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I now share Solomon’s experience with aging.  He warns us that missing a relationship with God in our youth will drain us by the time we are old.  While I once challenged the high places in life with adventure, I have become cautious about rock climbing in my growing weakness.  A fall on the ice may be life-threatening, and I get cramps when lifting small objects.  Solomon meditates on the sum of his years and offers us one hope.

Ecclesiastes 12:1-14

1Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;   2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: 

Remember God now while you are young and strong.  Don’t party away your years until you have no pleasure in living left.  There will be a time when you will not see the light of the sun and the stars again.  Long before the end times your body will fail and your eyes will dim.  If you survive the storms of life the clouds will return, as will those storms.  For those separated from God the storms have just begun.

3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,  4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; 

Days will come when the guarding armies will know fear, and the warriors will bow in defeat before their enemy.  The mills will cease working as the workers are gone, and those who peek out of their windows will be depressed.  Doors will be locked and the sound of a bird will disturb their rest.  Music and song will be gone from the land.

5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:  6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.  7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

In place of adventurous climbing, the fear of high places and of God on high will overtake us in the passing of years.  As white flowers cover an almond tree, white hair will cover the aging head.  Even a small bug will seem like a heavy burden to an aging body.  The old passions of desire will fade as a man approaches his final destination at the end of the long road of life.  For the old man separated from God old friends have left and their mourners are all who are left to remember them.  To continue in careless living may break the cord of life itself, or shatter the vessel of the living water.  Then shall man return to the dust from which he was formed.  The tabernacle of this life will then yield up the spirit back to God.

8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.  9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.  10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.

Solomon sees all of life as being no more than just vanity.  Still, because he was wise he tried to teach the people wisdom.  He published the words of knowledge with the best language to convey the truth.  He performed his best effort to make wisdom available.

11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.  12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Words of wisdom are just sharp prods that give pain until we are back in the right path.  They are like nails that join concepts of wisdom into assemblies of righteous living.  These are all from one shepherd, the one who is the real author of wisdom.  So learn this now, all of your study and learning will only wear you out.  The wisdom of the world is not enough.

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Solomon offers you the sum of his years and pursuit of all wisdom.  You just read the sum of all wisdom:  Fear God and keep his commandments.  God will not miss any act of good or evil and will have judgment for all.  We need to be found in his wisdom.

Solomon has recorded that wisdom, and he has finally embraced it for his own life, however late.  At the end of his life he remembers the beginning of wisdom which he had presented in Proverbs:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.  Proverbs 9:10



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Old Solomon can now see how life degrades over time.  What starts as strength and beauty in the morning light declines into weakness and regret in the sunset.  This is the culmination of a lifetime of exploration in search of wisdom.  Missing it entirely is sometimes the path back to finding it.  This Wyoming farmer has harvested wheat the previous summer, and there is hay available for the ranchers around him now.  Summer is gone, and hard days will go easier on the herds because of that summer’s work.  We should expect bad days and hope for mercy when they come to us.

Ecclesiastes 11: 1-10

1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.  2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

This is translated variously as giving to poor people or even shipping grain over the seas.  The suggestion is that generosity will be rewarded in time.  Give to many people because you do not know how much people around you are suffering.

Today the need is greater than the church could ever provide.  In this rich nation the government has provided a safety net of retirement savings and charities for the poor.  Still it is the religious right that whines about providing for the poor.  They complain about supporting “lazy” people.  Surely there are lazy people among the recipients, and there are stingy people among the rich.  Are we called to punish or weed out the evil people around us?

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:  But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.  But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.   So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?  He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?  But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.  Matthew 13:24-30

And our government, do they have the right to take from everyone to support the poor?  Well your government could be taking money from the poor to support corrupt rich people who abuse the poor.

Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?  But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?  Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?  If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:  But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.  James 2:5-9

So the government could be taking your money for any use they want it for.  A corrupt government may be spoiling lazy people, or catering to the rich.  Government can be evil either way, but God has warned us not to pull up either kind of weed.  That is HIS job.  Jesus lived under the corrupt Roman Empire, which taxed Israel to support many foreign wars and oppression worldwide.  They even used the taxes to pay for the crucifixion of Jesus and thousands of his followers.  He knew that, but what did he tell us to do about it?

And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?  They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.  Matthew 22: 20-21

So when Solomon told us to be generous, it is both what we give freely and what Jesus told us to give against our will.  We should be willing to give when we can because later in life we may need mercy ourselves.  My life has needed charity, and we all decline over time.  Our nation has given foreign aid and one day we will need friends in this dangerous world.

3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.  4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.

What we can observe is how clouds predictably empty as rain, and tree is to stay right where it falls.  We cannot stop the rain nor easily move a great tree.  With discernment we know better than to waste seed on a windy day or attempt to harvest during a storm.  These are natural observations that save us from waste and destruction.  There are also supernatural warnings to save our soul.

5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.  6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

Natural man does not know how the spiritual realm works.  Science cannot measure the power of the spiritual world.  Even now we do not understand all of our physical growth mechanisms.  For us to understand the works of his creation and a God who has chosen to be hidden from measurement is impossible.  We should use the morning light to plan and plant while we can, and be generous with what we can harvest later.  We can plant seeds and plan businesses but we can never know if they will be blessed to succeed.  Use your time to give freely as an act that reaches up to our spiritual hope in God.

7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:  8 But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.

The light of day is a joy if it is for a life of good works.  If we live long we will see the season of darkness too.  Remember the light and dark days as there will be a lot of each.  All that comes after that is vanity, a worthless memory of our failures.

9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.  10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.

Celebrate the joy of your youthful strength and beauty, and follow your heart with hope.  But remember that in the end you will be judged for your works on the earth.  So stay away from evil deeds and keep a clear conscience because the temptations of youth are a bloody trap of vanity.

Look at the world around us and witness the evil in leadership, and in the people who follow evil examples.  They vote to expand the evil that already floods our world.  We abuse the poor and weak among men and animals.  Our land and oceans are filled with garbage, as is our entertainment.  Lust and greed are the heroics promoted by our popular elections.  As Joseph and Daniel were faithful, they were raised to positions high above the most corrupt governments of their times.  So serve with no guilt in a world that needs nothing more than honest men and women.


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Prophet known


Solomon was at times a bad king, and knew the danger that truth could bring to the wise men who might speak out.  His sins were leading Israel to the captivity in Babylon, and the entire nation would be under an evil government.  The prophets who would speak against evil would have dangerous lives.  God knew them in advance and provided wisdom for them.  We may need this in our day as well.

Ecclesiastes 10

1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.  2 A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.  3 Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.

Dead flies can make a good medicine into a Petri dish of fermentaion, rot, and stench.  In the same way a great man can be polluted by just a little sin.  Don’t we see great leaders today fall because of a little immorality!  The heart of a wise person is in a totally different place from that of a fool.  Billy Graham would not enter an elevator with a lone woman to avoid the potential of an accusation of immorality.  Our modern leaders leave a trail of accusations and live in denial.  One could say that a fool’s mind is in a lower place than the one on his shoulders.  The actions of a fool speak more than his denials though, the world knows him for who he really is.

4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.  5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:  6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.  7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.

If you are confronted by a greater power, do not respond by storming out of the room or giving an angry response.  Offering humility or an apology may placate the coming judgment.  There are mistakes made by rulers and courts, and this is evil when one is falsely accused.  At times our rulers are foolish and the wise are left in poverty.  You may expect that your wisdom may have to live quietly to survive.  Solomon has been a king who was at times unwise, and now in his senior years he warns us to preserve ourselves by caution and humility.  Some of our leaders may be charged for crimes, will they know when to own their responsibilities?

8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.  9 Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.  10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.

