Ecclesiastes 8:1 Who is like the wise?
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
A man’s wisdom makes his face shine,
and the hardness of his face is changed.
Have you ever been around a fool? One who does not have common sense and who does the strangest things because they don’t know any better. When I was a very young mom, about 22, I had accidentally spilled oil on our kitchen rug. Without thinking, I put it outside in the sun to dry. When my husband, who is a mechanic, and very logically minded came home he said, “why is the kitchen rug outside?” I told him it was drying. He looks around and notices the can of oil is way less than it was. So, he asked, “what is on the rug?” I told him it was oil. He just starred at me stunned. He said, “oil isn’t water. It doesn’t dry.” I don’t know why I didn’t put two and two together in my head that if something was oily, I would use dawn dish soap to wash it, but I didn’t think of that for the rug.
Wisdom and interpretation of it is something we all need. Scripture says to ask the Lord for wisdom who gives it liberally. (James 1:5) These verses from the “preacher” show us that wisdom makes life better and it makes our face shine. The hardness of our face changes. I can imagine that to do foolish things, and to live with the consequences all the time, would cause quite the frustration. However, this verse says that the wise wear a crown of graciousness with gentleness on their faces. It is the favor of the Lord upon them but the foolish often just wear a frown of confusion. Worldly wisdom, just know the way the world works, is of tremendous help to our lives. Common sense matters.
Ecclesiastes 8: 5-8 Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way. 6 For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. 7 For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? 8 No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it.
Sometimes the hardest thing to handle is not knowing when it is the right time for things. Under the sun living means a lot of unknown. We know from the third chapter, there is a time and season for everything and we don’t always discern the times correctly. The best way to live in wisdom is to accept what is, when it is, and learn from it even if we don’t fully see the purpose or understand. Man is mostly powerless against time and seasons. We have no notice of the day of death, it just comes. We also are mostly ruled over by those who desire to control and oppress others. We can take solace to the fact ,that those who take advantage and lord it over others, will have their day of justice. Under the sun, rulers rule and people are enslaved, but in Christ, we have our King and our freedom.
Ecclesiastes 8:11-13 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
It is a strange thing sometimes to watch people live their lives in opposition to God. It is frustrating (and revealing of our pride) to see people not be punished for their wrong doing. Their wrong doing is sin and our pride is sin. Both may want to decide to be incredibly thankful for the gracious love of God that does not punish us like a lightning bolt from the sky. We can leave what others do in the hands of God. It doesn’t have to concern us. Our job is to steward our own hearts and keep them fixed on Jesus, because without that, we heap judgment on others and it comes right back on us like a boomerang.