This is Ecclesiastes 7
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.
If something smells awful, you can use a substance with a sweet smell to hide the bad smell. But you have not dealt with the real problem. Whatever caused the bad smell is still there.
A ‘good name’ means a good, honest character. That is the character of a person who loves the truth (John 1:47)
“47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”
That person does not hide problems, because the truth matters to him. So he is honest, both with himself and with other people.
Of course, most people agree that the truth is better than a lie. But still, they prefer not to think about facts that they consider unpleasant, that lead to them lying.
So, they go to happy parties. They need every opportunity to forget their troubles and to think happier thoughts. But they might learn more if they went to funerals instead of birthday parties!
At a funeral, they would learn an important lesson. There, they would understand that all people must die. When people remember that fact, they have an opportunity to become wiser. People should prepare now for the day when God is their judge.
Jesus said that the truth makes people free (John 8:32)
“32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
But of course, not every true fact has that effect. We cannot just think about the fact that we must die. That fact is true, but it will make us miserable. We must also think about the fact that God sent his Son to save us. So we must invite him into our lives (John 3:16) “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
When we do that, then we really will be free (John 8:36) “36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” And the result will be the kind of life that never ends (John 8:51) “51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”
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.
Many people are constantly trying to make themselves happy. They say that the purpose of life is to be happy. Solomon himself believed that such people are foolish. They have allowed their emotions to rule their lives.
A person who wants to be wise must have a different attitude. A wise person does the things that are right and proper for him to do. He chooses to be serious, because people’s lives are difficult. He chooses to be careful, because his thoughts must be sensible.
Happiness is not, of course, evil, but the desire for happiness causes people to do many evil and stupid things. Nobody likes to be sad. But until we are sorry about our evil deeds, we will not ask God to forgive us for our sins. Until we desire a complete change in our lives, we will not invite God into our lives. Sad feelings bring about serious thoughts. And when these thoughts are right and proper, they can achieve good results.
So it is not the happy parties that are wrong. It is the attitude of people at those parties. That is why Jesus chose to be present at such events. He ate with people who were guilty of many wrong and evil deeds. But Jesus did not join in their foolish laughter. He went there to help people who needed God’s help. He spoke serious words there about how God wanted to rule those people’s lives. And all his words were wise (Matthew 11:19); “19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.” (Mark 2:15-17) “15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?
17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
When we have known sad feelings, then we can know the greatness of God’s comfort (Matthew 5:4) “4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
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.
The people in Israel loved to sing. They sang at home, and they sang at work. They sang at weddings and they sang at funerals. Solomon had a collection of 1005 songs (1 Kings 4:32) “32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.”
Of course, the foolish people were not singing to praise God. Foolish people do not do that. When they sing, it is for their own pleasure. That is how foolish people behave. They think constantly about themselves; they care only about their own feelings.
Usually, we do not like anyone to tell us that we are wrong. But that attitude is foolish. It would offend those foolish people if someone complained about their songs.
But the person who desires to be wise has a different attitude. He wants to know about every wrong thing that he is doing. He needs to know these things so that he can change his behavior (Proverbs 9:8-9) “8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”
That is how a person becomes wise.
Those foolish people are at a party. They have finished their song, and now they are laughing. But their laughter, like their song, has no purpose. It is just a sound that they make. It does not even mean that they are happy. Did you ever notice when foolish people cannot laugh about something, they laugh at someone.
In the original language, the word for ‘pot’ in Ecclesiastes 7:6 is the same as the word for ‘thorn’. The same word has two meanings. Thorns are bushes with sharp points. They are a nuisance to collect and they do not even burn well.
So the thorns are like the fools. They both make a lot of noise, but they achieve no useful purpose. The thorns are fit only for the fire, even as the fool is fit only for punishment.
7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.
King Solomon wanted people to study so that they could become wise. He constantly warned people about their foolish behavior. But sometimes he thought that it was necessary to warn wise people, too.
People like to have wise rulers, wise officials and wise judges. There are many good opportunities for wise people. If a wise person uses those opportunities well, he can make himself successful. And that is the danger. The purpose of wisdom is not to give a person power, importance and wealth. The purpose of wisdom is to show a person how to make decisions that are right, proper and wise.
It is not right, proper or wise to love money (1 Timothy 6:9-10) “9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
The love of money causes people to do all kinds of wrong and evil actions.
For example, the love of money causes judges to accept secret gifts. Then they issue judgements that help the giver. Such a judge must not imagine that he has acted wisely. His decision is not wise; it is foolish and evil.
