The Good Old Days
Introduction: Better is the key word from this chapter. Solomon uses it eleven times. He groups his observations together in several different categories worth taking a look and at face value they may seem strange!
1. Sorrow is better than laughter vv.1-4
a. The first part of verse 1 and the last part must go together.
b. He is not saying this time that that it is better to die than to be born. He is making a contrast between two significant days in the human experience. The day you get your name and the day your name shows up in the obituary column.
c. Why do you think he claims that the later is the better one?
d. If a person dies with a good name, his or her reputation is sealed and the family need not worry. In that sense, the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth. The life is over and the reputation is settled. (Solomon assumed that there were no hidden scandals.) “Every man has three names,” says an ancient adage; “one his father and mother gave him, one others call him, and one he acquires himself.”
e. Would you rather go to a party or a funeral?
f. What do you think that Solomon is getting at here? There is more to be learned at a funeral.
g. Like what?
h. People generally don’t give much thought about death!
2. Rebuke is better than praise vv.5-6
a. Would you rather have someone tell you what all is right with you or what all is wrong?
b. What does he picture in the thorns under a pot situation?
c. What is our normal reaction to rebuke?
3. The “hard way is better than the easy way vv.7-9
a. Do you like to take shortcuts?
b. Has a supposed shortcut ever burned you?
c. What might be some of the easy ways that people take today?
d. Remember God has promised to save the best till last. Satan does it just the opposite!
4. Today is better than yesterday v.10
a. Here is one we might all be guilty of from time to time.
b. How many of us have every thought it or said it?
c. What does Solomon think about such a statement?
d. What do you think would be his viewpoint?
e. When were the good old days?
f. When are we tempted to reminisce about them?
g. What would be a more constructive use of our time?
Ecclesiastes 7:1-10 (NASB95)1 A good name is better than a good ointment, And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.
2 It is better to go to a house of mourning Than to go to a house of feasting, Because that is the end of every man, And the living takes it to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter, For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.
4 The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.
5 It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man Than for one to listen to the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorn bushes under a pot, So is the laughter of the fool; And this too is futility.
7 For oppression makes a wise man mad, And a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning; Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.
9 Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, For anger resides in the bosom of fools.
10 Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.
Ecclesiastes 7:1-10 (NCV)1 It is better to have respect than good perfume. The day of death is better than the day of birth.
2 It is better to go to a funeral than to a party. We all must die, and everyone living should think about this.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter, and sadness has a good influence on you.
4 A wise person thinks about death, but a fool thinks only about having a good time.
5 It is better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool.
6 The laughter of fools is like the crackling of thorns in a cooking fire. Both are useless.
7 Even wise people are fools if they let money change their thinking.
8 It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be patient than to be proud.
9 Don’t become angry quickly, because getting angry is foolish.
10 Don’t ask, “Why was life better in the ‘good old days’?” It is not wise to ask such questions.