Solomon warns that building a trap for others will cause your own injury, as breaking through a neighbor’s fence.  Moving landmarks or property borders will cause danger as well.  A dull axe or a dull mind will both cause you to work harder, so be sharp.  As this is the word of God we should understand that this is his hand in the warning.  Even if you are not caught in your sins, God will hold you accountable himself.  Today men try to fool voters with fake news from both sides of every issue.  They pour their fortunes into lies that are being revealed, and they earn only evil profit from all their investment.

11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.   12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.  13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.  14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?

A snake requires no warning to bite, and the tempting ideas of an idiot can also poison your life without warning.  Wisdom is prosperous to everyone, but foolish ideas will destroy their author.  Those words start out only to be errors but followed to the end they lead to evil insanity.  These false prophets have a lot to say and yet they have no knowledge of what the future will hold.  Do we hear false accusations that provoke us to fear others as being a threat?  Are we offered help by wolves in sheep’s skins?

15 The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.  16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!  17 Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 

Those who work for their own evil are exhausted because they actually have no clue how to lead us to hope.  A nation is cursed when the rulers are childish, screaming for a feeding at all hours like a spoiled baby.  The nation prospers under leaders who have lived and learned in the house of leadership, and are restrained from excess of passion.  Perhaps great leaders do not stay up late to proclaim their innocence and accuse others on Twitter?

18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.  19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.  20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

A house needs work to repair it regularly, and ignoring it leads to its collapse.  You can put on a feast and serve good wine to make your guests happy, but remember to consider the cost of it all.  Don’t even think about cursing the king, not even in private because there is often a way that he will hear about it.  After Solomon’s mistakes other kings will hear things they will not like.  Those God called to be prophets will not have a choice but to speak truth about the evil kings.  Perhaps this warning motivated them to stay away from the temple and the kings.  The wise may have to be humble and homeless to survive.  But there will be fools in power for a season.  So they will all be rewarded in God’s season.


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Solomon is seeing no hope for anyone, good or bad.  He has seen a common fate that offers only silence in death.  The wise are forgotten and fools are without hope.  He proposes that we be content with our work and our life as he sees no hope in death.

Ecclesiastes 9:1-18

1 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.  2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.  3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 

God has control of all things and no man knows his future.  The same events are awaiting good and evil men alike.  Love and hate will touch everyone.  The godly and the ungodly share the same future.  This is insanity that there is one future that falls on all so we have insanity in life and then only death.

4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.  5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.  6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. 

If you are still alive you have hope because a living dog is better off than a dead lion.  Those who are alive know they will die but the dead know nothing are unknown and forgotten.  All the memory of the lives, loves, and hates is perished and they are no longer a part of this life.

7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.  8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.  9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

Eat drink and be merry because God knows your works to be good.  Keep yourself free of sin and do the works that are good.  Enjoy a good life with the wife of your youth.  This is what God has given you for your life work.

10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.  11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.  12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

Whatever work you chose, do it with all your heart because there is no wisdom in the grave that is waiting for you.  The race is not won by the fast, the battle is not won by the strong, honor is not to the wise, wealth is not to the clever, nor honor to the skilled.  It is all by chance that these things are given.  As wild game is taken in a trap man falls suddenly into evil times.

13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:   14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:  15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. 

Solomon relates a story about a city besieged by a strong army.  The enemy built a great siege fortification against the city.  But one poor wise man was able to show them how to defeat the enemy.  But even though he saved the city, no one remembered him later.

16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.  17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.  18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.

While Solomon observes that wisdom is better than strength he also notes that the wise man is despised and ignored.  Is that not how the world treats geeks today?  And yet the wise man can be heard in his quiet place more than the shouting of the king in a crowd of fools.  While wisdom is more powerful than war weapons, one sinner can destroy a lot of good works.