The love of money causes employers to force their employees to work too hard. The love of money causes lenders to act unfairly. The love of money causes rulers to use their power in an evil and cruel manner.
These powerful people became important because of their wisdom. But there is no wisdom in their actions now. People may still consider them clever and intelligent. But now these powerful people live only to serve their own desires, as foolish people do.
8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
‘The end of a matter is better than its beginning.’ Someone should have reminded Solomon about those words. He began his rule so well (1 Kings 3:4-14) “4 And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar.
5 In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.
6 And Solomon said, Thou hast showed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.
7 And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
11 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
12 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
13 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honor: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.
14 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.”
but he ended it in a terrible manner (1 Kings 11:4-9) “4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.
5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.
7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
9 And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice.”
Patience is essential for any task that we cannot complete immediately. Only a person who completes a task is successful in that matter. And no task is ever greater in someone’s life than how that person lives his life.We often feel a sense of pride when we begin well. But the beginning is often the easiest part, because our troubles have not started yet. There will certainly be troubles. If the task is great, then the troubles will be great too.We need the same kind of patience that Job had during his troubles (James 5:7-11) “7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
He continued to trust God, even through the worst troubles. If we are not patient, then we will become angry. We may feel so angry that we complain against God. That is a foolish and wrong thing to do. God is good, and holy, and perfect. We must not blame him when we suffer troubles. The wise person does not ask why the beginning of his task was so much easier. He intends, with God’s help, to complete his task, whatever the problems may be. And he wants to complete it in a manner that pleases God. That desire gives him the patience to continue the work during difficulties and troubles. When the task is to serve God, there is a great reward for our patience (Hebrews 10:35-36) “35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.
36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”
11 Wisdom is good with 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 giveth life to them that have it.
If you love your children, then of course you want to provide for them. And you hope that your gift will continue to benefit them long after your own death.
Most people try to save some money for that reason, or to put their kids though school. And they worry about it.
They hope that their children will use the gift wisely. If they do, then the money can protect them from many troubles. It can support them when their lives are difficult. And it can offer real benefits to them.
But everyone realizes that a gift of money can actually cause many problems. Often, the children waste the money, or someone else takes the money from them. Or the gift deprives them from some hard work, and the lessons that will teach them. And so then the gift can failed to achieve its purpose.
There is another kind of gift that a wise parent can give to his child. Even the poorest parent can afford to give this gift. If the child accepts this gift, then it will certainly benefit him. And it will continue to benefit him for his whole life. This gift is the gift of wisdom see (Proverbs 8:10-11) “10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”
A parent gives this gift when he teaches his child to be wise. The parent must teach the child how to make right decisions, and how to behave in a proper manner. But especially, he must teach the child how to respect and to serve God (Proverbs 3:5-6) “5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
All true wisdom comes from him (Job 28:28); “28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”
(Proverbs 2:5-6) “5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”
People who love this kind of wisdom receive life, eternal life. That is, the best kind of life (Proverbs 3:17-18) “17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”
Like money, their wisdom can protect them from dangers, but wisdom does much more wonderful things than that. God’s wisdom gives people a right relationship both with God and with other people. Then people are content in their lives, and their lives are worthwhile and good.
13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
God did not originally intend that people’s lives would be hard. He gave the first people a home where their lives would always be blessed and pleasant (Genesis 2:8-9) “8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
But when people chose not to obey God and sin, God changed those arrangements. In the future, in a sinful cursed world, they would have many troubles because of God’s curse. And they would have to work hard for the things that they needed (Genesis 3:16-19) “16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Because God has done these things, people cannot change them. Sometimes he allows a person to know wealth, health or happiness, the curse of death is still on us. But when these things do not continue, that person must not complain against God. God is not evil and He does not cause our troubles, we do. see (Job 1:1–22) “1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.
7 And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
8 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
9 Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.
13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:
14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:
15 And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:
19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.”and (Job 2:1-13) “1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.
2 And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
3 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
4 And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
6 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.
12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.”
But he does allow us to suffer some troubles so that we can learn a very important lesson.
The lesson is this. God wants people to serve him, and only him, as their God (Deuteronomy 5:7-10) “7 Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
8 Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:
9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,
10 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.”
Because people do not obey the real God, they often choose money, success or happiness as their gods. They will choose Satan in the guise of any other thing or god you want. But people must learn that these false gods will always fail in the end. They must understand that only the real God can satisfy them. Their trust in anything else must disappoint them and God will curse them.
