An Unwise Question

Posted on October 26, 2020

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By David Ettinger

Don’t Say It!
The Book of Ecclesiastes is probably the most cynical book of the Bible. This is because its writer, King Solomon, is viewing life from a human perspective, not spiritual. Of course there are snippets of spiritual advice scattered throughout this fascinating book’s 12 chapters, but for the most part, it is the writings of an elderly cynical man addressing a wicked world from a human perspective.

Noting how life is a series of highs and lows, Solomon points out how our personal experiences change as we age. Generally speaking, according to Solomon, the best part of life – from a physical, human perspective – occurs during our youth; not so much in our older days.

Therefore, Solomon advises his readers in Ecclesiastes 7:10: “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.”

He’s absolutely correct, and the apostle Paul would agree. He similarly wrote in Philippians 3:13-14 (emphasis added):

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it [see verses 10-11]. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

There is much wisdom here, of course, and perfectly complements Solomon’s thinking in Ecclesiastes 7:10: “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.”

Perfectly Timed
For Christians here in the West, Solomon’s admonition (along with Paul’s) is perfectly timed. Many of us look at the challenging circumstances engulfing us – pandemics, Presidential elections, struggling economies – and find ourselves relishing the days gone by, days when our religious freedoms were not under assault and we could walk into a business establishment without having to wear a mask.

If Solomon were alive today, he would remind us that this is our current reality and we should embrace it. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ should know that so long as He is in control, we can handle anything the world throws at us.

Rather than lament the bygone “days of plenty,” we should accept the present, get down on our knees, and ask the Lord how He wants to use us. It is during the dark times that the light of the Gospel has a better chance of shining than in the prosperous times.

To be a Western Christian in these days is to be on the receiving end of opportunity. We have the opportunity to tell those who are frightened about the One who can allay our fears. For many believers, 2020, as topsy-turvy as it has been, may just well be the most golden of all opportunities in which to share the message a living Savior with a lost and dying world.

The past is the past, and let us not dwell on it. As Solomon told us: “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.”

You wouldn’t want to be regarded as unwise, would you?