I Samuel 16:7 tells us that God does not see things the way man does (Ps. 139:2). There is no denying this fact if we know anything about the Bible and what it reveals about the mind of God. Today, instead of writing a long article detailing the teaching in these verses, I thought I would make a chart that contrasts God’s wisdom with man’s wisdom.
Please study the chart below. Note the contrasts between God’s wisdom and man’s, and then decide who you will follow.
A good name is better than riches (v. 1).
Riches are the most important thing -- better than one’s reputation.
Our death day is better than our birthday (v. 1).
The day of death is the worst day of one’s life (with only a few exceptions, such as an incurable, painful disease).
The house of mourning is better than the house of feasting (v. 2).
Feasting is better than mourning.
Sorrow is better than laughter (v. 3).
Laughter is better than sorrow.
Wise men are in the house of mourning (v. 4).
Wise men are in the house of mirth.
It is better to hear the wise man’s rebuke (v. 5).
It is better to hear encouragement.
The laughter of fools is as vain as expecting thorns to provide heat (v. 6).
The laughter of fools is to be desired.
Accepting bribes will corrupt you (v. 7)
There is nothing wrong with getting money “under the table” from time to time.
The end of a thing is better than the beginning (v. 8).
The beginning is better than the end.
The patient is better than the proud (v. 8).
Being proud is better than being patient.
Be slow to anger. Anger rests with the fools (v. 9; Jas. 1:19).
Becoming angry and “cracking heads” gets things done.
Don’t live in the past (v. 10).
The “good ol’ days” are better than what we have today.
This list from Ecclesiastes 7 teaches us much. Notice how these Bible facts from Ecclesiastes show that man’s ideas stand polar opposite to God’s intent. I find it interesting that the apostle Paul taught a very similar thing in I Corinthians 1:18-31 when he spoke of the preaching of the cross.
The ultimate question we must answer is: To whom will we listen? Will we listen to the world and follow “conventional wisdom” or listen to God and turn man’s wisdom on its head? Remember what David said about God’s wisdom (Ps. 119:98-100)? Listen to him! At the end of the day, we must decide for ourselves, and must face the consequences of that decision. As for me and my house, we want to listen to God. Who will you follow, friend?
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Many today treat sin as nothing. Some tell us that sin is non-existent. Others treat sin as a fairy tale to scare children. Many people act as if they have “outgrown” sin, and they live their lives oblivious to the harm they are doing to their souls and the souls of others. Proverbs 14:9 declares, “Fools make a mock at sin ….”
When it was known that Haman’s law was in force, Mordecai “cried with a loud and bitter cry; he even came before the king’s gate … clothed with sackcloth” (Est. 4:1-2). He later told Esther how her life stood in jeopardy along with the rest of the Jews (v. 13-14). They faced death from a bitter enemy all because this enemy allowed his pride, envy, and anger to influence his decisions. Mordecai didn’t treat Haman’s actions as a joke or a fairy tale.
Sin is no joke (Prov. 14:9)! It is not silly, nor is it something where one gets a “slap on the hand” or has to sit in the corner to make things right. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), and it is high time we realized how dangerous sin is! We see a picture of the horrible nature of sin when we read Mordecai’s response (Est. 4:1-2). He and his nation were going to suffer because of a man’s sinful action if something was not done quickly.
The same is true today. We stand in spiritual jeopardy because of sin (Ezek. 18:20). We have sinned because we have given in to our lusts and acted in ways we ought not (Jas. 1:14-15). What are we doing to correct the situation? Did we notice that after Mordecai cried, he got busy! We need to do the same thing.
Once we realize that we have sinned, we need to act to be free from sin (Rom. 6:17-18). I am impressed that in the New Testament when we read where people understood the heinous nature of their sin, they moved quickly to get out of it. They didn’t wait, but went “the same hour of the night … immediately” (Acts 16:33) to correct their error. This was not an accident but was the result of preachers telling them that they needed to act quickly (II Cor. 6:2). “Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” is the message of the gospel (Heb. 3:7-8, 15)!
Do not wait until tomorrow or farther into the future. We have no lease on life (Jas. 4:14; Ps. 90:12). We must act quickly. The true face of sin is horrible. It is far worse than the physical death that Mordecai dreaded. Sin leads us to an eternal death where there is nothing but darkness, pain, and suffering for eternity (Matt. 22:13, 25:30; Rev. 14:10-11).
Mordecai hoped a change of the law might save them. In like manner, a “change of the law” (Heb. 7:12-14) has made all the difference for us. Since Christ died upon the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, we now have a way to become free from sin (Rom. 6:17-18). When we follow the Lord’s plan of salvation (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38), we can be free and do not have to face the consequences of our sin. The true face of sin leads us to an eternity away from the Lord in a Devil’s Hell. The remedy for sin is to be baptized and to remain faithful to the Lord (I Cor. 15:58). “Put on the armor of light … make no provision for the flesh” and enjoy the blessings that come in Christ (Rom. 13:11, 14; Eph. 1:3).
