Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on a recent report by Harry Enten on the logic of calling more tie games earlier in the baseball season, points out that, before the advent of electric spotlights, games often ended in a tie. Enten cautions that deference to 'tradition' is no reason to ban tie games in Major League Baseball. Solomon's observation that there is nothing new under the sun applies to fashion, politics, economic systems, religion, technology—whatever mankind has put his mind to. It is gullible and naïve to consider anything brand new, trendy, exclusive, and never tried before. Every idea that has ever been considered will be recycled and repurposed as something new and revolutionary, remembered as a retread idea only by old-timers who have already been scammed by it years before. Satan, the master deceiver, has been repackaging sin as exciting and new over-and-over again for 6,000 years. Sadly, people are not any smarter than they were in the past, and will be suckered into it as their ancestors from previous generations.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the unpleasant prospect of overhearing hurtful gossip about us from someone we have trusted, observes that, in all likelihood, our tongue has been just as detrimental against someone who may have trusted us. What goes around comes around; we reap what we sow. Even though the best defense is not to be guilty, we know that because of our toxic self-centeredness there is no infallibility in any of us. As God gives gifts to us, we must, as Solomon did, fine-tune them, realizing that seeking out wisdom is simultaneously a glorious and a burdensome task, requiring labor-intensive exercises which initially seem to yield diminishing returns. God does not instantaneously reveal everything we need to learn or everything we need to experience. We have the responsibility to seek out wisdom, understanding that it is the costliest commodity anywhere, having a price far beyond gold. Wisdom keeps us from sin, folly, and madness. Wisdom and understanding unveils for us the purpose of trials, solving the paradoxes and conundrums that erode our faith. Truly wise judges are humble, demonstrating that they do not know everything; humility will make us more cautious in our judgments about others and ourselves. As we put forth effort to pursue wisdom, the fruit will be holiness. Our goal is beyond salvation; it involves preparation for service in God's Kingdom. The search for wisdom carries with it a downside, the tendency to boast of our accomplishments, even though in our heart of hearts, we realize we have nothing that has not been given. As God's stewards, we must, like Solomon, blend sagacity and practical wisdom together, taking precautions against the allurements of the world, which have the tendency to short-circuit godly wisdom.
As he closes the seventh chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon makes a confession about the search for wisdom, saying that, even to him, true wisdom remained beyond his grasp. Acknowledging this truth, John Ritenbaugh explains that, while wisdom will ultimately elude us too, we must continue to seek it because pursuing it is itself a great reward.
A little-known character from the book of Jeremiah shares the stage with more well-known figures and teaches them a lesson we can learn from today.
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