Scripture reading – Ecclesiastes 7; Ecclesiastes 8

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In today’s study, you will find similarities between the Book of Ecclesiastes and the Proverbs of Solomon. Since time and space do not permit me to conduct a comprehensive study of both Ecclesiastes 7 and 8, this devotion will offer a summary of Ecclesiastes 7.

Ecclesiastes 7

Solomon returned to a comparative pattern often observed in the Book of Proverbs in Ecclesiastes 7. In his proverbs, the young king often contrasted life choices with the comparative expression, “Better…Than.” In Ecclesiastes 7, he returned to the same method.

Eight “Better…Than” Truths (Ecclesiastes 7:1-10).

  • It is better to have earned a “good name” and have integrity than to afford “precious ointment” (i.e., a sweet-talking, spineless person who pursues pleasing everyone, Ecclesiastes 7:1a).
  • Though there is rejoicing in “the day of one’s birth,” it is better to be praised and eulogized in “the day of death.” (Ecclesiastes 7:1b)
  • It is better to mourn at a funeral and be reminded of the temporal nature of life than to gorge at a feast with foolish men. (Ecclesiastes 7:2)
  • It is better to have a soul refined by trials and sorrows than a shallow life that knows only laughter and pleasure. (Ecclesiastes 7:3-4)

  • It is “better to hear the rebuke of a wise” man than be entertained by “the songs [and laughter] of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:5-6)

  • How you end is more important than how you begin. (Ecclesiastes 7:8a)


  • It is better to be “patient in spirit” for a proud, hasty, angry spirit “resteth in the bosom of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8b-9)

  • There is a danger in memorializing the “good old days” (“the former days”) and forgetting that God’s mercies are sufficient for the days in which we live. (Ecclesiastes 7:10)

Five Profound Truths for Life and Happiness (Ecclesiastes 7:11-22)

1) Riches are temporal, but wisdom endures (Ecclesiastes 7:11-12). Wisdom and money give security and protection, but only wisdom gives life, lasting joy, and prosperity.

2) No man can change what God has purposed (Ecclesiastes 7:13). God is sovereign, and no man can divert Him from His plans and purpose. What God has determined to be crooked will be crooked, and what He has bent no man can straighten.

3) Adversity cannot deter God’s will; therefore, in times of prosperity, we should be joyful (Ecclesiastes 7:14-15). God ordains the good and the bad. Times of plenty and times of famine are from the LORD. He can take the evil intent of men and turn it for His good (Genesis 50:20; Psalm 91:10; Romans 8:28-29).

4) Be balanced and spiritually conscientious (Ecclesiastes 7:16-18). Do not allow sinful pride to move you to become greedy to reign and rule over wealth or others (“Be not righteous over much,” Ecclesiastes 7:16). Understand that unresolved conflicts and unconfessed sin can send you to an early grave, and “thou die before thy time” (Ecclesiastes 7:17-18).

5) Godly wisdom is powerful and influential. A man known for godly wisdom is stronger and more influential than “ten mighty men” living in a walled city (Ecclesiastes 7:19). Such wisdom is powerful and prevails over the mightiest of men.

Closing thoughts

I leave you with an incredible challenge–GET WISDOM! Though often scorned by men, godly wisdom and wise counsel are nevertheless powerful, convicting, and influential.

Consider that Pharaoh valued Joseph’s wisdom, and he became second to the king of Egypt (Genesis 41:38-41). David, a mere shepherd boy, was a “man after [God’s] own heart,” and he became King of Israel (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). Daniel’s godly wisdom carried him from the role of a slave to serve as counselor to the kings of Babylon and Persia (Daniel 5:11-12; 6:10). Nehemiah was a cupbearer to the king of Persia, but he was chosen to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:4, 11).

I conclude with a Proverb of Solomon that should inspire all believers:

Proverbs 22:29 – Seest thou a man diligent [prompt; skillful] in his business [labor]? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men [foolish men].

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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