Ecclesiastes and The Wise Fool

“Have you ever read Ecclesiastes?” my friend asked.

We’d been talking about philosophy and that question we all face sometimes: does any of this matter? I hadn’t taken any drastic measures yet. A nose piercing was about the least risky thought I’d entertained in my crisis of purpose.

“What’s Ecclesiastes?” I replied, expecting an explanation about a far-off land and challenging translation. My friend studied eastern cultures, languages, and traditions for fun. She read 2,000-year-old epics casually.

“Um, it’s a book in the Bible,” she teased.

“Oh…well I guess I haven’t…” I said sheepishly. I was a Bible minor. Whoops.

As soon as I had an hour to myself, I found the little book in the Big Book. I didn’t know much about the writer, who I learned was Solomon, but he seemed to know my heart.

Ecclesiastes became a favorite. I memorized short sections and reread it often. The conclusion, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” was copied onto paper and carried with me often.

Imagine my surprise when I became a more serious student of God’s Word: Solomon the wise is also Solomon the fool!

Sarah Koontz’s new (free!!) online Bible study Wisdom Whispers examines the irony of this truth. Walking through historical accounts like passages from Chronicles and wisdom books like Ecclesiastes and Proverbs, Sarah explores the life and example of Solomon.

As in all her studies, Sarah’s findings ultimately point to the glory of our God.

Solomon was:

  • Chosen by the Lord to be a great King
  • Selected for the task of building the temple
  • Granted exceedingly great wisdom
  • Led astray into idolatry
  • Caught up in searching for external meaning
  • Possibly restored to God later in life

All throughout Solomon’s story of being the most foolish wise man on earth, God remains the loving, generous, gentle giver of wisdom even to reckless fools.

Why do we, like Solomon look to the external for meaning, when the One who is eternal has made Himself available to us?

As Sarah kindly and meekly reiterates over and over again in the study: Wisdom Whispers.

Our feelings of futility, aimlessness, and doubt are met in the flesh by urges to try something wild and crazy. Or to work harder. Or to perform better. Or to suck it up. Or to give up.

Foolishness shouts and scolds and advertises and demands.

Wisdom Whispers.

The simple reason Solomon was the wisest fool (as I’ve discovered through the Bible study) is that Solomon, though having wisdom, didn’t listen for it.

Instead of the still, small voice, he tried to quiet those of his many idolatrous lovers.

Instead of trusting the creator and calmer of the storms, he sought to harness the wind.

Instead of believing the gentle affirmation of his maker, he eloquently tried to pen his own.

The answer to doubt, to turmoil, to the many propositions for meaning in this life, is much quieter and sweeter than we suspect: Wisdom Whispers.

Wisdom whispers Bible study about Solomon

I pray that, though I am foolish my nature, I might be wise in Christ.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” –James 1:5

May you and I listen to God as He whispers wisdom, knowing our questions are answered by the One who knows (and made and shapes!) our hearts.

{This review was written in exchange for a pre-release copy of the study, which is offered for free to everyone here.}


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8 Replies to “Ecclesiastes and The Wise Fool

  1. Bethany, this Bible study sounds really good. I can never get enough wisdom! It’s true…we only gain wisdom when we listen to God. I need to remember that in the chaotic seasons of life.

    Thanks for sharing this review!

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