The Words Of The Wise Are As Goads

The Words Of The Wise Are As Goads

John Phillips

Mr. John Phillips of Marietta, Ga., shares with us his ninth of a continuing series of brief, pithy studies in Ecclesiastes.

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 12:11

The words of the wise are as goads because they are addressed to the head. They make sense. Often the words of the wise are condensed into pithy statements and the best of them immortalized in the wisdom of the race as proverbs. Most nations have such a common fund of wisdom from which less affluent minds can draw. “A stitch in time saves nine,” we say, or, “look before you leap.” Such words of the wise are available to all. Tarnished somewhat by triteness, perhaps, or blunted by familiarity, they are nevertheless excellent goads and we use them as such.

The Hebrews were especially prone to proverbs and Solomon was a collector and connoisseur of them. “Go to the ant thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise.” “Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.” Such are words of the wise and they make excellent goads.

The words of the wise are goads because they are addressed to the heart. Our deepest convictions are not matters of intellectual persuasion. They are more instinctive than intellectual. They are worked into the very fibres of our being. The words of the wise strike responsive chords deep down in our hearts. We may not be able to prove our deepest convictions in strict logical form but we believe them just the same. Man knows instinctively that there is a God and that the grave does not end life. We know these things and all attempts to disprove them have but a passing success at most. That’s why the Bible abides forever. It contains the words of the wise that appeal to our hearts.

The words of the wise are as goads because they appeal to the will. They call for decision and action. They point to a parting of the ways with folly and set before us, with all the power of positive thinking, the right way to go. And when those “words of the wise” come to us from the Book of God they brook neither contradiction nor compromise.

The words of the wise are as goads because they appeal to the conscience. They set before us moral issues with the outcome of life or death, heaven or hell. And when these words of the wise are from God, and are heeded, they lead to conviction, conversion and consecration. They are as goads.