Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
The “preacher” starts chapter 7 off very proverbs like. Proverbs is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Each couplet reveals a truth that is deeper than you may think. Just like here in these verse, at face value, you may think to yourself, “What? How can sadness be better than laughter?” But the truth is how can we know what great joy is, if we have never walked through, the dark of sadness? There is something clarifying about sadness. It puts priorities straight.
So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
Sorrow teaches the heart things that fun and enjoyment cant. Only a fool makes merriment when sorrow comes. We have to be careful of that because sometimes we will ignore the pain of life and not allow it to touch us. Yet we can not forget that he is speaking from an ‘under the sun and without God and eternity’ kind of view. For it is with Christ that the going through hard times yields joy through endurance.
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the heart of fools.
We often like to start things, but finishing them can be hard! We may think that to finish is better than to begin but if we look at the context of this chapter we can see that he is speaking of the end of sadness and sorrow is better than it’s beginning. We often make wrong assumptions when hard times come. Especially in the beginning and in an “under the sun” view of life. We may think that God is out to get us or life is trying to destroy us. Life is rough and it is something to endure, with patience. It is better to let that patience have its perfect work. (James 1:4) Otherwise, hard times make us hard. In our anger over the hurt and pain we can become prideful and foolish.
Ecclesiastes 7: 13-14
Consider the work of God:
who can make straight what he has made crooked?
14 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 man may not find out anything that will be after him.
The “preacher” points out that we ought to look and consider what God has done. If the Lord has done a thing can we undo it. It is to our misery and silliness that we think that we can strive against the Lord. I like how this man says it:
The best thing that we can learn to do is to enjoy the day of prosperity and consider in the day of adversity. For the truth is that God has made them both. In the end, after we are long gone, we wont know what is going on in life. It wont matter. If we die without Christ we will be consumed in our misery. If we die in Christ we will rejoice in heaven with Him.
The chapter is just jammed packed but I want to cover just one more. I encourage you to go read this book it is full of nuggets of truth and perspective for the earthly traveler.
Ecclesiastes 7: 21-22
21 Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. 22 Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.
It would do us good as we encounter people who have no guard over their mouth to put one over our ears. It is easy these days to become offended. It seems everyone has taken up arms over words spoken but the truth is the more we hold each other too closely to the fire of judgment for what we say, the more we become judge and offended over things that ought to have just slipped right by us. People need to be able to say what is swirling around in their souls. Granted maybe not on social media but to someone. But if we hear grievance and take it to heart every single time someone complains we will become the same and we know that we too air our grievances. Why is it OK for us but not for them?
Great chapter to ponder!