Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”. He is the one that will proclaim the spritiual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.
Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer. Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…
First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).
Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34). (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)
Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved. May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question… “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.
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. (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 maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart. (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.
Solomon now describes for us many different areas of our lives that can lead us to prideful living. He attempts to answer the question.. “Does living a life of pride and arrogance lead to a fulfilling life on earth?”
A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.
Living a life of humility that results in possessing an honorable, respected name among mankind is far better than accumulating the most valuable of ointments. Prideful living would choose the wealth of this world over the good testimony of a man humbled before the Lord.
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. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
It is far better to face difficulties, sorrows, and loss in this life than to enjoy the pleasures of this world without any heartaches or trials. This is because a man who is faced with many trials, can more easily see his frail, fallen condition and need of the enabling graces of the Lord in His life. True Godly wisdom, humility and dependence upon God, many times, is rooted in the hardships of life. In opposition to this, many times, living a life of pleasure and joy without heartaches can lead to a man to a prideful spirit, as he feels immune from trials and superior to others who are suffering abound him.
It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
Possessing a humble spirit always willing to hear words of correction from a wise man is far better than for a man to selfishly, pridefully seek counsel from fools. A wise man knows the importance of recognizing our weaknesses and great spiritual needs, while the prideful fool does not recognize his need, but only thinks upon receiving pleasure and enjoyment in the here and now.
A fool’s counsel and merriment is much like burning wood under a pot, it makes much meaningless noise that lasts for only a moment and disappears into smoke.
Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.
A wise man recognizes abuse and mistreatment of others and becomes angry over it. But a gift that is received from the abuser (as a bride) will pervert the wise man’s judgment and turn his eyes and hatred from the abuse.
Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
Solomon now tells us it is far better to finish a task than to simply plan to do it with no work being done to bring it to completion. A wise man recognizes it takes a humble, patient spirit to finish the task at hand. Impatience leads to frustration and anger which is a sign of a prideful, foolish man.
Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
It is foolish and prideful are not to ask why the days of old were better than present times. We must humbly recognize the Lord controls both our past and present days. We should accept our current circumstances of life humbly and wisely knowing that all things are working for our good and His glory.
Folks living a life of pride and arrogance will only develop in us a self-reliant attitude that does not recognize our great spiritual needs. This type of lifestyle results in living a wasted life and an unpreparedness to enter eternity. May we all seek to lead a life of humility and submission, understanding the great need of Christ in our life as our Lord and Savior.
Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:
|1.||2:1-3||The pursuit of carnal desires (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)|
|2.||2:4-11||The pursuit of material possessions through human labors|
|3.||2:12-17||The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly|
|4.||2:18-23||The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1|
|5.||2:24-26||The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2|
|6.||3:1-8||A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events Prt #1|
|7.||3:9-15||A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events Prt #2|
|8.||3:16-22||A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.|
|9.||4:1-3||A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.|
|10.||4:4-16||The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly|
|11.||5:1-7||The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises|
|12.||5:8-17||The pursuit of worldly riches|
|13.||5:18-20||A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man|
|14.||6:1-2||A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.|
|15.||6:3-10||A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God|
|16.||6:11-12||A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.|
|17.||7:1-10||The pursuit of prideful living|
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