Don’t be excessively righteous, and don’t be overly wise. Why should you destroy yourself? Ecclesiastes 7:16 HCSB
Since I played competitive golf in college, I had to know and understand the rules of golf. Some rules can be very confusing, such as when a play requires a stroke penalty and when a play requires a stroke and distance penalty. It depends if the ball lands out of bounds or is just in a hazard. Where the ball crossed the hazard line also determines where one plays his next shot. It is important to play by the rules, especially in competitive golf. But there are times while playing informally with some friends we may take an extra shot or just count a penalty stroke instead of going back to the original location and playing again.
It seems odd that Solomon would issue a warning about being excessively righteous and overly wise. He previously said that wisdom was to be valued like an inheritance and everyone should strive to be righteous. Solomon in this reference was describing the person who was so caught up in keeping the rules and regulations that he failed to understand the importance of having a relationship with God, much like the Pharisees in Jesus’ time. Someone might be wise and have factual knowledge but lack common sense and understanding of the importance of having a relationship with God. It is important to be righteous and wise but not to the point of failing to live a godly life.
Challenge: Do not fall into the trap of trying to be “good enough” to get to heaven by abiding by a strict set of laws and regulations. Salvation and forgiveness are acquired by grace, which is a free gift from God that we cannot earn. No one can be righteous or wise outside of God. Seek God and His ways in everything you do. Ask God to help you to be a righteous and wise person by His standards.