The Trouble with Folly (Part 2)
Eccl. 10:4 -20
Folly is the opposite of wisdom. Under the sun, there will always be wise people and there will always be fools. The problem is, everyone, including the people we consider to be very wise can still commit error or folly in decision making. Of course, we are just human beings and we are bound to make
mistakes as long as we live. Only the Lord Jesus Christ the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, merciful, loving, etc., God will never make any mistake or folly. On our text, Solomon the preacher, tells us more about folly and the people who commits it.
I. The foolish Ruler (Eccl. 10:4-7)
A. The ruler here may represent a king, a president, a prime minister, governor, a leader, or anyone who is in charge of governing and ruling people and territory.
B. In the OT times, the ruler is the king. Not all king of the Israelites is wise, some of them have committed folly which affected the fate and the future of the whole nation.
C. Our text here is telling us a situation which a ruler may bent his anger against you falsely. You may be innocent and have not committed any offense but still you get the blame. What is the Preacher’s advice?
1. Do not abandon your post. Maintain your loyalty and don’t rebel against him
2. Be gentle, humble, and submit yourself. Gentleness on thy part will calm and pacify his anger and yours. This will prevent dangerous situation that may happen, and it will show that you are not guilty of anything
D. Always remember that there is no perfect ruler and even the best ruler will make mistake. (Eccl. 10:5)
E. Foolish rulers by their caprice and pride can put fools on high position while qualified people will be put on low offices. It is also written “I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth” (Eccl. 10:7).
F. If a ruler has incompetent people giving him advice we can surely say that we will govern the nation foolishly.
1. King Saul the first king of Israel started out right but committed so may foolish mistake that he lost his kingship to David,
2. King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon followed the advice of his young friends
instead of the advice of the wise counsellors (1 Kings 12:1-24), the result is the tragic division of the kingdom of Jews.
II. Foolish Laborers (Eccl. 10:8-11)
A. Hard work and honest labor has its own reward which bring joy to the worker and his family.
B. In our workplace we are to work hard, honestly, smartly, and efficiently.
C. I believe our text here teaches us that there are foolish workers. One man dug a pit and fell into it. Another broke through a wall and was bitten by a snake. (Eccl. 10:8)
D. Why? Because both lacked wisdom and failed to take precaution while doing their job.
E. The same is true for those who works to the quarries and the forests, where careless workers are injured cutting stones and splitting logs.
F. The remaining verse tells us about a foolish worker: a man who tried to split wood with a dull axe. The wise worker will pause in his labours and sharpen it. As it is always said in our work place, “Work smarter not harder!” Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates says
he will choose a lazy guy to do the work because the lazy guy will find a way to make difficult things simpler or easier
G. The last but not the least example by Solomon is the snake charmer who was bitten by the snake before he has the opportunity to charm it. (Eccl. 10:11)
H. We must not forget also our last lesson that time and chance can eliminate even the best and wisest plans of man. Accidents can happen not only to the foolish but also to the wise.
The captain of the Titanic refused to believe the ship was in trouble till water was ankle deep in the mail room. Only then was it apparent the multi-layered hull had been pierced and the unsinkable ship was going to sink. Ships that could have arrived before the great ocean liner went down weren’t summoned until it was too late.
III. Foolish Talkers (Eccl. 10:12-15)
A. The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious. They are decent and orderly,
creditable to himself, and acceptable to those who hear him. Such words include praise, thanksgiving, and encouragements. They are even considered sacrifices as written in Heb. 13:15-16.
B. Foolish talks include:
1. Gossip which is described by the biblical words “backbiting,” “busybody,” “evil speaking,” “slander,” “talebearer,” and “tattler.” God’s people must guard themselves vigilantly against these sins. Gossip is extremely damaging. In fact, gossip can destroy a preacher’s effectiveness and can ruin an entire church,
2. Backbiting. (Ps. 15:3), which is talking to others about the intimate details of people’s lives for injurious purposes.
3. Slander – to defame; to injure by maliciously uttering a false report; to tarnish or impair the reputation of one by false tales, maliciously told or propagated (Webster). (1Sam. 19:24; Ps. 31:13; 50:20; Pr. 10:18; 1Tim. 3:11).
4. Busybody (2Th. 3:11; 1Tim. 5:13; 1Pet. 4:15), which is meddling into the affairs of others when I have no legitimate reason to be involved.
C. Foolish talks are poisonous because it destroys others, but because it consumes the fool himself.
D. As the proverb of the ancients says: ‘Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked’’ (I Sam. 24:13). The very start of the fool’ talks is foolishness. (Jas. 3:8-13), the end of it is called “mischievous madness.” (Eccl. 10:13)
E. Foolish people talk about the future (Eccl. 10:14), as though they know about it but in reality, they have no idea what is going to happen. The Bible tells us about our ignorance of the future. (Prov.27:1, Jas. 4:14)
F. Verse 15 tells us about the he toils for nothing and is wearied by it. Habakkuk described nations who toil and grow weary for nothing-showing no profit (Habakkuk 2:13). The other characteristic of the fool here is the total absence of common sense.
Illustration: Gossip Makers
Yiddish forklore offers a telling tale about gossip-makers. One such man had told so many malicious untruths about the local rabbi that, overcome by remorse, he begged the rabbi to forgive him. “And, Rebbe, tell me how I can make amends.”
The rabbi sighed, “Take two pillows, go to the public square and there cut the pillows open. Wave them in the air. Then come back.”
The rumormonger quickly went home, got two pillows and a knife, hastened to the square, cut the pillows open, waved them in the air and hastened back to the rabbi’s chambers. “I did just what you said, Rebbe!”
“Good.” The rabbi smiled. “Now, to realize how much harm is done by gossip, go back to the square…”
“And collect all your feathers.” From Hooray for Yiddish
IV. Foolish Officers (Eccl. 10: 16-20).
A. After the rulers, Solomon now speaks of the folly officers of the king who is part of the governing and running of the kingdom.
B. Woe is pronounced as well as blessings. Woe for sufferings of the people if the king and his officers are immature and does not concern about the needs of the people. Blessings for wise and mature king and his officers who rules wisely and responsibly working for the welfare of their citizens.
C. Foolish officers are characterized by their:
1. Irresponsible – behaving like a child and banqueting in the morning. They should have attended to honest work and important matters of state (Jeremiah 21:12)
2. Incompetence. These foolish officers are so busy with enjoyment that they have no time for employment, and both the buildings and the organization start to fall apart. There is a difference between those who use an office and those who merely hold an office (1 Tim 3:10). Immature people enjoy the privileges and ignore the responsibilities, while mature people see the responsibilities as privileges and use them to help others.
3. Slothfulness or Laziness. Since those who are in control have little care for their subjects, the judicial matters, economics, civil works, health systems, educational, and all other matters of the state go unattended.
4. Greediness. Foolish officers not only want position, above all of what they are is their love for money. They are corrupt, and will do everything to accumulate wealth. Someone quoted: “Silver and gold,-these are according to my opinion, the most useful gods; if these have a place in the house, wish what you wilt, all will be thine.’’
Wisdom will always be superior than folly, however, people still commits folly. In Everything we must trust Christ. Our future is in His hands and we must by all means avoid folly.