How Do I Live Like a Fool? – Ecclesiastes 10

A good friend told me recently that it was a good thing I had the preaching team helping me preach Ecclesiastes. He said if I had to preach it all by myself, I would be depressed! There is truth to that. It is a hard book and can be a depressing. We have tried to keep Solomon’s same sarcastic tone in our messages, but we want to point you to the positive lessons and to King Jesus. In Ecclesiastes 10 alone, Solomon uses forms of fool, fools, foolish, or folly 9 times. In light of that, I want to talk to you about three things you can do to live like a fool.

Ignore the Little Things You Need to Get Rid Of
Ecclesiastes 10:1 says, “Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil ferment and stink; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.” Solomon has already compared a good name to perfume in 7:1. Now he uses the illustration again. A good name is like a perfume, but a little foolishness can ruin a good name. Little decisions and actions can have big consequences. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. It is usually not the big problems but the little ones that destroy a marriage. More houses destroyed by termites than tornadoes. What are the little things stinking up your life? What are the things that you need to get rid of? In verse 2 Solomon says, “A wise person’s heart goes to the right, but a fool’s heart to the left.” Solomon is not talking about political parties or being right or left-handed. In the ancient world the right hand is a place of power, honor, and protection. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father. Matthew 25 says when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, He will separate the sheep from the goats. The righteous on the right and the wicked on the left. In the story of Jacob, the right hand was the hand of blessing. It was God’s best. The left hand was good, but the right was best. In verses 3-4 Solomon talks about lacking sense and remaining calm. Don’t react foolishly. Don’t let a person’s action determine your reaction! A bad temper may only last a little minute, but it can do big damage. What are the little things that you are ignoring? Little sins lead to big sins.

Ignore the Little Things You Need to Do
“The one who digs a pit may fall into it, and the one who breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. The one who quarries stones may be hurt by them; the one who splits logs may be endangered by them” (v. 8-9). Every job has its occupational hazards. Safety first. When you get in the car, buckle up. When you get in the boat, put on your lifejacket. Wise people know there is danger out there and are careful. Verse 10 says, “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge, then one must exert more strength; however, the advantage of wisdom is that it brings success.” Work smarter not harder. Some people work twice as hard and see half the results. “Because of laziness the roof caves in, and because of negligent hands the house leaks” (v. 18). It is what scientists call the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Things left unattended will tend toward decay, decline, and disorder. You don’t have to intentionally break something, just fail to care for it. Neglect the physical and spiritual and it will deteriorate. Don’t procrastinate. Get up early. Take care of your things. How you maintain and clean your car, house, and yard is a testimony. Don’t make excuses. Don’t be lazy. Do what God has called you to do. Our lives are determined not by the dreams we dream but by the deeds we do.

Ignore the Little Things You Say
“The words from the mouth of a wise person are gracious, but the lips of a fool consume him” (v. 12). A fool just blurts out whatever comes to his mind. He speaks before he thinks. Verse 14 says, “The fool multiplies words.” Sounds like social media! Some people just love to hear themselves talk. Fools pop off. They know it all. They have all the answers. They do more harm than good. They do not get the facts straight. They just tell you what they think. Watch your words. Your words are revealing. Jesus said, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Lk. 6:45). Solomon goes on, “Do not curse the king even in your thoughts, and do not curse a rich person even in your bedroom, for a bird of the sky may carry the message, and a winged creature may report the matter” (v. 20). This is where we get the saying, “A little birdy told me.” Don’t say things in someone’s absence that you would not say in their presence. It will get back to them!

The biggest fool is the one who lives like there is no God, no Heaven, no Hell, no tomorrow, no death, and no judgment. Take some time to think about your life. How are you living? Are you ignoring any little things?

Searching for Heaven on Earth, David Jeremiah, pg 249.
Tony Evans Bible Commentary, pg 624.

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