1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. 2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
- 2Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
- Psalm 16:11 … in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. 6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity. 7 Surely oppression makes a wise man rave: and a bribe turns aside the heart/a gift causes the heart to wander.
- God uses oppression to open man’s ears to listen to Him (Job 36:15).
8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9 Do not rush in your spirit to be angry: for anger rests in the bosom of fools.
- Romans 5:3 we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
- Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.
10 Do not say, Why were the former days better than these? For you do not inquire wisely concerning this. 11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun. 12 For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom gives life to them that have it.
- John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.
13 Consider the work of God: for who can make straight what he has made crooked? 14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God has set the one over against the other, So that man may not discover anything that will be after him. 15 I have seen all things in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongs his life in his wickedness.
- God is working all things together for good to those that love Him (Romans 8:28). Therefore what is happening today is the best thing that could be for that day considering our choices.
16 Do not be excessively righteous, and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? 17 Do not be excessively wicked, neither be a fool: why should you die before your time? 18 It is good for you to grasp this: yes, do not withdraw your hand from the other: for he who fears God will escape them all.
- Psalm 16:11 in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures for evermore.
- Revelation 3:21 To him that overcomes I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
19 Wisdom strengthens the wise more than ten mighty men that are in the city. 20 For there is not a just man on earth, that does good, and does not sin. 21 Also do not pay attention to all words that are spoken; lest you hear your servant curse you: 22 For often your own heart knows that you have cursed others. 23 All this I have proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. 24 That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out? 25 I applied my heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:
- Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, Do not fear, Daniel: for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to chasten yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come because of your words.
26 And I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets and her hands as bands: whoever is good before God will escape from her; but the sinner will be taken by her.
- This woman thinks that the man she is trying to trap will make her happy.
- Happiness or blessing in life comes from right relationship with God and others.
- Therefore catching and keeping a person will not make her happy and she will blame that person for her unhappiness.
God made man upright
27 Behold, I have found this, says the preacher, weighing one thing against another to find out the reason 28 that my soul still seeks; but I do not find it. I have found one man among a thousand; but I have not found a woman among all those. 29 Behold, I found only this: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions.
- Man seeks many other things for fulfillment.
- God is usually man’s last resort when he has tried everything else.
- It is our pride that won’t seek God until we are desperate.
- God made all things. He made us. Our life and breath is in His hand.
- He loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins, so that we might be with Him.
- No other person or thing deserves to be loved more than God.
1 Who is like the wise man and who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man’s wisdom makes his face shine, and the boldness/strength of his face will be changed. 2 I counsel you to keep the king’s commandment even on matters of the oath of God. 3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight: Do not stand in an evil thing; for he does whatever pleases him. 4 Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who can say to him, What are you doing?
- How much more important to keep the commandment of the eternal King of Kings? The power of whose word formed the heavens.
- Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 9 He spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
- Psalm 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleased, that’s what he did in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.
5 Whoever keeps the commandment will feel/know no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerns both time and judgment. 6 Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. 7 For he does not know what will be: who can tell him when/what it will be? 8 There is no man that has power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither does he have power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; nor can wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
- Notice the promise of verse 5. If you want no trouble in your life keep God’s commandments.
- Jesus now has the power over life and death.
- The unseen war of this life with death is the battle
of faiththat there is no discharge from until transfer to be with God (2 Timothy 4:7, Ephesians 6:12-16).
- Job 12:10 (God) In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
- Revelation 1:18 I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: there is a time in which one man rules over another to his own hurt. 10 Then, I have seen the wicked buried, those who used to go in and out from the holy place, and they are soon forgotten in the city where they did thus. This too is futility. 11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
- God waited four generations to judge
the Amorites because their iniquity was not yet full (Genesis 15:16).
- Revelation 14:18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
It will be well with those that fear God
12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet surely I know that it will be well with them that fear God, that are in awe before him: 13 But it will not be well with the wicked, neither can he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he does not fear before God.
