We note here a change in the direction Solomon has been going. He has been investigating the source of happiness, contentment, and satisfaction in this natural world using all of the resources at his disposal. As he has searched out each turn on this highway of life under the sun, he has posted warning signs ultimately declaring that no hope of finding these things exists in this life.
At this point, Solomon turned from investigation to instruction. He began a series of proverbs to instruct man in having the best life possible in this world. We will begin learning from him, but realizing most importantly, the conclusion will remain the same – Life without God will never bring man peace or happiness. That being the case, why should we spend our time learning these lessons? We live in a world of men without God. We must be able to share with them that all value in society is based on the Word of God. We can show them through God’s Word, that even doing the best that they can, they fall short of the righteousness of God. The best that a man can be in this world is found in developing the following character traits in life. He should have a –
I. Good name. Ecclesiastes 7:1 His past. Developed throughout life.
The importance of a name is revealed by both a –
A. A bad name. Could you imagine having the name, or naming your child Pontius Pilate?
What emotions are drawn forth when you hear the names of Stalin, Lenin, Hitler…? Names are important!
Men must endeavor to have –
B. A blessed name.
What thoughts come to mind when you hear the name Jesus? What about Moses, Joshua, Barnabas… Wonderful thoughts because these were blessed men!
Note that Solomon declares that a good name is “better than precious ointment…” We gain a better understanding of what he said when we look at how precious ointment was valued – Oil that –
1. Sanctified unto God.
Exodus 30:22-25 Moreover the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. This anointing set apart the priest unto the service of God.
Then there is the oil that –
2. Sanctified one unto another.
Song of Solomon 5:5 I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.
The bride perfumed herself and the room with sweet oil as she opened the door for her groom, her husband to enter it. It represented sweetness and fidelity.
3. Sanctified unto death.
John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
John 12:7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.
This oil was valuable because it covered the stench of death, comforting at the time of separation.
All of these oils were precious as we note in the account of Hezekiah and the Chaldeans –
Isaiah 39:2 And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not.
Solomon declared that men should desire to have a name that that when heard, one would think of faithfulness – faithful to God, faithful in promise, faithful unto death.
The man in this world should have a –
II. Good attitude. Ecclesiastes 7:2-6 His present. Developed day by day
“…and the living will lay it to his heart.”
Visiting in the house of those who have lost a loved one leads one to –
A. Realize the brevity of life.
Psalms 144:4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.
James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
This leads a man to –
B. Reevaluate his purpose in life.
Psalms 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Psalms 39:4-5 LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.
C . Reject the foolishness of life. Ecclesiastes 7:6 “The crackling thorns under a pot…”
The thorns were loud and the fire was bright, but was only a show, flaring up for a moment and then disappearing, not accomplishing any purpose.
Ephesians 5:15-17 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
III. Good outlook. Ecclesiastes 7:7-10 His future.
Based on having a good name and a good attitude, he will be –
A. A man that is pure. Ecclesiastes 7:7 Integrity
B. A man that is patient. Ecclesiastes 7:8,9 Patience
C. A man that is positive Ecclesiastes 7:10 Great expectations for the future.
Not living in the past but changing the future for good.
Men living life under the sun, without embracing God as their Saviour, must remember the statement of the Lord Jesus Christ –
Mark 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
Solomon concluded that man by his own choice has rebelled against God. God created him righteous –
Ecclesiastes 7:29a “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright:”
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
But man chose to disobey God, not only by doing what He commanded them not to do, but turning against all that is righteous in the sight of God, and seeking ways to reject every good thing that God is and that He created!
Ecclesiastes 7:29b “but they have sought out many inventions.”
Paul identified these in his letter to the saints in Rome –
Romans 1:19…: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened…….Being filled with all unrighteousness….. haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things…..Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Men have continued their pursuit of self-satisfaction through sin and degradation in every generation, denying their accountability to God. In doing this, they have proved the truth of God and witnessed against themselves. Notice how men manipulated the truth and said whatever was necessary to accomplish their purpose. Compare –
Matthew 27:22-25 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
…with their statements just a few months later when the apostles had preached the gospel in Jerusalem –
Acts 5:27-28 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
There own words testify against them!
Truly, there are none good, there are none righteous! There is no happiness, peace, joy, contentment in this world under the sun.
The only hope that man has is that they recognize they are sinners in need of a Saviour!
The Holy Spirit led Paul to repeat this truth to us that we might know why we need to be saved –
Romans 3:10-11 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.