HOW CAN I STAY ON COURSE?
Ecclesiastes 7:1-8:17Â Â Â Â Â August 6 2006
Life is filled with sorts of injustices and
Inequities with which we must deal . Among
these are bad leaders and the fact that
people may not get what they deserve on
earth. Solomon concluded that while wisdom
cannot explain every mystery under the sum,
we need wisdom to get the most out of life.
1. Remember Life’s Brevity (Eccl. 7:1-4)
Eccl. 7:1Â Â A good name is better than precious
ointment, and the day of death, than the day of
birth. 7:2Â Â It is better to go to the house of
mourning than to go to the house of feasting;
for this is the end of everyone, and the living
will lay it to heart. 7:3Â Â Sorrow is better than
laughter, for by sadness of countenance the heart
is made glad. 7:4Â Â The heart of the wise is in the
house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the
house of mirth.
When a face is sad, Solomon said, a heart may
be glad. In other words, grief or sorrow is
good because it can sharpen our understanding
about life and teach us things we might not
otherwise learn . the wise reflect on what
they learn in the house of mourning, while the
foolish are only concerned with spending more
time in the house of pleasure.
2. Heed Criticism and Resist Anger (Eccl. 7:5-9)
Eccl. 7:5Â Â It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.Â 7:6Â Â For like the
crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of
fools; this also is vanity. 7:7Â Â Surely oppression
makes the wise foolish, and a bribe corrupts the heart.
7:8Â Â Better is the end of a thing than its beginning;
the patient in spirit are better than the proud in spirit.
7:9Â Â Do not be quick to anger, for anger lodges in the
bosom of fools.
There is something in each of us that is susceptible
to flattery. Regardless of who we are, most of us would
rather listen to the joyful lyrics of praise than the
somber rhetoric of rebuke. However, Solomon cautioned
against listening to fools who sing our praises. Fools
are people pleasers who do not want to upset others.
They tell other what they want to hear rather than
what they need to hear.
That is why Solomon said it is far better to listen to
wise person’s rebuke. although rebuke is often hard
to swallow and may even wound us, itis much better
for us than the soothing flattery and kisses of a fool
3. Live In The Present and Focus on God (Eccl. 7:
Eccl. 7:10Â Â Do not say, â€œWhy were the former days better
than these?â€ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
7:11Â Â Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, an advantage
to those who see the sun. 7:12Â Â For the protection of
wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage
of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to the one who
possesses it. 7:13Â Â Consider the work of God; who can make
straight what he has made crooked?Â 7:14Â Â In the day of
prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider;
God has made the one as well as the other, so that mortals
may not find out anything that will come after them.
Dwelling on the past can paralyze us and keep us from
facing the challenges and opportunities we have in the
present .While the past is a nice place for an occasional
visit, do not live there (Phil.3:13). Do not let your
memories of days long gone outweigh your dreams for
and about the days yet to come. Dare to seize and to live
each day in away that honors God. Allow His wisdom to
keep you on course by leading you to apply yourself to
today’s task rather than longing for days gone by.
4. Allow for Human Frailty (Eccl. 7:21-22)
Eccl. 7:21Â Â Do not give heed to everything that people say,
or you may hear your servant cursing you; 7:22Â Â your heart
knows that many times you have yourself cursed others.
People will gossip about us, whether we like it or not .
Their words will inflict a measure of pain and exact a
certain amount of damage. However, we must keep in
mind that we too are guilty of having spoken unkindly
about others. We too have gossiped about or been
critical of others. Wise people ignore those who
complain about them, realizing that they themselves
have done their share of complaining . God’s wisdom
keeps us on course by instructing us to make
allowances for those who speak unkindly of us.
There are lessons about life we can only learn in grief
and sadness. Attending a funeral has a way of reminding
us of how fragile life is and that we cannot escape our
mortality. The foolish view death as an incentive to ” eat,
drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” However, the
wise view death as an incentive to turn from folly and to
purposefully live each day (Ps.90:12). so the next time you
go to a funeral, remember Solomon’s words–that is the end
of all mankind ,and the living should take it to heart.