It is a hard lesson, but it is for a good purpose. If people felt completely happy without God, they would never trust God. If money satisfied people completely, they would see no reason to obey him.
God, after giving us eternal life, has already prepared a future home in Heaven where, again, people’s lives will always be pleasant (Revelation 21:1-5) “1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
But that home is not for everyone. It is for the people who have chosen God thought the blood of Jesus Christ as their only God. (Romans 5:9) “9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
(Revelation 22:12-15) “12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”
(Hebrew 13:12) “12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.”
(Romans 3:25-26) “25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
(Matthew 26:28) “28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
You see without the blood of Christ there is no remission of sin, and no way to get into Heaven.
15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.
16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?
17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?
18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.
We say that a good person deserves a long life. And we may think that the life of a very wicked person should be short. That may seem fair and proper to us, but it does not always happen in this world.
But in fact, good people sometimes die at a young age. That is clear evidence that a person’s own goodness cannot or shouldn’t be the only thing that saves a person.
It is also true that wicked people sometimes have long lives. But of course, that fact does not show that people should be wicked! It does not benefit anyone to live a long life if they are living in a wicked manner. During their long lives, wicked people constantly add to the evil deeds for which God will punish them.
Solomon warns that people can have wrong attitudes towards goodness, as well as wicked behavior. Of course people should always do what is right and wise. But some people trust what they think is goodness so much that they even accuse God (Romans 3:3-7); “3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
5 But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)
6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?
7 For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?”
(1 John 1:10) “10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
These people imagine wrongly that their own goodness can save them (Romans 3:20); “20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
(Luke 18:9-14). “9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
Such people are bringing about God’s judgement against them and they probably don’t even know it. (Romans 2:1-5) “1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;”
Everybody carries out wicked deeds; nobody should deny that fact, we all sin. (Romans 3:9-19) “9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
People must not use that fact as an excuse to carry out even more wicked behavior (Romans 3:7-8). “7 For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
8 And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.”
God will certainly punish such wicked behavior. Those wicked people may even die before the proper time because of God’s judgement against them. But God’s judgements are always just and accurate. (Numbers 16:28-35). “28 And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.
29 If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the Lord hath not sent me.
30 But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord.
31 And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them:
32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
34 And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.
35 And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.”
The person who respects God can avoid these wrong attitudes. He asks God to forgive his evil deeds (1 John 1:9). “9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
This person allows God to show him how to live (1 John 1:7). “7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
And this person trusts only in God’s goodness to save him (Romans 3:21-24). “21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”
So the person who respects and fears God does not trust in his own goodness.
19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.
20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
Wisdom is powerful, but it is very rare. In fact, it is impossible to obtain perfect wisdom from anything or anyone in this world as Solomon learned the hard way.
Solomon considered that wisdom and righteousness (goodness) are really the same thing. Real wisdom is always good; and goodness is always wise.
In Ecclesiastes 9:13-16, Solomon will tell a story to prove that one wise man is stronger than a whole army. In that passage, the wise man defends his own city. Here in Ecclesiastes 7:19, the wise man defeats an enemy’s city. Ancient cities had strong walls for their defenses. And this city had 10 powerful captains as its guards. But wisdom made the wise man stronger than all his enemies were.
That is the strength of a man who is perfect in wisdom and goodness. We very much desire to find such a person, but our efforts must disappoint us. Nobody is completely good. Everyone has done wrong and evil things that are against God. God’s judgement against us is that we are all guilty people. Not one person can pretend to be wise or good in front of God. God’s standards are perfect and no person is ever perfect.
But people have terrible enemies that they must oppose. I do not mean their human enemies, although those enemies are often powerful enough to make anyone afraid. But there are worse enemies than those, for example, the devil and the power of death (1 Corinthians 15:26). “26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death”
Think about it even our own evil deeds control us like slaves (Romans 7:17-22). “17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:”
We need real goodness and wisdom to defeat enemies like those!
We do not have that wisdom and goodness, and we cannot get them from this world. They are not something that we can achieve by careful study or good works. These things come only from God (Job 28:28). “28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”
It is only God who can save us from those terrible enemies.
So Paul was making an important statement when he called Christ: ‘the wisdom of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:24). “24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” Paul declared that he would not trust his own righteousness. Instead, he had received righteousness from God when he (Paul) trusted Christ (Philippians 3:9). “9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”
By means of Christ, God gives his people wisdom and righteousness. He makes them holy and he frees them from their enemies (1 Corinthians 1:30). “30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”
So there is no reason for pride, except in what God has done (1 Corinthians 1:31). “31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
We cannot save ourselves, but God can save us through Jesus Christ. So we must trust Him always.
