2 A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left.3 Even when the fool walks along the road, his sense is lacking and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool. 4 If the ruler’s temper rises against you, do not abandon your position, because composure allays great offenses.” (Vv.2-4)
To be a fool is not difficult, but to be wise that is another reality altogether. When I considered verse 4 at first glance immediately I thought of the subject’s intellectual view which the ruler at first impulse vehemently rejects. Here, the Preacher encourages the subject to stay his ground, to not back down from his ideational position.
Here, the characteristic of courage before a sovereign (these are King Solomon’s words) can affect the outcome of a subjects request in his favor. Perhaps that is an aspect of what this text is teaching. Again, another angle here may be the battle field for to panic in the midst of lethal peril assures defeat, but where cooler heads prevail (generally) victory is within grasp. Assuredly many other angles can be applied here that I have missed perhaps even misinterpreted the text.
Nevertheless, as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, I note the following: First, for the Christian who loves Jesus, the Truth must be prized above the approval of men even a raging king. Here, courage is necessary for the power a ruler has to wield us harm is real, not an illusion for you might meet your death.
Second, courage under fire is not easy, but is nevertheless the high road to victory under opposition from powerful people, not the converse. Third, whether an actual battlefield or a metaphorical one of ideas is raging, don’t back down even though you be outnumbered. Fourth, persuasion does not come from a slothful soul but from the diligent who is trained in righteousness for the watching world to consider and does affect both enemies and allies.
LORD, give us courage under fire when it comes to living out the truth of what it means to be in this world but not of it as your ambassadors. Whether we be outnumbered and are dwarfed by our enemies resources, grant us boldness before those who mock, blaspheme and hate your name.