Day 15

Wisdom, Authorities, and Inequities

from the Ecclesiastes reading plan

Ecclesiastes 8:1-17, Proverbs 10:7, 2 Corinthians 13:4

BY Bailey Gillespie

One summer, three friends and I strapped on our backpacks to hike the irrigation trail up the side of a canyon wall. This one canyon is a popular hiking spot because of its proximity to the Foresthill Bridge, the fourth highest bridge in the United States.

Halfway up the mountain, nausea hit. Due to the intermingling of 90-degree heat and a limited water supply, I felt instant regret over suggesting this vertical trail that wasn’t even meant for hiking. (It’s an irrigation trail, after all.) Wisdom sure wasn’t the one leading the charge in this decision; it was my own ego and the myth of invincibility. After we almost passed out from dehydration, two of my friends had to shoulder my body weight and help carry me the rest of the way.

Scripture says that “a person’s wisdom brightens his face” (Ecclesiastes 8:1). At the time when Ecclesiastes was written, wisdom was attributed as coming from a divine source. A bright face was considered physical evidence of wisdom in the wise person’s life, just as Moses’s face shone with radiance after spending time with the Lord (Exodus 34:34–35).

Our faces today may not emit a visible shining substance when we make good decisions or spend quality time with the Lord. But wisdom lingers with us the way campfire smoke stays on your clothes after hours roasting the perfect marshmallows. It favorably directs our steps and will be evident in our lives when we exercise it. Since our thoughts and actions affect those we are in community with, when we use wisdom in decision-making, we can also bring life to our collective environments. In doing so, perhaps our sphere of the world can better operate by kingdom values, such as justice, mercy, and love.

Proverbs offers the encouragement that “remembrance of the righteous is a blessing” (Proverbs 10:7). Those who live from a place of wisdom—whose faces are “brightened” by the Spirit of the Living God—are a blessing. It’s not that the wise avoid folly altogether. They just learn from their mistakes. As Jesus-followers, if our aim is to pursue abundant life, our lives will be marked by years that smell like wisdom.

In the end, climbing a mountain on a 90-degree day probably wasn’t wise. While our faces may have glistened, it wasn’t from nearing the Mount of Transfiguration, but from perspiring pearls of sweat that mocked our foolish decision. You’d better believe we learned from that mistake and will only plan future hikes up paths that are intended for human recreation.

Post Comments (66)

66 thoughts on "Wisdom, Authorities, and Inequities"

  1. Erricka Hager says:

    God, yesterday I struggled to trust you. Thank you for showing me today it was because I did not fear you. I did not understand just how big and powerful you are. If I had remembered this, I could have trusted you completely. Forgive me and bring to mind your teaching when this temptation comes again.

    1. Karlie Nesson says:


  2. Ashley Reid says:

    Sometimes I feel as if I pour my heart and efforts into making myself wiser, and when I hit those uncomfortable feelings I’m like “ugh but I just read so much scripture about joy and peace!” This was a lovely reminder than all of the scripture and worship doesn’t just disappear: it lingers and blesses you wherever you go. Maybe I don’t always notice the wisdom shining from my own face, but it’s nice to know it certainly happens to all who invest in the learning,

  3. Lauren Mills says:

    This is such a good reminder that God is in control! We may not know now what he’s doing with everything that’s going on in this crazy world but Gods got this! He going to take all the bad things in this world and turn it into good for his glory! Praying for peace amidst the chaos!

  4. Staci says:

    Thank you so much for this Diana!

  5. K D says:

    Praying to keep growing in wisdom so that my face might radiate.

  6. Ashley Thomas says:

    5The one who keeps a command will not experience anything harmful, and a wise heart knows the right time and procedure. 6For every activity there is a right time and procedure, even though a person’s troubles are heavy on him. 7Yet no one knows what will happen because who can tell him what will happen?

    We need to heed these words during these tumultuous times. No one but God knows what will happen. We need to truly think before we speak or act. Is what I’m about to say or do really going to help?

  7. PAM G WILLIAMS says:

    I’m sorry for posting this again, but when I did it on my phone, it wouldn’t let me finish: These are such emotional times For me. Yesterday I was pulled back into grief, Remembering my mom went to be with Jesus 2 years ago today.I took care of her for a year and a 1/2 And there were many difficult times As she developed dementia. I’m amazed how fresh those memories still are and how deeply grieved I can still feel. I sobbed and groaned for a long time yesterday. I don’t think it was just remembering my mom, but being overwhelmed by all the tragedies in our nation and recently in our family. As I wept, I read the whole book of Lamentations. This morning I read the 1st chapter again, using it as a prompt for our nation. I pray throughout the week for so many who are afflicted and who are grieving. Being 74 years old, I suppose that the deaths of so many for whom I pray should not be unexpected. But when you pray for those you have known for years, when you have six children and 20 grandchildren and all their friends, who are going through the trials of life, and when you have students and their families who are facing sickness and death, it can become overwhelming when mixed with personal grief. But I will keep praying and lamenting, as this is what God has called me to. I will exchange this burden for His lighter one. And I will weep again. Please know that even if I don’t post it, I pray immediately for your prayer requests when I read them. Thank you for this community.

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