Ecclesiastes 10:1-4: The Weight of Sin and Folly

Read: Ecclesiastes 10:1-4

There are many sayings that would agree with the Preacher’s words in Ecclesiastes concerning the weight of folly to wisdom and sin in the midst of rightness. The Preacher here starts by talking about how a single fly can cause ointment to stink, then proceeds to describe fools. What seems apparent is that everyone knows a fool when they see one. The fool is constantly making a fool out of himself by choosing the “left” (in Hebrew thought the left was associated with weaker and wrong things), he demonstrates the fact that he is a fool by having a lack of direction, and the fool is hot tempered and speaks readily when a rulers temper flares. There are probably hundreds of other comparisons made between fools and wise men in the Bible. The Preacher is just illustrating a couple of ways fools broadcast their foolishness, and in each case even the smallest bit of foolishness can outweigh wisdom and honor.

The motif of a small thing ruining the whole is also found in the New Testament too. In Matthew 5:29-30, Jesus talks about one’s eyes and hands that participate in sin. He says in metaphorical terms that one should cut off that which causes them to sin rather than let the whole of the body be ruined by it and face punishment in hell. Jesus’ words seem harsh as he is talking about maiming one’s self, but Jesus does this to get the attention of his hearers. Just a little bit of sin and folly in one’s life can lead to a world of harm. James 1:15 talks about how lust leads to sin and then how sin when birth brings death. Because of the dire consequences of sin and how just a little sin can corrupt, sin needs to be dealt with harshly and not glossed over.

Christians are not perfect people as they still struggle with sin even after they receive salvation by grace through faith. But knowing the price Jesus paid for sin and just how destructive sin can be, Christians should be wary and alert of sin and also be humble. 1 John 1:8-9 says that the one who says he is without sin a liar. On the other hand, one should be humble and confess sin and deal with it. Likewise, God is faithful and cleanse one for all unrighteousness. God wants humble people with whom he can work!

Lord, help to rid myself of sin and folly so it does not ruin me!