Also this I came to see as wisdom under the sun, and it impressed me. There was a small city with few men in it and a great king came to it, surrounded it and constructed large siegeworks against it. But there was found in it a poor wise man and he delivered the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man. So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength.” But the wisdom of the poor man is despised and his words are not heeded. The words of the wise heard in quietness are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.
– Ecclesiastes 9:13-17 NASB (emphasis added)
There are so many ways that the Old Testament points to Jesus. Here is a vignette tucked away in the book of Ecclesiastes – traditionally understood to have been written by Solomon in his later years – that foreshadows what God would ultimately do through Christ for His creation.
Viewed in this way, the “small city with few men in it” is the world and the “great king” who “came to it, surrounded it and constructed large siegeworks against it” was Satan. The “poor wise man” who was “found in it” and who “delivered the city” was Jesus of Nazareth. The way Jesus delivered the “city” was “by his wisdom.” This was a wisdom that the “great king” did not understand, for, as the apostle Paul wrote, this was a wisdom:
…which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;
1 Corinthians 2:8 NASB
The wisdom of Jesus is laid out for us in the four Gospels. He describes what was going to happen to Him before it happened, and He had learned what would happen to Him primarily through the Old Testament.
Yes, it’s hyperbolic to say that “no one remembered that poor man,” but like all hyperbole, it is intended to make a point: Jesus of Nazareth is not getting the attention today that He deserves. Largely speaking, His wisdom “is despised and his words are not heeded.” Yet those who do give heed to His words “in quietness are better than” those who only pay attention to “the shouting of a ruler among fools” we hear on social and broadcast media.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus, I will carve out times of quietness to hear Your wisdom by remembering what You’ve said…times like right now…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.