- The word ‘fear’ means fear, reverence and awe. Is it wise not to fear One powerful enough to make the universe:
God gives us the days of our lives
14 There is a vanity which is done on the earth; that there are just men, to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; and there are wicked men, to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity. 15 So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun. 16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on the earth (for there also is one that doesn’t sleep day or night with his eyes:) 17 Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labors to seek it out, yet he cannot find it; yes further; though a wise man thinks to know it, yet he will not be able to find it.
- God’s work is too vast to comprehend.
- He never sleeps.
- Job 5:9 Who does great things and unsearchable; marvelous things without number.
- Psalm 121:3 He will not allow your
foot to be moved: He that guards you will not slumber.
The righteous, the wise, and their works are in the hand of God
1 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this: that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knows either love or hatred by all that is before them. 2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrifices, and to him that does not sacrifice: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that swears, as he that fears an oath. 3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event to all: yes, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
- Acts 17:28 tells us that in God we live and move and have our being.
- In mental institutions you can walk up to some people and speak to them and they do not know that you are there. They do not hear you or see you.
- In a similar manner, the human race
lacks perception that we are living in God.
- This is lack of contact with reality. God is the most real reality.
- If we seek Him we will find Him—Matthew 7:7. If we learn of Him through His word we will come to see Him with the eyes of our soul.
- John 10:28 And I give to them eternal life; and they will never perish, neither can any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die: but the dead do not know anything, neither do they have any more a reward; for their memory is forgotten. 6 Also their love and their hatred and their envy perishes; neither do they have any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun. 7 Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God now accepts your works. 8 Let your garments be always white; and let your head lack no ointment.
- In Christ we are accepted in the beloved.
- Remember that God never accepts our human works for salvation or acceptance before Him. He only accepts the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.
- Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he has made us accepted in the beloved.
- Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
God has given us all the days of our lives
9 Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of the life of your vanity, which he has given you under the sun, all the days of your vanity: for that is your portion in this life, and in your labor that you take under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your strength; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave, where you go.
- Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, neither is bread to the wise or riches to men of understanding or favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.
- God is testing the hearts of man.
- He tests man in all areas.
- The Hebrew word ‘happen’ means God’s timing is always perfect.
- Psalm 7:9 Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God tests the hearts and reins.
- Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tested as we are, yet without sin.
12 For man does not know his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them. 13 This wisdom I have seen also under the sun, and it seemed great to me: 14 There was a little city, and few men in it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: 15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.
- God remembers and protects.
- Isaiah 49:15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yes, they may forget, but I will not forget you.
- Psalm 91:1 He that dwells in the secret place of the most High will abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 7 A thousand will fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you. 8 Only with your eyes you will behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the most High, your habitation; 10 There will no evil befall you, neither will any plague come near your dwelling.
16 Then I said, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. 17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that rules among fools. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroys much good.
- Wisdom delivers from the eternal wrath of our holy God. That is far more valuable than any weapon of war can do.
1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking odor: so does a little folly to he that has a reputation for wisdom and honor. 2 A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left. 3 Yes also, when he that is a fool walks along the road his sense is lacking, and he shows to every one that he is a fool. 4 If the spirit of the ruler rises up against you, do not leave your place; for yielding pacifies great offences. 5 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as an error that proceeds from the ruler: 6 Folly is set in great heights, and the rich sit in low place. 7 I have seen servants on horses, and princes walking as servants on the ground.
- Most rulers in history rule without thought of bringing the people they rule to God.
- This is the most glaring error that rulers make.
- They attack the problems of society on a superficial level rather than at the source, man’s heart without God.
- Jesus Christ will not make this great error when He rules over the earth.
- He will intercede between man and God, and encourage man into deeper a deeper relationship with his Maker.
- Zechariah 6:13 he will build the temple of the LORD; and he will bear the glory, and will sit and rule on his throne; and he will be a priest on his throne: and the counsel of peace will be between them both.
8 He that digs a pit will fall into it; and whoever breaks a hedge, a serpent will bite him. 9 Whoever removes stones will be hurt by them; and he that splits wood will be endangered by it. 10 If the iron is blunt, and he does not sharpen the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
- Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endures forever.
