What is wise or foolish is not just a matter of someone’s opinions. There is a real difference between wise and foolish behaviour. In fact, they are complete opposites.
Many people imagine themselves to be much wiser than other people are. That is why they argue so much. They insist that their opinion really does matter. But if those people really cared about wisdom, they would want to learn, not to argue (Proverbs 9:9). A foolish argument does not prove anything, because wisdom is completely different from foolish behaviour.
The author of Ecclesiastes uses a word-picture to explain. The wise man and the fool are like people who walk along a road together. But as they do that, the fool constantly wants to go in the opposite direction. The two men cannot walk together, because every decision leads the fool away from the wise man. They cannot agree because their desires are completely different. The wise man wants to do the right thing. But the fool does not even care whether his decisions are right or not. The fool just wants to satisfy his own desires.
Someone who wanted to be wise would walk with the wise man. He would listen to his wise words and he would imitate his wise behaviour. That is how one person can learn from another person.
Real wisdom is not just careful thoughts and sensible decisions. The most important lesson about wisdom is that people must respect God (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Proverbs 9:10). That is not a matter of anyone’s opinion. It is the right thing to do, and it is completely opposite from foolish behaviour.
Next part: Reasons to behave calmly (Ecclesiastes 10:4)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.