City Under Siege

Have you allowed your circumstances, friends, or society to define you? Do you feel insignificant because of your job or social status?

The Preacher of Ecclesiastes told a story of how an unlikely hero saved a city.

City under siege

There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:

Ecclesiastes 9:14

A disproportionate force came against a seemingly unimportant city.

You have enemies

Whether you live in a small country, city, or town, you have enemies. Whether you have a small church, family, or business, you have enemies.

An unfair situation occurred where an overwhelming force came against people who had no reason to expect an attack.

Everyone wants the star player

Have you ever seen a sports team where one player was superior to the others? I’ve seen situations where the coach would leave the star player in the game, regardless of that player having a bad day. They’d rather lose than let a backup player help win the game.

Like the city,

Unfair competition

If you let me, I’ll refer again to sports. Just imagine a “major league” team playing a high school team. You can probably guess which team would win.

The invading king played unfair odds. The little city didn’t have a chance.

The response

Don’t think for a second that the people of the little city didn’t turn to their “stars” for answers to the dilemma that threatened them.

As in my example of the sports team, the “stars” were having an “off day.” They had no solution to the problem that perplexed them.

Defeat seemed inevitable.

The search for answers

After looking to all the top leaders of the city, the people started looking to others for suggestions. They interviewed all the ruling elite. They sought advice from the upper class. In desperation, they condescended to consult the middle class. Right?

Can you imagine how the people had to swallow their pride to listen to the poor? Can you imagine the elites going into public housing to talk to welfare and food stamp recipients for help? What a horrible day that must have been!

Still, the people swallowed their pride and listened to what the poor people had to say. What a relief!

The rescue

Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city…

Ecclesiastes 9:15

Probably, the poor man had little or nothing to lose if the city fell to the invading army. In fact, a military collapse would put all the wealthy people on the line. If not the lives of the wealthy, certainly the wealth of the “upper crust” was at stake.

Knowing he would stay poor, despite the injustice he suffered in the little city as a poor man, this man had the answer.

Can you imagine the wisdom and solutions we as a nation, a city, a church, or community miss out on just because they don’t want to listen to the poor?

We could rescue Western civilization if only we’d listen to what the poor man has to say!

The injustice

Just like the “bench” high school player who brought about the defeat of the “major league” team, nobody gave a flying freak about the poor man who rescued them. They sent him back to the bench. They sent him back to his poverty. They won the battle. That’s all that mattered.

Parades, acts of Congress, state recognition, local awards… the poor man got *nothing* in return for saving the city.

Yet no man remembered that same poor man.

Ecclesiastes 9:15

The ungrateful city wouldn’t even name a bridge after the poor man!

Lessons to learn from the city under siege

What does God want us to learn from the city under siege?

First, let’s talk about human nature. “Respect of persons” is the name of the game. If you’re not “respectable,” you’re not respected. Period.

The Bible says much about the sin of “respect of persons.” Apostle Paul says:

There is no respect of persons with God.

Romans 2:11

No matter your wealth, job, or position, you have no greater standing with God than people of little or no means.

Why did the poor man, with little to lose, save the city that oppressed him? Perhaps he thought that he’d get recognition and celebrity that would elevate him to the “power elite.” Maybe, a wise poor man (such as the one in our text) was wise enough to realize that the city would ignore his accomplishment.

I suggest the poor man knew he’d stay poor. He saved the city based on principle, not for possible financial or social gain. Still a casual observer would agree that the poor man who saved the city was worthy of recognition of some sort.


For the poor man

Regardless of who you are, let principle – morality – guide your actions. If you can save a city or even an undeserving class of people, do it. God will reward you, even if no human being will.

For the overwhelming army

Don’t think you will win because you have the majority. You trust in your power, but your desired victims depend on wisdom.

Wisdom will win every time.

How to Look up Bible Verses