Next we read Eccl 7:1-7
This chapter (chapter 7) has much wisdom in helping us to develop a perspective from G-d’s point of view.
v1: A good name: A good reputation. The inner qualities/character of an individual (this is more important than what a person looks or smells like).
· Ointment: Or oil. This covers the body, the exterior, and does not penetrate into a person’s inner being. There is something false about it. When a person with oil/perfume walks into the room the fine scent is associated with that individual, but it actually says nothing about who the individual really is. In many ways it can lead to a false representation of that person. Too often people emphasize the exterior at the expense of their interior or character (1 Sam 16:7).
· Day of death (better)than the day of ones birth: This is applicable to those people who have “a good name”. Death, for those with a good name, is a new beginning – a time to receive those treasures stored up in heaven. Death is a release from everything that makes up this fallen world. In contrast to this: when people are born their troubles start (Job 5:7, John 16:33)
v2: House of mourning: A place related to death. Death often brings about a change of perspective or mindset, as we pause to think about our own mortality. Death has a sobering effect upon our thoughts. Mourning helps us to confront reality, as we realise that our time here is short (it helps us to live in truth – “the end of all men…the living will take it to heart”).
· House of feasting: A party place, nightclub etc. This is not talking about a place where G-d’s people gather in order to worship. Many (especially) young, naïve, people want to party and have a good time – using drugs and alcohol etc as a form of escape, and as a way to cope with their pain and dissatisfaction with this world. G-d’s people enjoy rejoicing, but they enjoy rejoicing with G-d and not in the way described above. Partying causes us to escape reality – this is not a good thing, as we need to live within reality (within truth).
v3: Sorrow: Yeshua said: “Blessed are those who are poor (afflicted, grieved) in spirit”…Matt 5:3. There are times when we need to be angry or grieved over what’s going on in this world and not just complacently accept what has become “status quo”.
· Sorrow is better than laughter: In a way to relieve tension we often try to make light of serious situations. We ought not do that. We need to understand the seriousness of the things that impact our lives, and the lives of other people, so that we do not miss the opportunity to execute justice or be an influence for the purposes of G-d in those situations.
· Sad countenance: A face that shows displeasure with what is going on is a testimony to others that what is going on is in fact not right. Showing our displeasure (disagreement), publicly, is an act of faith (Neh 2:1-6).
· The heart is made better: This is a promise from G-d. The heart is the place where we think (Prov 23:7). When we take a public stand against something that is wrong G-d
has promised that it is going to be (ultimately) good for us. It is in this circumstance that G-d will give us an opportunity to do ministry.
v4: The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning: The place that we want to be is around those who are encountering death, who are grieving. Why? Often it’s in those times of grieving that people are more available, they are more open to words of wisdom. Wise people realise that the house of mourning is a great opportunity for ministry. People are going to be more willing to hear and take to heart our words in their period of mourning.
· The house of mirth: When people are having a “good time” they are not going to be as open to hearing the Word of G-d. It is when we encounter hardship, troubles or problems in our lives that we’re going to be more willing to listen, and not just hear but respond to truth.
v5: Rebuke: This is a word synonymous with conviction. When a wise person speaks truth/correction to us it might make us uncomfortable or uneasy, but this is where change can occur.
· The song of fools: Music is very important in worshiping, exalting and praising G-d. This is why satan has polluted, attacked and corrupted so much of it today.
v6: Crackling of thorns: When dry vegetation or thorns are used to light a fire, they make a crackling sound as they start to burn. That sound doesn’t mean anything except to tell us that the vegetation is lit and is being consumed. It adds no knowledge or wisdom to a situation. This is what the laughter of fools is like. Although it may sound as if they are rejoicing, what they are rejoicing in has no value and nor does it bring about any lasting change.
v7: Oppression: This is the opposite of loving our neighbours as we love ourselves (people who oppress others are acting contrary to truth). When a wise man begins to act in a way to oppress others it is going to make him foolish and will bring about a loss of his heart.
· Oppression and bribery work hand in hand. When people want to take advantage of others they pervert justice. This perversion of justice is often covered up by the giving of a bribe as a reward for the silence of others.
· Debases the heart: A bribe has a destructive influence on the person who receives it. He is paid to think and act wrongly.