After telling us his observations and advices regarding riches and wealth, Solomon now shifts his topic about I would say better things. Here, he is making comparisons about things that are for me extremes.
The word “better “is mentioned here in Chapter 7 eight times. We need to see things that are better because we are always given a choice, so we have to choose wisely.
I. Good name is better than precious ointment. (Eccl. 7:1)
A. Good name here means not only reputation or how people sees you but who are you in the eyes of the Lord.
B. Many crooks or evil people can masquerade themselves as good men but inwardly they are pretending and just putting in a show of outward goodness.
C. Precious ointment represents luxury, prosperity, even happiness.
D. Good name, good reputation in the eyes of God and man will always be better than all the riches in the world.
E. Many Bible heroes died a poor man like Moses, Paul, and the Apostles, yet their name is respected and remembered having served Christ faithfully.
F. Many kings, politicians, businessmen, drug lords, etc., who were extremely rich and powerful when they were alive were all despised, hated, and forgotten when they died.
G. What do you have in mind when you hear the name Hitler, Stalin, Saddam, Khaddaffi, Idi Amin, Pol Pot and other dictators and mass murderers?
Illustration: A good name
After the American Civil War the managers of the infamous Louisiana Lottery approached Robert E. Lee and asked if he’d let them use his name in their scheme. They promised that if he did he would become rich.
Astounded, Lee straightened up, buttoned his gray coat, and shouted, “Gentlemen, I lost my home in the war. I lost my fortune in the war. I lost everything except my name. My name is not for sale, and
if you fellows don’t get out of here, I’ll break this crutch over your heads!” Source Unknown.
II. The day of death is better than the day of one’s birth. (Eccl. 7:1b)
A. How can the day you die better than your birthday?
1. Birth is usually the time of happiness. A baby is welcomed to the world and parents are proud to show their new born babe.
2. However, birth is the beginning of many hardships, sorrows, struggles, pains, sufferings, etc. (Job. 14:1)
3. Job even cursed the day he was born (Job 3:1-3)
4. Jeremiah did so as well (Jer. 20:14).
B. Death day is better (we speak of the death of the righteous here) in the sense that:
1. The righteous goes to heaven
2. For me that’s all that matters, I go to heaven and be with the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. We would see all the redeemed men and all the angels.
4. We will have mansions in heaven but for me just to be with the Lord Jesus Christ is enough, more than enough.
C. So, you see now why death day is better than birthday?
Illustration: D. L. Moody
“Some day,” D.L. Moody used to say, “you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody of East Northfield is dead. Don’t believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now!”
He preached his last sermon in Kansas City on Nov. 23, 1899, from the text Luke 14:18: “And they all with one consent began to make excuse.” When he gave the invitation, fifty stood to their feet and went across the street into the inquiry room. He was too ill to continue the Kansas City campaign, so he took the train back to Northfield. On Friday, Dec. 22, he went “home.”
Five years before his homegoing Moody had said, “If it can be said, faithfully said, over my grave, ‘Moody has done what he could,’ that will be the most glorious epitaph.” Instead, 1 John 2:17 was chosen: “He that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
The Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, W. Wiersbe, p. 209
III. Going to the house of mourning (funeral) is better than going to the house of feasting (party). (Eccl. 7:2)
A. Most people love to go out, have fun, sing, dance, eat and drink in a party.
B. Solomon says its better to go to the funeral. Why?
1. At the funeral you are reminded that life is brief and one day you will die also.
2. Death is universal and no one can avoid it.
3. No one knows who is going to die next, for young, old, weak, strong, rich, poor, even new born babies die.
4. We are to lay it to our heart. We are to consider, think, and prepare our selves for our coming death. How true is the Psalmist when he wrote: Psalms 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
C. Sorrow is better than laughter (Eccl. 7:3)
1. It is a common saying that laughter is the best medicine.
2. Laughter may cause you to forget temporarily life’s problems and difficulties
3. Sorrow however, will cause us to think and consider the number of our days as we have just stated. It can make positive changes within us.
4. For this reason, a wise person would rather be in the house of mourning or funeral parlour, while the fool would rather be at the house of pleasure or party. (Eccl. 7:4)
Illustration: Heathen Vs Christian Funerals
Heathen funerals during Paul’s time were terrifying sights. The bereaved would refuse all comfort, crying their hearts out. Conversely, the catacombs under the city of Rome buried an estimated 3,000,000 Christians during the Roman persecution. Inscriptions found there read: “In peace,” “In
sleep,” “Thou livest in God.” There is HOPE for Christians.
“Sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (1 Thess. 4:13)
Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of the Times.
IV. It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. (Eccl. 7:5)
1. Godly reproof offends us and maybe painful and hard to follow but it has
beneficial effects on our thinking and way of life.
2. Fools’ songs in the house of mirth maybe enjoyable at the moment. Like flatteries, it makes us feel good and think highly on ourselves, however, it has no real value and cannot make us a better person.
3. Also, the laughter of fools is like the crackling of thorns in a fire. Thorns make a lot of noise, they burn quickly but provide little heat which is of little value. (Eccl.7:6).
V. A bribe given to a wise man, clouds his judgment and makes him decide wrongly. This verse gives us two ways whereby a wise man may make wrong choices
1. By suffering adversity or hard times or oppression from others.
2. By receiving bribes to have quick prosperity
3. Eccl. 7:7 shows us that worldly wisdom can be easily corrupted and lost.
VI. The end is better than the beginning. (Eccl. 7:8)
1. As we have already seen earlier, the day of one’s death is better than his birthday
2. Many plans start with good goals but are not completed; many starts a church but cannot continue the ministry due to many reasons. Some justified others not.KIng Saul started out right but ended up badly.
3. Many things begin with lots of difficulties and tears, but end up in rejoicing- Psa.126:5-6
The better things here were the counsel of a man who has everything in life but concluded that life under the sun is vanity and vexation to the spirit. We will continue this next week