What Does Ecclesiastes 9:18 Mean?

Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

Ecclesiastes 9:18(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

In much of his writing, we see Solomon discussing inanimate objects and abstract concepts as if they were real people, whose actions, attitudes, and behaviours, need to be pursued or avoided - and often they are identified in the feminine gender. Likewise, we often find him using similes, metaphors, comparisons, and contrasts, which help to deepen our understanding of Solomon's precepts and principles.

Folly and Foolishness is often personified as an unwholesome prostitute who will lead gullible men astray, and cause them to fall into poverty, deep distress, immorality, and even death... whereas Wisdom and Understanding is frequently used to characterise a virtuous woman, whose godly life and beautiful attributes result in wealth, prosperity, success, and a profitable life.

The value and importance of wisdom in the life of a believer, runs like a silken thread through much of Scripture, and in this verse, Solomon teaches an important lesson of the value of wisdom and its far-reaching impact.  "Wisdom is better than weapons of warfare, but one sinner can destroy a lot of good."

In this verse, we discover a contrast between the benefits that can be gained through the application of wisdom, in both the physical and spiritual realms, and the destruction that is perpetrated by the foolish actions of a single sinner.

While a wise and insightful strategy can only forestall a bitter conflict between people and nations, it only takes one fool-hardy sinner, or one act of treachery, to wreak much havoc and devastation in his own life and the lives of others. The thoughtless actions, careless decisions, or deliberate deceitfulness of one person, can frustrate the best-laid plans of the wise, squander vital resources, and can even cause the total downfall of a once-great nation, through folly and foolishness.

The benefits that a city or nation can experience when wisdom is the strategic instrument used to prevent clashes, or pacify an uprising between opposing forces, cannot be overstated. And if the wisdom that is offered by the world is better than the strength of their military might, how much more must this apply in the spiritual realm. If the wise strategies in the natural world can be demolished by the behaviour of one sinful man, how much more devastating when this happens in our own Christian walk.

If world leaders of today were to understand this simple truth, and if they were to apply Solomon's proverb in their own political decisions of government, they would soon discover the validity of this uncomplicated, yet profound truth - for even human wisdom is more beneficial than human folly. And in like manner, applying the wisdom of God in every area of our life, is far superior to adopting worldly strategies in overcoming the evil one.

A poor man's wisdom, which comes through faith in God, has been proven to be of greater value and significance than the great military might of a powerful king, and his well-equipped army - for when applying godly wisdom, a city can be saved from destruction, and the people delivered from disaster. Weapons of war bring in their wake devastation and ruin, while well-applied wisdom from above can avert terrible disaster, and produce a truly advantageous outcome. But how quickly can good things be destroyed by one evil person or one treacherous act?

Applying the world's strategies in the spiritual battle in which we are engaged, will only result in failure - for the weapons of OUR warfare are not carnal, but spiritual. However, the principle that is weaved within Solomon's statement should not only be applied to the physical realm, but more importantly to the spiritual sphere.

The wisdom of a believer and the weapons of a Christian's warfare, are rooted and grounded in Christ alone, and become increasingly effective as we stand on the promises of God, heed His instructions, and abide in our position in Christ - for He is our wisdom and in Him, we gain the victory.

God, Himself, gave us a valuable lesson through the Cross of Christ, where the wisdom of God was thrillingly triumphant over the infernal weapons of the enemy. The wisdom of the Cross is foolishness to those that are perishing, for had the satanic principalities and powers known the victory that would be wrought through Calvary, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. 

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, endow me with wisdom and discernment from on high I pray, for I know that the spiritual battle in which we are engaged will not be victorious through man's skills and the strategies of this fallen world system, but are only supplied by grace, through trusting You, and standing firm on the Word of God. Thank You that in Him we have all we need for life and godliness, and thank You for the spiritual armour which has been provided for our protection. Father, I know that the battle is the Lord's and I desire to carry out Your plans and purposes for my life. Give me the wisdom I need to stand firm in this evil day, and help me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, and my heart ready to obey Your call. This I ask in His precious name, AMEN.

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