NEED for PRAYER/DISCERNMENT in CHOOSING a LIFE PARTNER: "I applied my heart to know, to search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things, to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness. And I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God shall escape from her, but the sinner shall be trapped by her." (Eccl 7:25-26)
Ecclesiastes 7:1–8:15 is targeted towards frustrations that can creep up in our lives and how to overcome them. Keeping this in context, we can note that King Solomon extols the value of wisdom (7:11–29) pointing out that it preserves our life (7:12), provides us strength to overcome (7:19), and makes it clear that wickedness is utter foolishness (7:25). An example of such foolishness is in succumbing to the seduction of an evil woman (7:26), a theme found frequently in the wisdom literature (for example, Prov. 2:16–19; 5:1–6; 6:20–25; 7:1–27).
In Eccl 7:26, Solomon writes from his personal experience with marriage. As someone whose multiple wives (700) and concubines (300) led him astray from serving God (1 Kings 11:4), Solomon had ample first-hand experience about the influence of a wife upon her husband in spiritual matters. Of course, he was not a hater of women, but had realized that an unwise marriage could be a trap and bring downfall to the husband. Like the other wisdom literature in the Bible, the book of Ecclesiastes was written from a male perspective – as a source of counsel to young men in Israel. Had this book been written from the perspective of a woman, it would have targeted on the misery of a woman married to a cruel and brutal man.
It should be noted that much of Ecclesiastes is taken up with reflections on Genesis chapter 3 – the account of the first sin – which may be one reason why this book is so much concerned with death and the brevity of life (Gen 3:19). After Eve was deceived, Adam stood with her and participated in the sin (Gen 3:6), which brought sin upon humankind in general (Eccl. 7:20-29). So, in effect Solomon was urging readers not to repeat Adam’s mistake.
The need for every young man and young woman today is prayer and discernment in choosing a life partner! There are evil men and women in this world and a child of God should not be hasty in committing his/her life with anyone unless he/she is totally convinced of the godly character of the person. Solomon has pointed out that a good lifelong marriage is one of the greatest joys in life (Eccl 9:9). If the marriage relationship has to last a lifetime, the marriage partners will have to count the cost of this union well in advance and enter into this relationship that will last a lifetime.
Our Lord Jesus describes a couple of scenarios of the dire need to count the cost: before we start a building project and before we initiate war against another country (Luke 14:28-32). How can we count the cost of our future marriage unless we clearly weigh our relationship and ensure that we are fully aware about our future marriage partner? It is a known fact that much prayer and discernment through premarital counseling will help the couple greatly in making the right decision concerning their future marriage and lifelong commitment.
“Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).