“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 take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad 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.”
“Whatever one is, he has been named already, for it is known that he is man; and he cannot contend with Him who is mightier than he” (v.10). We know so much about man and his tendencies. Virtually nothing man does is really a surprise anymore, neither to God or man. Nor can man argue or fight against God or “show Him up.” God is so much greater than man, and although man is predictable and unsurprising, God is unpredictable and surprising.
I can’t quite seem to figure out this passage: “All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the soul is not satisfied. For what more has the wise man than the fool? What does the poor man have, who knows how to walk before the living? Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.”
Better is a stillborn child than a man who lives long and has a hundred children. What?! How can that be? According to the Preacher, the prosperous and well-aged man “is not satisfied with goodness, or indeed he has no burial.”
Sounds like a depressed Solomon again. In many words he is simply saying, “There is no point in living life if you don’t get to enjoy the good things life has to offer.”
Yesterday I read about the man that is blessed by God such that he can enjoy his work and the fruit of his labor. Happy is that man!
But then there are those who seem to get the bad lots in life. This kind of man has “riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it.”
Once again, Solomon repeats himself from an earlier chapter. Ecclesiastes 3:22 says, “So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage.”
Coming to 5:18 he says, “Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage.”
“There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun: riches kept for their owner to his hurt. But those riches perish through misfortune…and he shall take nothing from his labor which he may carry away in his hand. And this also is a sever evil- just exactly as he came, so shall he go.”
Oh the joys and sorrows of working and reaping wages. In verse 8 we are reminded of the injustice rampant in many a workplace. Oppression and cruelty abound in many places where workers aren’t treated well by those for whom they work.
In verse 10 we are reminded one again that some people are never satisfied with their monetary gain. They just want more and more but never find happiness in what they gain. Therefore, they don’t truly want what they get since they never get what they are seeking.
“Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your excuse and destroy the work of your hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.”
Wow. Do I have a habit of sinning because of my mouth? Or do I make frequent excuses for my sin?