21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
You may consider yourself a good person. But even the best people are guilty when God is their judge (Ecclesiastes 7:20). You do not have to wait until God issues his judgement against you. You yourself already know that you have done many wrong and evil things. Your own heart (that is, the Holy Spirit within you) already declares you guilty.
Solomon used a little story about a master and his servant to explain this matter. At the time of the Bible, many people worked as servants. An important man would have a lot of servants in his house. But even someone who was much less wealthy might employ a boy to carry out tasks for him.
Of course, a servant usually behaved well when he was in front of his master. The master would not hesitate to punish his servant; he might strike the servant with a stick. But often, a servant hated his master or he felt anger towards the master. And so the servant would say unpleasant things about his master when the master could not hear him.
In the story, the servant thought that the master would not hear his insults. But actually, the master heard, and so he had to punish his servant. He could not allow such behavior; it was a matter of honor.
But everyone sometimes says bad things about other people, so of course this master had done that too. He was guilty of the same wrong deed for which he was punishing his servant. So by means of that punishment, the master was showing that God must punish him (the master) too. That master himself deserved that punishment, and he knew it.
Sometimes we accuse other people in order to make ourselves feel innocent. But that does not make us innocent. In fact, it only increases the reasons why God should punish us (Romans 2:1-6). “1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:”
We may consider ourselves better than other people, but that is not a good way to think. We all deserve a terrible punishment for our evil deeds. But God sent Christ to save us from that punishment (Romans 6:23); “23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
(John 3:16). “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
We must confess our sins to God and we must invite him into our lives. God forgives the people who trust Christ.
23 All this have I 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?
Solomon proved all that he wrote by means of careful thought and study. That is what people call wisdom.
But his study of wisdom proved to him that, in fact, he had hardly begun to understand wisdom. Perfect wisdom is a much greater and more wonderful thing than our minds are capable to understand. There seems no limit to the number and variety of things in this world. But this world is just one small part of all that God has created.
A person cannot even understand his own thoughts and actions properly. The wisest people soon learn that they are not really wise. They have studied enough to make some sensible decisions and to give some good advice. But their decisions are not always wise and their advice is not always right.
Job tried hard to understand where wisdom comes from. He said that it does not come from this world, like gold (Job 28:1-19). “1 Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it.
2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone.
3 He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.
4 The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men.
5 As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire.
6 The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold.
7 There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen:
8 The lion’s whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.
9 He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots.
10 He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing.
11 He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light.
12 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?
13 Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.
14 The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me.
15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.”
Something that is so perfect can only come from God himself (Job 28:23). “23 God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.”
It is a good and perfect gift that God desires to give to us (James 1:17); “17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
(James 3:17). “17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”
God wants to teach His people much more than they can ever learn by careful thought and study. He wants His people to be content in their relationship with Him in a way that their minds cannot even understand (Philippians 4:7). “7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
God’s wisdom begins when we respect God (Proverbs 9:10). “10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
It continues through our lives as we trust God (Proverbs 3:5-6). “5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
It is much better than what people call wisdom (Proverbs 3:7), “7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.”
(Isaiah 55:9); “9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
(1 Corinthians 1:25). “25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Our minds cannot understand God’s wisdom but God teaches it to us by His Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:7-10). “7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
25 I applied mine 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:
26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
King Solomon wanted to understand the nature of foolish behavior. By that, he meant wicked behavior. People do things that they believe to be stupid, wrong and dangerous. It seems extraordinary that anyone should choose to behave like that. But in fact, everybody is doing such things constantly.
Evil behavior tempts us in order that it may control us. It is like a woman who has chosen not to be loyal to her husband. She tempts a man in the same way that evil behavior tempts us all. Like us, that man knows that his actions are foolish and dangerous. Like us, he wants to please himself now, although his happiness can only last for a moment. That feeling causes him to forget all the trouble that he is causing for himself and his family.
You can read similar descriptions in Proverbs chapter 5 and Proverbs 9:13-18. These passages are about wrong sex, but they also describe all kinds of wrong behavior. We do these things because we allow evil desires to control us (James 1:14-15). “14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
We allow our emotions to rule our lives.
