Biblical Teaching

A Lesson from Ecclesiastes 9 and 10 – Prairie Chickens!

A  Lesson from Ecclesiastes 9 and 10

Yesterday Dr. Ed Young, presented a sermon on Ecclesiastes 9 and 10.  We have been studying Ecclesiastes for a few weeks now, and I have to say it is a difficult book to study!  Solomon must have been going through severe depression most of the time he was writing this book.

Dr. Young, however, in his amazing ways to get our attention, likened man’s behavior (that’s men and women) at times to Prairie Chickens!  

A male Attwater’s Prairie Chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri) booms early in the morning at Attwater’s Prairie Chicken NWR near Eagle Lake, TX.

Well, everyone laughed but how many of us actually know what a prairie chicken looks like and how they behave.  I decided to take a look at prairie chickens on the web.   I knew that with birds the male is usually the prettiest color and that they do show of and make calls to draw the female to them.

Prairie Chickens are another of those type of ‘birds’.  They are very interesting.  Their process of ‘showing off’ for the females is called ‘booming’.   There are many videos on YouTube showing these creatures and from various parts of the country.  There are Greater Prairie Chickens and there are Lesser Prairie Chickens.  It just happens that the zoo in Houston has the Atwater Prairie Chickens in the zoo there.  These are an endangered species.  (See the video above.)

It really is interesting and entertaining to watch them ‘boom’ and watch the little dance they do when they are showing off.

A Common Destiny to All – Chapter 9:1-12 

In verses 9:1 through 9:12, Solomon starts off concluding from the previous chapter, ‘the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God’s hands.‘  Well I would agree with that.  Then he proceeds to say ‘we all, the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean;…..’share a common destiny’.  Ultimately he ends that part of the chapter with enjoy your days with your wife who you love, ‘all your meaningless days’.   ‘The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned’ but time and chance happen to them all.’  ‘No one knows when their hour will come.’

Argh!  It is all so true but not uplifting in the least!  He says in verse 4 with all who live there is hope.  (But is there?  Only if they know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, as then and only then, will they have eternal life.)

Wisdom Better than Folly – Chapter 9:13-18

Here Solomon talks about a poor but wise man who saved a city by his wisdom when a powerful king came against the city. So Solomon said ‘Wisdom is better than strength.’   ‘The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.’

Dr. Young then refers us back to 2 Samuel 20 where Sheba (the son of Bikri), a Benjamite, rebels against David.  In this Chapter of Samuel, Sheba is the sinner who destroys much good.  He stirs up a rebellion and all the tribes of Israel to Abel Beth Maakah and the entire region of the Bikrites followed him.  (Hence the Prairie Chicken reference from Dr. Young.)

A wise woman in the city intervened and assisted Joab, who was fighting against the rebellion, by gathering people together and encouraging them to cut off the head of Sheba.  They did and throwing it to Joab, ending the rebellion.  One sinner destroys much good! One good person with wisdom can end the prairie chicken behavior!

A Little Foolishness – Chapter 10

Chapter 10:1-4: ‘Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stink, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor. A wise man’s heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man’s heart directs him toward the left.  Even when the fool walks along the road, his sense is lacking and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool.  If the ruler’s temper rises against you, do not abandon your position, because composure allays great offenses.’

Aha!  During the message, Dr. Young emphasized here that ‘little things’ are very important.  He then talks about ‘Prairie Chicken Leadership’.  The Prairie Chicken overlooks the ‘little things’.

Chapter 10: 8-20.  Solomon talks about those who dig a pit may fall into it, a serpent may bite him who breaks through a wall …. ‘Wisdom has the advantage of giving success.  If the serpent bites before being charmed, there is no profit for the charmer.   Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him; the beginning of his talking is folly and the end of it is wicked madness. Yet the fool multiplies words.’

Solomon ends verse 20 with ‘Furthermore, in your bedchamber do not curse a king, and in your sleeping rooms do not curse a rich man, for a bird of the heavens will carry the sound and the winged creature will make the matter known.’  Per Dr Young, hence the  expression ‘a little bird told me’.

Real Life Prairie Chicken Examples in the Bible:

  • Abraham passed his wife off as his sister twice
  • Isaac loved Esau and not Jacob but blessed the wrong son
  • Jacob trusted Laban a second time after being cheated by him the first time when he gave him Leah instead of Rachel as his wife
We all act like ‘Prairie Chicken’s at times!








Let’s be more alert and wise.  Pray for wisdom in everything we do.   God tells us if we will ask for wisdom He will give it to us.


Bible quotes in this blog are from the New American Standard Version.

This blog is from my personal notes from Dr. Young’s message on Sunday, May 20, 2018 at 9:30 AM on the Woodway Campus in Houston, Texas.

You can see Dr. Young’s messages live at Second Online  and also previous messages at Second Baptist Church or on the Winning Walk.

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  • Judy Brown

    Yes, I agree that we act like prairie chickens at times.
    For me, I must remember to continually ask for wisdom and discernment on a daily basis.

    • taresa

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