Ecclesiastes 7:8-18

 

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. 10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. 11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun. 12 Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it. 13 Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?    14 When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future. 15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness, and the wicked living long in their wickedness. 16 Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise— why destroy yourself?
17 Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool— why die before your time? 18 It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.

 


 

Monday

The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
    and patience is better than pride.
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,
    for anger resides in the lap of fools.

Do you struggle with pride or anger? In my life, I have certainly struggled with both of these emotions at some point. I hate asking for help and I may have been known to react before thinking. Scripture is clear that we should run from anger. We should be slow to anger (Proverbs 14:29), refrain from anger (Psalm 37:8), and not let the sun go down on our anger (Ephesians 4:26). Here, the teacher states anger resides in the lap of fools. No one wants to be known as a fool! Next time you start to feel anger rising within you, take a moment to catch your breath, count to 10, and be patient with the situation.


 

Tuesday

10 Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?”
    For it is not wise to ask such questions.

My granny often says, “ah, the good old days were the best days”. Have you ever heard someone say this (or said it yourself)?! I admit that I have. I can find myself reflecting on times that appeared easier and simpler. All the challenges you faced can be easily forgotten when you have come out the other side. Here, the writer is telling us not ask the why times were better. Why could he be saying this? Do you ever find yourself being stuck in the past or wanting to go back there? Could this limit how you experience the present time you find yourself in? When we have the chance to reflect, we can find ourselves looking back through rose-tinted glasses. It is easy to forget the moments that were full of struggle and pain once we have come through the other side. Next time you find yourself looking back, why not take a minute and write down one good thing that is currently happening in your life.


 

Wednesday

11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing
    and benefits those who see the sun.
12 Wisdom is a shelter
    as money is a shelter,
but the advantage of knowledge is this:
    Wisdom preserves those who have it.

Do you feel like you have wisdom to share with others? The writer here states that wisdom is a good thing and that wisdom should benefit everyone. When people receive an inheritance, it tends to add value to their life. This is what wisdom should do – add value to your life. However, wisdom from others can often be difficult to accept if you do not agree with their knowledge.

In the New Testament, James 1:5 says,

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Where do you look to in order to gain wisdom? Do you ask God to increase your wisdom? It can be so easy to look elsewhere for answers and trust we can do it alone. However, it is clear from the text that wisdom is not something to be scared of. Is there someone you can learn from, who you can trust to help you grow as a person? Having wisdom creates security, just as money provides shelter. When facing challenges, remember that what you have learned from experience has the ability to help you through it. Knowing gives you the advantage!


 

Thursday

13 Consider what God has done:

Who can straighten
    what he has made crooked?
14 When times are good, be happy;
    but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
    as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
    anything about their future.

I think we can all agree that when life is going well it feels good. We see the beauty in things, we walk around with a smile on our face, and we can’t help but exude happiness. It is easy in this moment to trust in God and thrive in our relationship with him! However, when we face adversity and challenge we start to panic. We can start to lose our trust in God and the security of our relationship. We can struggle to see the purpose in what is happening. Can you think of a moment in your life when you have been extremely happy and then something has gone wrong and it feels like your world is crashing down? Do you believe God could be in control of the good times and bad times in your life?


 

Friday

15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these:

the righteous perishing in their righteousness,
    and the wicked living long in their wickedness.
16 Do not be overrighteous,
    neither be overwise—
    why destroy yourself?
17 Do not be overwicked,
    and do not be a fool—
    why die before your time?
18 It is good to grasp the one
    and not let go of the other.
    Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.

We finish our verses for the week with the writer talking about two types of people. Ones who are over- righteousness and ones who are over-wicked. We see a warning not to be like this. So what kind of person should you be? One who fears God! Imagine living a life always being in awe of God and who he is! Does this seem a challenge to you?

Proverbs 9:10 says

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

So where should we start? Seek after God and learn from him. Try not to fall into the trap of thinking ‘you always know best’. Who do you go to for wisdom? Remember to look to those around you and be open to the wisdom they will share. I pray that as you allow God to move in your life and listen to the wisdom people have shared with you that your knowledge of the Lord will increase.


 

Saturday

James 1:2-8

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.


 

Sunday

James 1:9-12

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.