Oh What a Verse for These Turbulent Days!

Posted on October 5, 2020

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By David Ettinger

These Turbulent Days
Here in the U.S., political tensions have reached frenzied proportions, so much so that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul accurately stated – and this 2 years ago!:

We have to somehow ratchet it down and say we’re not encouraging that violence is ever OK. … I really worry that someone is going to be killed … They [politicians promoting attacks on rivals] have to realize that they bear some responsibility if this elevates to violence.[1]

dove

Senator Paul is right. The divide between liberals and conservatives is wide and perilous, and much of the acrimony is being fueled by political leaders on both sides. Rather than stoking division, animus, and fear, our leaders should be speaking words of calm, reason, and peace in these trying and turbulent days.

Divine Words of Wisdom!
These sentiments are not new, as the Word of God confirms. In fact, this position was expounded some 2,900 years ago. It was then – in ancient Israel’s “golden age” – that King Solomon, inspired by the Holy Spirit, spoke these divine words of wisdom: “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools” (Ecclesiastes 9:17).

Can there be any words more fitting than those uttered by the wise monarch? Of course, the problem today is that if you search for “quiet words” coming from our nation’s leaders, you will travel long and far to find them. Yet, the wisdom of God stands: “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.”

ecclesiasties sign

Interestingly, this verse in both the NIV (used here) and Holman Christian Standard versions puts the onus on the speaker. However, the NASB and ESV translations seem to put the onus on the hearer: “The words of the wise heard in quietness are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools” (NASB, italic added). Do you see the subtle difference? The key word in this version is “heard.”

They Both Work!
I like both translations as they complement each other beautifully. Just think where our nation – and world – would be if people with differences would express themselves quietly, and those on the listening end would hear quietly, that is, with peace and goodwill.

Unfortunately, so long as we live in a sin-stained and fallen world, violence, discord, and hatred rule the day.

However, a day is coming when the Lord Jesus will return, establish His kingdom on Earth, and peace and quietness will be the norm. You can read Isaiah Chapter 11 for a preview.

In the meantime, we laud the wondrous simplicity and wisdom of Ecclesiastes 9:17, and pray for it to take root in our own day. Let’s read it one more time: “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.”

Oh what a verse for these turbulent days!

[1] https://www.breitbart.com/video/2018/10/10/paul-on-political-climate-i-really-worry-of-political-assassination-someone-is-going-to-be-killed/