Wise Words Have Sharp Points

Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
(Ecclesiastes 12:9-12)

We are about to wrap up our study of the book of Ecclesiastes in our congregation. At the end of the book, Solomon speaks of wise words.

Here a few quick thoughts from this passage:

These wise words come from One Shepherd. I would assume that Solomon is talking about the Lord here as the source of these wise words. If someone is sharing sound wisdom and truth with you, that truth did not originate from the person counseling you.

The “Preacher” had to take great care and time in knowing, preparing and delivering these wise words. He “weighed,” “studied,” “arranged,” “sought out” these words of wisdom from God with “great care.” Solomon, like Timothy, was diligent to be approved by God because he handled God’s word with the utmost reverence (2 Tim. 2:15). When we are seeking to teach and advise others, we must show the same thoughtful care.

Wise words have sharp points. They are “goads,” which I believe is a sharp implement used to prod oxen on while plowing. Being prodded with a sharp pointed tool is not pleasant, but it moves the ox in the direction he needs to go. God’s word is called a sharp two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), and those points hurt at times, but they are moving us in God’s direction. They are also sharp points in that they are well-driven nails. Nails are used to fasten things together to provide stability. Again, those sharp points from God’s word may hurt at times, but they are setting our feet on stable, solid ground.

Beware of anything beyond these. Beware…a strong warning to watch out for something dangerous and harmful. Watch out for advice and the words of worldly wisdom that go past what God has already given you.