The Contrast of Wisdom And Folly

Business destroys relationships. It substitutes shallow frenzy for deep friendship. It feeds the ego but starves the inner man. It fills a calendar but fractures a family. It cultivates a program that plows under priorities. Many a church boasts about its active program: “So … More


The theme of this passage is getting our priorities sorted out correctly. Once we have objectives we want to accomplish we must identify the priorities for reaching them.

There are five basic contrasts relating to priorities in the first fourteen verses of this chapter:

l. The contrast between reputation and riches - “A good name is better than fine perfume” (v. 1). The kind of credibility you have, whether people believe in you and trust your word is more important than money. In other words reputation has priority over riches.    

2. The contrast between mourning and feasting - “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting (v.2). The author is saying that death teaches us more than life.  Death brings us face to face with reality.

3. The contrast between sorrow and laughter - “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure” (vv. 3-4).  Sorrow is better than laughter for the same reason that death is more important than life, because it makes us face the facts.

4. The contrast between praise and rebuke - “It is better to heed a wise man’s rebuke than to listen to the song of fools” (v. 5, 6).  If a fool offers you praise, you are getting nowhere, but if a wise man rebukes you and you listen you could be a better person for it.

5. The contrast between adversity and prosperity - “God has made the one time as well as the other” (vv. 7-14).  They both bring many temptations (vv. 7-9). They also cause people to live like a fool (vv. 10-14).


I need to see my struggles in this life as great opportunities to learn from God.

Ecclesiastes 7:1-14 (English Standard Version)

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