11 Surely the serpent will bite without being charmed; then there is no advantage to a master of the tongue. 12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are grace; but the lips of a fool will swallow himself up. 13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is evil insanity. 14 A fool also multiplies words: a man cannot tell what will be; and what will be after him, who can tell him?
- God has told man what will be.
- Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel will stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
15 The labor of the foolish wearies every one of them, because he does not know how to go to the city. 16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes eat in the morning! 17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!
- Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD: and the people whom he has chosen for his own inheritance.
18 By much slothfulness the building decays; and through idleness of the hands the house drops through. 19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes glad the life: but money answers all things. 20 Do not curse the king, no not in your thoughts; and do not curse the rich in your bedchamber: for a bird of the air will carry the voice, and that which has wings will tell the matter.
- James 3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man does not offend in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
- Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
1 Cast your bread on the waters: for you will find it after many days. 2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for you do not know what evil will be on the earth. 3 If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth: and if the tree falls toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will be. 4 He that observes the wind will not sow; and he that regards the clouds will not reap.
- Don’t watch the weather. Get the work done and leave the weather in God’s hand.
- Waters in scripture often refers to peoples.
- Verse 1 speaks of generosity with our substance. Giving food to those in need.
- It also portrays the food of man’s heart, Jesus Christ.
- After many days He will come to set things right.
- Treasure in heaven will last forever.
- Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, If you will be perfect, go and sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
- John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me will never hunger; and he that believes on me will never thirst.
- Isaiah 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm will rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
God makes all; we do not know how He does what He does or all the things that He does
5 As you do not know what is the way of the spirit or how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so you do not know the works of God who makes all. 6 In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand: for you do not know what will prosper, either this or that, or whether they both will be good.
- Psalm 1:1-3 says that meditating in God’s word causes everything you do to prosper.
- Job 5:9 Who does great things and unsearchable; marvelous things without number:
7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to see the sun: 8 But if a man lives many years, and rejoices in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they will be many. All that comes is vanity. 9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes: but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. 10 Therefore remove anger from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.
- ‘I did it my way’ brings judgment. Live God’s way and you will be blessed.
- Psalm 96:13 (rejoice) before the LORD: for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth: he will judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
God, our Creator, deserves to be remembered
1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come or the years draw near when you say, I have no pleasure in them; 2 Before the sun and the light or the moon and the stars are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain: 3 In the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men will bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows are darkened,
- The word ‘Creator’ is plural in the Hebrew.
- These verses describe the aging of the body.
- The keepers of the house are the arms and hands, strong men are the legs, and grinders are the teeth.
- Those that look out the windows are the eyes.
- Psalm 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgives all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases; 4 Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things; so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
4 And the doors will be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he will rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music will be brought low; 5 Also when they will be afraid of that which is high, and fears will be in the way, and the almond tree will flourish, and the grasshopper will be a burden, and desire will fail: because man goes to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: 6 Before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was: and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
- The spirit goes back to God who gave it while the body returns to the dust from which God made it.
8 Vanity of vanities, says the preacher; all is vanity. 9 And because the preacher was wise he taught the people knowledge; and pondered and searched out and arranged many proverbs. 10 The preacher sought to find words of delight: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
- John 17:17 Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth.
11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12 Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to this: of making many books there is no end; and much study/reading is a weariness of the flesh.
- Solomon warned us about books that are not the truth. Only God’s book is the truth. Jesus our Great Shepherd gave it to us. It is all that man needs. It is the only book that will last forever.
- 2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
- 2Peter 1:21 For the prophecy did not come in ancient times by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
- Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
God will bring every work into judgment
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.
- Psalm 96:13 … for he comes to judge the earth: he will judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
SUMMARY: Ecclesiastes 7-12
- God made man upright
- It will be well with those that fear God
- God gives us the days of our lives
- God makes all
- We do not know how He does what He does or all the things that He does
- God, our Creator, deserves to be remembered
- God will bring every work into judgment