Our nation has been saved from many wars by clever invention and we have forgotten most of those who did this work for us.  America is a great nation and yet one leader who lacks wisdom can shout madness that will tear it all down in our generation.


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Solomon held power as a king of Israel.  He was feared and honored in his own land, and by other kings and nations.  The son of David and Bathsheba must have been strong, handsome, popular, and powerful.  He knows that power can destroy enemies, but he also knows that a king can sin.  He warns us not to go against a king who is not prone to evil as mortal kings are.

Ecclesiastes 8

1 Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man’s wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.  2 I counsel thee to keep the king’s commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.  3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.  4 Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou? 

Who indeed understands the deep things of life?  If you understand the wisdom of God your whole person may glow with courage.  The prophets perhaps reflected the glory of God when they spoke as he commanded them.  Solomon advises us to keep the king’s commandment in regard of your oath to God.  Does that mean that we should honor every king, like Ahab and Jezebel?  I think we know that Solomon has already regretted his own sins as a king.  But he warns us not to go against the king who has power.  His father David had already prophesied about another king who would be above all mortal  kings.  A greater king was before and after all others, and is identified in a revelation that would describe him in power.

 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords. Revelation 19:16

This is a king, the Son of David, who even kings must obey, who shields his subjects from all harm.

5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.  6 Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.  7 For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?  8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

This is the king who protects the obedient from all earthly powers and threats.  The wise man can discern what is true of seasons and judgment.  There will be a season for God’s judgment so man must expect his sins to be known.  The time of accounting is unknown to man and no one can control the spirit of God.  No mortal is in power after his death, and none is relieved of duty from the war of righteousness.  No evil man will have a deferment from the measurement of his life before this king.

9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.  10 And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity.  11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.  12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:

Solomon has done every work, good and bad alike.  He sees that a king can be a ruler even if he does the evil things that cause his own destruction.  He witnessed the death and burial of men who started in righteous faith, and later passed into obscurity in their sins.  The punishment of evil is a slow process that sneaks up without warning on the king of evil deeds.  This is the confidence of the prophets who speak against an evil king, that in due season evil will be punished even as the righteous shall be delivered.

13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.  14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.  15 Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.

Wicked men may prosper for a season but their end will not be as long as he thinks, a passing shadow without God.  It is vanity that good men perish while evil seems to endure.  Even kings will dare to rebel against a king who will have them in his power.

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.  Revelation 17: 12-14

We who witness the works of evil kings may be called to speak truth even if it leads to our harm at the hands of evil men.  In the end the righteous will prosper over the kings of evil.  We are assured that serving the King of Kings will overcome.  So Solomon suggests that man should have joy in his celebrations because nothing else will endure of his works in this life.

16 When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)  17 Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea farther; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.

Solomon made a mission to find wisdom in all the works of this life.  Some seek that wisdom without rest, working long into the night.  Then he beheld the wonders of creation that only God could do.  No man of wisdom, past or future, can ever fathom the vastness of the knowledge of his universe.  No evil ruler can imagine a way of escape in the delusion of their own power.  Have comfort in speaking truth that is wisdom from God who is the power of peace.


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Solomon was not the author of Proverbs, he was only the stenographer of Proverbs, writing what God revealed to him.  He flunked the test because he had not committed the words to heart to guide his life.  This life is only the entrance exam to the real life to come.  In Ecclesiastes he is beginning to lament the mistakes of his past as he compares to what God intended us to do.  Are we weary of his complaining?  Well it is here for us to consider as we plan our own lives.  He may have saved us from a lot of grief.

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.  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.

No amount of fine clothing or medals of honor can make a person honorable.  Real honor may be hidden in the heart, but God knows that it is there.  Our death day is greater than our birth day because we present the sum of our life and honor to God at that time, not before we have earned it.  Sorrow is the beginning or repentance and correction will make us stronger.  The house of sorrow is everyone’s destiny because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Only a fool is deceived to believe that he has done good in all he has in this life.

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.

