When the Timing Is Right

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What's the difference between knowledge and wisdom? You could seek out definitions from a dictionary to get several thoughts.

Here's my simple distinction—knowledge is information and insight, wisdom is understanding what's known, or discernment of the insight gained by knowing.

Wisdom can provide the capacity to act on what's known with good judgment. This often involves discerning the right time to take action.

Scripture

No one can understand and explain things the way wise people can. Their wisdom makes them happy. It changes a sad face into a happy one. [vss 1]

I say you should always obey the king’s command. Do this because you made a promise to God. Don’t be afraid to give suggestions to the king, and don’t support something that is wrong. But remember, the king gives the commands that please him. He has the authority to give commands, and no one can tell him what to do. People will be safe if they obey his command. But wise people know the right time to do this, and they also know when to do the right thing. [vss 2-5]

There is a right time and a right way to do everything. You must decide what you should do, even when it might cause problems and you are not sure what will happen. No one can tell you what will happen in the future. No one has the power to keep their spirit from leaving or to stop their death. During war, no soldier has the freedom to go wherever he wants. In the same way evil does not allow anyone who does wrong to go free. [vss 6-8]

I saw all this. I thought very hard about the things that happen in this world. I saw that people always struggle for the power to rule others, and this is bad for them. I also saw great and beautiful funerals for evil people. While the people were going home after the funeral services, they said good things about the evil people who had died. This happened even in the same towns where the evil people had done many bad things. This is senseless. [vss 9-10]

(Ecclesiastes 8:1-10 ERV) [Context– Ecclesiastes 8]

Key phrase— There is a right time and a right way to do everything

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Digging Deeper...

Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions

What is said about wisdom and those with wisdom?

What advice is given regarding the king's commands (re: governing laws)?

What is said about the timing of what to say and what to do? What will we not know?

What do we not have power over? Why? What else doesn't seem to make sense?

Reflection...

Just knowing something doesn't make it real or come to pass. I may know what is right or wrong, but my knowledge doesn't determine my action. I have to make a choice, either in an active or passive way.

A person can say or do the right things at the wrong time. Saying or doing the right thing at the right time requires sound judgment—wisdom and discretion.

Often, we learn the value of good timing from times of misjudgment and mistakes. This is where wisdom can replace mere knowledge, especially when we learn from our own mistakes and those of others.

Make it personal...

Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions

In what ways have you gained wisdom beyond knowledge?

What is your experience with compliance to the government or with civil disobedience?

Is it easy or difficult for you to manage your time well? What do you think helps or hinders you with your time management?

How do you cope with injustice and wrong in this life? Do you trust God with your time and the future?