Christ defeated sin. Have you done what the Lord wants? The true face of sin is worse than anything you can imagine. Do not go to your grave in sin!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Many times in the Scripture, we are warned about the dangers of falling into the pit you have dug. The point being that if one plans on harming another, he must beware because he will end up being hurt by his plans! Read passages like Proverbs 26:27, Ecclesiastes 10:8, and Psalm 7:15-16 and heed the warnings given by inspiration (II Tim. 3:16-17).
Haman was living proof of this truth. He had “dug a pit” by building gallows for Mordecai. This happened because of his anger and envy that so blinded him to reality that he listened to his wife’s suggestion and built gallows on which to hang Mordecai (Est. 5:14). However, those gallows would not be used to kill Mordecai. Instead, Haman ended up being hanged on the very gallows he had made for Mordecai (Est. 7:6-10)!
Emotions like anger and envy not only motivate a person to act in harmful ways, but it is often the case that the person harboring these emotions is harmed! I have not seen many exceptions to this. Look back to Genesis four, and see that when Cain acted in anger toward his brother, he ended up the worse for it. Even today, we remember the godly action of Abel (Heb. 11:4) and are repulsed at the actions of Cain (Jude 11)! Anger, envy, pride, and the like do not help us at all. Instead, one who is controlled by these things will end up harming himself physically as well as emotionally and spiritually!
Yes, the man who digs a pit for someone else will end up falling in it himself! Don’t be that person! Listen to the Lord and love your neighbor (Matt. 22:39). Allow yourself to think about the true, the just, the lovely, things of good report, virtuous, praise-worthy, etc. (Phil. 4:8-9). Live a life of joy, not anger, love, and not hate, and you will be blessed when you do (Jn. 13:34-35)!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
How many times have we heard people justify their sins by saying that they didn’t know “x” was wrong? Perhaps someone breaks the speed limit, and when pulled over, tells the officer, “I didn’t know it was ‘x’ speed in this area.” Does this mean that he didn’t break the law? Actually, in the courts in our land, ignorance does not automatically excuse someone’s error. Similarly, ignorance is not an excuse with God! The sins one commits in ignorance have the same consequences as sins that are committed knowingly (Jas. 1:14-15; Rom. 6:23).
How does this relate to Haman? Please read Esther 7. When Esther reveals that Haman is the one responsible for establishing a law that would kill all the Jews, including her, Xerxes was enraged (v. 6-7). I am convinced that Haman had no idea Esther was a Jew until then. After all, she had concealed this fact (following Mordecai’s command, 2:10, 20), and it seems she had never said anything until this moment (v. 3-4). Thus, Haman is ignorant of the fact that his law also meant a death sentence to the queen.
Thus, here is a woman with her life on the line based on Haman’s ignorance! We cannot fall for the adage that “ignorance is bliss,” can we? Ignorance on the job usually results in injury. Ignorance on the ball field often results in a loss to the team. No, ignorance may be many things, but it is not bliss! In Esther, we see that ignorance will result in her death if things are not changed quickly.
Looking to modern-day, we understand that sins committed in ignorance hurt others, and they jeopardize one’s soul (Ezek. 18:20). Because this is true, is there any wonder then why we are taught to bridle our tongues (Jas. 3)? Let’s make sure we do not speak before we know all the facts! Maybe when we know all the facts, we will be quiet, anyway. Is it any wonder then why we are taught to control our thoughts as well as our actions (Phil. 4:8-9; Matt. 15:17-20; Jas. 1:26)? Let us control our thoughts and make sure we are not acting until we know the truth. As a good friend of mine likes to say, “Many people get more exercise jumping to conclusions than they do digging for facts.”
It is a dangerous world, and our words and deeds are powerful. Let us guard what we do and say and make sure they agree with what Jesus wants (Col. 3:17). Let us not act until we know the facts. Don’t be like Haman!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
In Esther 5, we read that Esther approached the king with a request that he and Haman come to a banquet she had prepared (Est. 4:16; 5:1, 4). The king graciously accepted, as did Haman, and while at the party, they were invited to yet another (5:5-8). After this, Haman went home but saw Mordecai along the way (5:9). Mordecai refused to bow to Haman as before (3:2-5), and this brought Haman’s anger to a boil. When he got home and told his wife about the party he had gone to and the opulence of the king’s house, he told Zeresh, “Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate” (Est. 5:13). How petty!
The wise man said, “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” (Prov. 27:4). Envy is a dangerous emotion. It motivated the brothers to sell Joseph and prompted the Jews to kill Jesus (Mk. 15:10; Acts 7:9). It caused Paul to be run out of Thessalonica (Acts 17:5) and has been the cause of many more sinful actions throughout the years. In the case of Haman, his envy would not allow him to enjoy anything so long as Mordecai was living. Truly, envy will ruin a life, and it will jeopardize one’s soul!
Let us check our attitude toward our fellow man. Love others, don’t envy them (Matt. 22:39). Beware of envy because nothing good comes from it.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs