.
Abilities and knowledge do not always lead to success!
AND, Doing something that is great for others does not guarantee gratitude!
It is the unforeseen future things that happen, that can change all our plans, which includes our death!
Most of us buy insurance for the unexpected events in our life.
The greatest insurance we can have, is a close and a personal relationship with the Lord and it is free!
The Lord said He would never leave us nor forsake us, but the Lord also warned us that we walked among wolves and even walked among some wolves in sheep’s clothing.
We cannot trust that tomorrow will come!
We cannot rely on anything except the fact, that God loves us and we are on the winning side.
God’s plan and God’s power will lead us to victory!
We are only wise when we depend on the Word of God for our answers!
We are only wise when we are in daily contact with our Savior!
Life is unpredictable!
Death is certain!
True happiness is only found, when we appreciate the people and the things that God has placed in our lives!
Psa 144:15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.
Happiness is the result of making wise decisions and then living life wisely!
We must also realize that foolish behavior is dangerous.
*****Ecc 10:1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.
We must realize that even very little foolish behavior is dangerous to us.
Remember Noah who found “Grace” in the eyes of the Lord but when the flood was over, Noah relaxed with the wine. Noah lived 350 more years but we never hear of any more good things from him.
We should remember Moses, who struck the rock and did not get to go into the promise land with the others.
Even one transgression can have serious consequences, just as one piece of bad fruit can ruin the whole bushel.
Solomon says, you could have the most expensive perfume that money can buy, but if flies get into the bottle and die and float to the top, suddenly that perfume is worthless.
One senseless impulsive mistake, can ruin the testimony of the Christian and his ability to witness, and render us of little use to the Lord.
The truth is foolish behavior exposes a corrupt heart!
*****Ecc 10:2 A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.
The Bible is specific, a person’s heart determines their actions and their words!
Luk 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Our words are actually commentaries of our wills. To be in the will of God is to keep our soul and our body under control to do whatsoever God wills us to be doing.
This verse has no reflection on the right handed or left handed people, but as we lefties know most of our world is right handed.
The right hand, in the Word of God, refers to the hand of strength and dexterity and the left hand is seen as the weaker hand.
The Scripture means a wise man will lean toward his strengths and not his weaknesses.
It can also means that the wise man will strengthen his reputation rather than cause dishonor to his reputation!
A corrupt heart shows a lack of good sense!
*****Ecc 10:3 Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.
As Christians we must always be concerned about our testimony!
Not only will we worthless in the work of the Lord if we ruin our testimony, but we must also remember that we will one day stand before the Lord and give an account of our actions!
We know that Noah and Moses were still used by the Lord, but they had lost their effectiveness.
These men are great heroes of the Bible, but just like Samson their light grew dim.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
These heroes of the Bible could have shined even brighter, just as we all can!
Remember they to must stand before the Lord and give an account of themselves!
We must be filled with the Holy Spirit daily!
We must put on the armor of God daily!
We must pick up our own cross and follow the Lord daily!
We must speak with the “sword of the spirit” which is the Word of God in all our conversations.
Remember it is God who is responsible for His own words and we our responsible for our own words.
It’s best to speak with God’s Words as much as possible, rightly divided!
*****Ecc 10:4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.
It seems that the the biggest problem we have with our youth of today is their lack of respecting authority.
It begins at the home and proceeds into the world.
Today as we speak there are many movements against our police officers.
Solomon gives us some advice on dealing with authority.
The first thing we must do is respond when those in authority become angry with us.
1) First we must not quit and run. (leave not thy place)
If our boss gets angry at something we have done we should not just forfeit our position.
We must not base our response on hurt feelings, or embarrassment, or because we are angry.
Even if we feel like we have been wronged, we should not do anything foolish.
2) We must remain calm and if possible correct our mistake. (for yielding pacifieth)
We must not be fueled by our emotions!
We as humans find it very hard to admit we are wrong!
Words spoken out of anger and emotion are often irresponsible, and they cannot be recalled.
Pro 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
We should not run away from an irate boss but ride out his anger.
Just the same, children, especially teenagers, should not run away or lose respect for a parent because of harsh words or lost tempers.
That husband or that wife should not let heated arguments come between them!
Remember, as God forgives us, we should forgive those who cause us hurt.
Now no one should be expected to stay in an abusive relationship!
Nor should someone with a bad temper just be excused for their actions!
Ecc 8:6 Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.
We should not retaliate for bad behavior.
We also, should not walk away from our responsibilities.
We are to patiently wait for the right time to address the issues that caused the problem to begin with!
We must remember that we are all sinners saved only by the “Grace” of God!
Here again we know that Jesus Christ set the perfect example:
1Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
1Pe 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
1Pe 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
1Pe 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
What is God’s command in such situations?
Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
As it is soon time to vote again for a new president, let’s look at God’s advice on choosing the right people to be our leaders.
*****Ecc 10:5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:
Ecc 10:6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.
Ecc 10:7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.
There is a great danger in having unqualified people in positions of authority!
In my opinion, this is exactly what we have in America today, to many people who are unqualified as leaders and our nation is suffering because of it.
When a leader is unqualified or on a specific and harmful agenda, they will also appoint or give authority to people who have no proven ability who think the way that they do.
Favoritism, is no way to choose a secure working government nor to run any company, and surely not in the family.
Today our politicians make so many promises, not so much to the people as to their backers and to the lobbyist and then offer them positions for their support.
Disastrous decisions at any level, can cause real problems for everyone!
In fact some leaders will allow the unqualified to rule, while those who are qualified become servants to them.
This is where our military finds itself today.
This is where we find our judicial system today.
And as is true in our nation and in our government, we can also see this happening in many of the churches today as the gay movement is allowed into leadership positions in the church.
For this very reason God gives us strict guidelines and qualifications for church leaders:
1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
1Ti 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
1Ti 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Tit 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
Tit 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
Tit 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
Tit 1:8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Tit 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
And even the deacons of the church:
1Ti 3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
1Ti 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
1Ti 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
1Ti 3:11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
1Ti 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
1Ti 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
1) They were to be men of good reputation.
2) They were to be men full of the Holy Spirit.
3) They were to be men who displayed wisdom.
There is reason for all these things!
The Church would not be having the problems that it has today, if these guidelines were strictly followed as God commands!
We have become careless in choosing church leaders.
We have become careless in choosing national leaders.
We have become careless with the Word of God!
*****Ecc 10:8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.
God used Solomon to give us some good advice.
When digging a hole there is always the danger of falling into it!
If we are wise, we will use caution when working around holes and place some barriers for our own protection and a means of escape.
Upon completion the next danger is forgetting where we dug that hole.
In Solomon’s case, this hole was probably to trap an animal so the entrance would be camouflaged.
1) Our lesson is, that we must keep good records on the things that are important in this life!
When knocking down walls there also great dangers to avoid.
Danger hides in places we cannot see.
We must always be aware of what is going on around us.
2) Our lesson is, that we must always pay close attention to our surroundings and expect the unexpected!
We must plan our work for the best results.
*****Ecc 10:9 Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.
If you are a stone worker, you must be aware of the dangers of lifting heavy stones and the danger working with them.
If you are a woodsman, you must be aware of the danger of felling trees and making lumber.
Honest labor can have it’s own misfortunes!
Honest labor also has it’s own rewards.
We must remember that even Jesus Christ was known as a carpenter for probably 20 years.
3) Our lesson is, that honest labor that is well planned, brings more in rewards than in does in hazards.
Wise planning also includes the care of the equipment that is needed to perform our task.
Proper equipment that is well maintained can aid us in our labors.
*****Ecc 10:10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
We have already established that this lesson is about the choices we make in life.
This verse teaches us, that we must choose to work smarter, and not harder.
This verse refers to an axe.
When we work with a dull axe, the work will be much harder than with a sharp axe.
We see also that an axe may even work even better with a coat of oil.
We all know, we need put oil on a bit when drilling in hard metal or the bit will over heat and get dull.
We all know, that if we are cutting masonry we need a wet saw and not a dry saw.
If we choose the right tools and those tools are well prepared, then we are working smart and maybe we won’t be so harsh on our bodies and even have a little less stress in our lives.
Another thing we should do, is to avoid taking short cuts.
Most short cuts mean being unsafe in the things we do, therefore taking a chance with our lives.
*****Ecc 10:11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.
Snake charming was a popular form of entertainment in the days of Solomon and it still is today.
In an effort to collect as much money as possible, some snake charmers would sometimes rush their shows and they would get bitten because the snake was not fully charmed.
This was dangerous and most times was even deadly.
Our lesson is, that while it is wise to accomplish our task rapidly as possible, it is dangerous to take short cuts to try to make a greater gain.
The snake needs to be fully charmed, before it has a chance to strike out at the charmer, which is “the babbler” in our verse.
Another lesson is, that we need to resolve every dangerous condition before it can cause us harm.
The truth is, God gives us these principles of work because we are to be God’s laborers.
1Co 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
We are to take these principles of work and not only apply them in our daily life to meet our own needs, but we are to apply these principles to the work that God has given us all to do.
1Co 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. “But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon”.
1) We must work cautiously and be prepared for the risks that comes with God’s work.
We are no threat to the Devil when we are idle, but he will attack all those busy in the work of the Lord.
2) We need our best tools and a good work ethic to be witnesses for the Lord.
Our message will always be the same but we may have to change our methods.
3) God gives us all certain Spiritual gifts that we need to develop and sharpen our skills.
4) We must realize that of all the work that we do, the work of the Lord is the most important.
We must give our best to it!
1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
We know that those who are wise, are those that know the Lord and if we need advice it is best to get it from those who know the Lord as their personal Savior.
*****Ecc 10:12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
Ecc 10:13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.
Ecc 10:14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?
Most people are identified as wise or foolish by the words they speak!
The words of those that know the Lord are gracious because of God’s “Grace”!
The words of a fool, who are all those that reject the Word of God, will only bring destruction to him and to all those that are influenced by his words!
The words of a fool are like a weapon that can only cause harm!
A fool’s words may start out as harmless but in the end they are full of evil.
A fool will only lead others away from God and bring their own destruction.
A fool will boast about knowledge that he does not have, such as Evolution, or Climate Change.
We already know that only God can tell us what tomorrow will bring, their are no true prophets today.
Jas 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
Jas 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
And one can only watch the work of the fool to know that a fool cannot know the facts of life!
*****Ecc 10:15 The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.
A fool will simply wear himself out on a simple project and everyone that follows him, while producing very little results.
A fool will always have the right answer.
A fool will always no everything.
A fool will always be an expert on every subject.
But a fool cannot even go to town and back without having all sort of problems!
We must not be people who speak foolishly.
We must let our words be more like those of Jesus, (gracious).
Col 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Eph 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
We must not allow ourselves to be led by someone who is foolish!
And we must not become distracted in the work of the Lord, by those that slander and downgrade God’s people!
We must remember the truth of the Scriptures!
Isa 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.
We must remember that when we are using God’s Words, that God takes full responsibility for the results.
And finally we must be aware of false prophets.
2Pe 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2Pe 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
We actually don’t have a lot of time to do the work of the Lord, we must make that time count!
The choices we make are very important to the Lord!