Harsh correction stings, but it can be deliverance from disaster.  The invitation to trouble is often sweet music that leads to sour lemons.  The fool gets a short season for laughter that dies out as fast as poor fuel for the cooking fire.  Although it is frustrating to be hindered from a goal, it may be better than having a free path to disaster.  The end of a venture is either disaster or victory, but the beginning is only uncertainty.  Either way it is over, but patience will take you to a better end than stubborn pride.

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.  11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.  12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

Do not be quick to anger because that takes you into the territory of destruction.  Facing disaster will not get better if you can only wish to go back to better times.  If you can have both wisdom and wealth for an inheritance it is good.  Both may buy safety, but wisdom never runs out and always gives life.

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.  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.

Whatever the Lord does will not be changed by a mortal man.  Consider prosperous days and hard ones alike because God plans you to have no legacy when you are gone.  All of life has been vanity when the righteous die young and the evil live long and prosper.

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.

Do not think you are smarter or more righteous than anyone else, why should you self-destruct in this?  Do not surrender to temptation or ignorance that will shorten your life.  Get a grip on this wisdom and never let go of it, because he that fears God will come through every battle.

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.  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.

Wisdom is a stronger defense than warriors or expertise.  There are no good men on earth, we all sin.  Do not dwell on every spoken word, because at times your friends and employees will at times curse you.  But of course you know that at times you too have cursed others.

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?  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.

Solomon here remembers that he had wisdom to draw from, but never did so.  He would like to explore its depth, but who can?  He decided to explore that and foolish temptations including insanity.  Solomon has indulged many women who used him to serve evil.  Now he sees their whoredom as more evil than death itself.  Anyone who pleases God will escape, but the evil cannot avoid her web.

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.  29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

Solomon has never been able to find wisdom in a thousand men or any of the women he has known.  He seems to have kept company with the dark side, including his many mates.  He finds that while God made man upright at first, they always went after inventions for destruction.

Solomon was used by his many wives and concubines to build temples to false gods.  His life contradicted the wisdom of Proverbs even after he went in search of it.  Much learning and experimentation led only to madness.  Only a man who can please god can escape from the snares of death.


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Solomon witnessed a lot of evil in his long lifetime.  He created some of that evil by ignoring the Proverbs he had written.  With wealth and power comes temptation and the opportunity for failure and vanity.  He offers a warning here, but he also hints at hope.

Ecclesiastes 6

1 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:   2 A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.  3 If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he.  4 For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness.

These are common evils that happen to men.  A rich man who cannot be satisfied with his wealth can lose his appetite for food and life.  One with a long life and many children may be unable to have good in his soul for the desire for more.  If a man’s family will not give him an honorable burial then the stillborn are better off than he is.  If he brings only vanity he will live and die in darkness, and will not be remembered.

5 Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing: this hath more rest than the other.  6 Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?  7 All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.  8 For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?

The child that is stillborn or aborted is better off that this great man of vanity.  Does a man who has lived two thousand years in vanity see a fate better than any other?  He may work those years to feed himself and never enjoy a single meal.  What does a wise man possess that has more real value that that of a fool?  And what is the possession of a poor man who understands how to behave properly in our real world?

9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.  10 That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.  11 Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better?  12 For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

It is better to appreciate the little that you actually have than to long for all the things that you want to have.  That is vanity and disappointment that poisons your spirit.  All that has been known already has a name, including all men, who cannot argue with the God who formed him.  And how can a man know for sure what will be good for him to do in his lifetime?  We watch those years disappear as fast as the shadow that moves with the sun.  And who can reveal your future, or what will follow the years of your life?

Solomon will reveal the answer to those last questions later in this book.  His writings may save us from taking such a long journey to disappointment.  I too have witnessed the passage of many years, but I can see that God has made my road easier.  Some things appear to be failure and still lead to joy.  Let God show you what only he can know about your past and future.  He is a good guide.

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