Only the person who pleases God can avoid such behavior. So we need to understand how we can please God. It is certainly not by our own good deeds or hard efforts (Romans 4:1-8). “1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
Instead, we must believe God and we must trust him (Galatians 3:6-9). “6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”
Then God will give us His Holy Spirit, and our wrong desires will not still control us (Galatians 5:16-23). “16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
God can free us from the power of our evil deeds because Jesus died for us (1 John 1:7). “7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
27 Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:
28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 says clearly that nobody is completely good. But Solomon still searched for such a person.
He could not find that person. He says that there is only one good man among 1000 men. And there is not one good woman among them all. I think probably that both these expressions have the same meaning. True goodness in any person, whether man or woman, is extremely rare. It is so rare that it hardly seems possible for such a person to exist.
Solomon knew nobody who was perfect. But still, he chose his words carefully. He did not deny the truth that is in God’s word. If Solomon could not find a perfect person in this world, he could find that person in the Bible.
Several Psalms contain a description of a man who is completely good, for example Psalm 1, Psalm 15 and Psalm 24:3-5. We can read, of course, about many people who served God in the Bible. But the Bible often reminds us that these people were not completely good. For example, it tells us about the wrong deeds of Noah (Genesis 9:21), “21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.”
Abraham (Genesis 12:10-13), “10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.
11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon:
12 Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.”
Moses (Numbers 20:7-12), “7 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
8 Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.
9 And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him.
10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?
11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
12 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.”
and David (2 Samuel 11:1-27). “1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.
2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
3 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.
5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
6 And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.
7 And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.
8 And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king’s house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.
9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king’s house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.
10 And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?
11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.
12 And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.
13 And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.
14 And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
16 And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were.
17 And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
18 Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war;
19 And charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king,
20 And if so be that the king’s wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall?”
21 Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
22 So the messenger went, and came and shewed David all that Joab had sent him for.
23 And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate.
24 And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants; and some of the king’s servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
25 Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.
26 And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
27 And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.”
But the Bible declares that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is completely sin free and good (Hebrews 4:15); “15 For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
(1 Peter 1:19); “19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
(1 John 2:1). “1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
He is the one man whom God considers perfect.
In the end, God will make all his people perfect (Hebrews 11:40); “40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
(Hebrews 12:23). “23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”
This is possible because of the death of Jesus and the shedding of His Blood. And it has already started to happen in born again Christians because God’s Holy Spirit is present now in the lives of God’s people (Romans 8:1-2); “1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
(Romans 8:9-11); “9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
(Galatians 5:5). “5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”
29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
Nobody is completely good. Every person does things that are wrong and evil (Ecclesiastes 7:20). “20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.”
But God, who created all people, never does anything wrong. So clearly he did not intend people to live as they now live. He did not want them to do wrong and evil things. It was people who chose to do those wrong
things being influenced by Satan in this world, God is not responsible for people’s evil deeds; they themselves are responsible.
That is what Solomon learned by his careful study and thoughts about this world. And that is what the Bible teaches as a matter of history. All that God created was, originally, completely good (Genesis 1:31). “31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
The first people were completely good and they lived in a perfect world (Genesis 2:8-25). “8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found a help meet for him.
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
But they chose not to be loyal to God. They did not obey his instructions. They made that decision on purpose (Genesis 3:1-12). “1 Now the serpent was more subtile than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”
They did that evil act because they listened to Satan and he made them prideful. They desired to make themselves like God (Genesis 3:5). “5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
They wanted to know what it is like to be good or evil. And they allowed their desires to tempt them (Genesis 3:6). “6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
So they listened to Satan and disobeyed God’s commandment not to eat of that fruit.
Still today, people do wrong things for similar reasons. They make plans in their minds to satisfy their own desires. They do not allow God to rule their lives. Instead, they want to be like a god who can rule his own life. Or they make up a god they can obey and follow. A god without judgement or sin. And so their wrong desires guide their actions. They do things that they know to be wrong. And they know that they deserve God’s punishment
(Romans 1:18-32) “18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the un-corruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
Our situation is hopeless, Satan roams the earth tempting, but God has been very kind to us. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for us. And because of His death, God can forgive us our sins (John 3:16). “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
So we must confess our sins to Him. And we must invite Him into our lives.
I will be posting the 12 chapters of the Book of Ecclesiastes one chapter at a time on my blog. Look on the blog for new postings of new chapters as I post them. I am using bold text for the Word of God from the King James Version Bible as it is written. I will use italic for my commentary below the chapters and verses from the book of Ecclesiastes, This commentary is how I help people understand what is written in the Bible.
All glory to God
His humble servant Lee M Buchanan