Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good. – Ecclesiastes 9:18
Since the fall, humans have turned to violence and war to solve our problems. It could be argued that we have even created an industry out of it! Over the course of history, innumerable conflicts have stricken mankind. As such, there have been many military leaders of note; but even with the vast pool from which to choose there are leaders that rise to the top of the list. Names such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Ulysses S. Grant line the rankings when discussing the greatest military leaders of all time. There are various reasons these people are noteworthy, but one of the common traits allowing them single-digit status is tactical brilliance.
The Hebrew word used in Ecclesiastes 9:18 for “wisdom” includes connotations of skillfulness in war, administrative savvy, shrewdness, prudence, and even sometimes includes an ethical tone. Thus, when Solomon states that such wisdom is better than actual weapons, he is not speaking of the wisdom of books or knowledge that can only be found in an ivory tower. He is speaking of practical and tactical brilliance, the ability to have an overarching plan and execute it well. The actual weapons used in battle are of little consequence in comparison to good strategy.
And yet, Solomon leaves no doubt from where this knowledge comes - “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6). Of all the great tacticians in history, none of them causes war to cease, as we saw in Psalm 46. Only our God can do this, and it is His wisdom we need to seek in order for war to end. 1 Corinthians reminds us that our human wisdom is, when compared with God’s, too nonsensical to even be considered foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:25). Even with our best effort, if we are not seeking wisdom from God, it will amount to worse than folly.
We desperately need the wisdom of God in our time, especially among national leaders involved in various conflicts and wars. Our God is sovereign over the nations (Psalm 33:10); He holds history in His hands and we know the outcome of His eternal victory (Revelation 19:15-16). God is the true tactician, and we acknowledge that his wisdom is better than our weapons. As the ultimate strategist, He has chosen the final destination as peace. As we follow Him toward this peace, He will cause war to cease on earth.
Simultaneously, we acknowledge that the sinner’s action does harm and destroys the good results of seeking wisdom. As wars wage on earth, so they wage in the heavens. We know the enemy desires to thwart the plans of God. We acknowledge that we are easily led astray and at risk of using our weapons wrongly. The greatest of all weapons God has given us is His word, that is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) As we seek God’s wisdom together, we pray for protection from the distortions of the enemy and that we would elevate the word of God as our greatest weapon and guide. May it be so among all people!
Seek God today and ask that He would give wisdom to end the wars that currently wage. His plan prevails over all and it is His wisdom that will bend swords into plowshares. All nations will come to worship Him! May God pour out His wisdom on us and may the Prince of Peace truly reign on earth and in our hearts.
Pray for God’s wisdom among national leaders to end wars.
Use Proverbs 2:6-15 as a prompt.
Pray for protection from the sinner who destroys much good.
Pray against the enemy’s plan to confuse wisdom and folly.
Women’s Ministry Fellow, CU Gloria (Harvard College)
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