Jump Start # 3297
Ecclesiastes 9:18 “Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.”
Solomon loves to talk about wisdom. The first several chapters of Proverbs are about wisdom. Sprinkled all throughout Ecclesiastes are thoughts and insights to wisdom. Wisdom isn’t the top of the mountain. Even with wisdom, death is not avoided. Even with wisdom, time and chance happens. Even with wisdom, one cannot see all the works of God. And, fewer people were in the position to understand this better than Solomon. When given a choice of anything he wanted from God, he chose wisdom. One can only imagine what the Lord sent him. People came from a long distance to hear of Solomon’s wisdom.
Our verse today, expresses two contrasting thoughts.
First, wisdom is better than war, the weapons of war. War kills. War destroys the landscape. War divides. War hurts. Whether we talk about ancient wars in Solomon’s days or modern wars with laser missiles and drones that fire rockets, the outcome is the same, death and destruction. Somebody always dies in war. Wisdom is better. Wisdom finds ways to come to the peace table. Wisdom looks for a solution to the differences and hostilities. War divides people. Wisdom brings people together. War in a marriage leads to divorce. War in a congregation leads to a split. War among nations leads to death. But, wisdom in a marriage brings grace and forgiveness. Wisdom in a congregation brings peace and understanding. Wisdom among nations brings the handshakes of unity.
Second, one sinner destroys much good. That’s how our verse ends and how this chapter ends. It doesn’t take an army to do harm. Just one sinner. It doesn’t take a mob to turn things upside down. Just one sinner. One sinner with loose lips and a loud mouth can destroy the reputation of a good person or a good congregation. One sees that on Facebook. One sinner can get a peaceful and united congregation mad at each other. One sinner can cause a riff between a husband and wife.
A month of good sermons can be destroyed because of the work of one sinner. It can take a long time to fix the trouble that one sinner has caused. Hurt feelings. Misunderstandings. Jealousy. Gossip. Evil suspicions. And, Satan will use one sinner to turn good upside down. Satan used Peter against the Lord. Satan may use your family, your friends, your preacher, your shepherds, your best friend, or even you, to accomplish turmoil, trouble and heartache. If he can get us to turn our attention to each other, rather than the world, he will be successful.
Wisdom wins. One sinner is dangerous.
So, in this contrast found in Ecclesiastes, what are we to do?
First, we must not allow even one sinner to have free range of our hearts, our families or our congregations. It can take years to fix what one sinner causes. The sinner isn’t interested in following the ways of the Lord. The sinner has his own agenda and most times it surrounds him somehow.
God has developed a powerful defense system to help us be safe. One of the first lines of defense are God’s shepherds. They need their eyes open to what even one sinner might do. They need to guard, protect and keep the church safe. Fighting lions and bears, as the young shepherd David did, is what God’s shepherds do today.
Another line of defense are dads. That’s our role to protect our family. We too are shepherds. It is our jobs to watch, nourish and keep our family safe. Our flock is our family. Dads need to be able to say “No.” No to certain movies. No to certain songs. No to certain outfits. No to certain friends. All of this is done to protect and keep safe.
And, yet there is still another powerful line of defense given to us from Heaven. That is God’s word. We need to know it, use it and follow it. When we do, we will recognize sin. We will see through the smoke of Satan and understand what he is truly after. We are not ignorant of his schemes, the Corinthians were told. Standing between the world and our hearts is the Word of God. It is powerful. It can put down anything Satan throws at us.
Yes, one sinner can do much damage. But, through the grace and power of our Lord, we can be protected, safe and strong.