Scripture ~ “I have seen everything in my days of vanity: there is a just man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs life in his wickedness. Do not be overly righteous, nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself? Do not be overly wicked, nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp this, and also not remove your hand from the other; for he who fears God will escape them all” (Ecclesiastes 7:15-18).
Comment ~ This difficult passage of Scripture is seldom discussed or used as a text for sermons. Solomon is noting what we all learn: life on earth in man’s fallen state is not fair!
Solomon is not saying balance your spiritual life with some carnal activities. Rather, he is warning about a “holier-than-thou” attitude, showing off your spirituality (i.e., “when you pray enter into your closet”—Matthew 6:6), or pseudo—Christianity. The word righteous here carries the thought of conceit or “thinking you are righteous” (i.e., forgetting you are a sinner saved by grace—Ephesians 2:5-8). The word wise also carries the thought of pride or “thinking you are wise.” The fear of God is the beginning of true wisdom (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10).
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