We would do well to live in a way that we are spoken of positively by others, “a good name”, moreso than if we quantify ourselves by our accomplishments. Be a good person vs. doing good things in action only. We were all born into a world of sin, and for those who follow the Lord, the day of our death is a release into the heavenly arms of God. I, like many, struggle with negative thoughts about others, and need to make sure that I continue to pray about these things lest they show themselves on the surface and do a disservice to the Lord. I need to watch that what I do, how I act, and what I say is glorifying to God, and this all starts with where my heart is, and what I am thinking of.
Wisdom is a benefit to living men, it can act as a shelter and protector to us, it preserves life, and is made more beneficial with wealth than without. We need to use these gifts of wealth and wisdom properly though, to help ourselves and others, and to glorify the Lord. The Lord has been blessing me day after day over the past year in so many ways. He has helped provide financially when I have needed help, and I want to make sure I am being a good steward of that gifting. I need to ensure I am using it to help others and glorify the Lord, as well as being able to enjoy these gifts and ease my own burdens that I had initially prayed help for. We are told in the Word that God will provide for us if we honour Him in His provision (Prov. 3:9-10). And that when we give freely He will provide more to us in that generosity, but if we withhold, we will lose in that greed. (Prov 11:24-25). In this we must keep the right motivations when stewarding those gifts, and free our hearts from greed to better help others.
God has His own purpose in each of our lives that we may not see or understand, in both the good times and difficult times we need to remember that God’s sovereign hand is controlling all. When I am blessed with a joyful day, it is of the Lord, when I struggle through a bad day, I have to remember to find the Lord’s blessings in that day, because He has me on a path to do His will, and some of those days may not be the easiest, but I can trust that it will be in His ultimate plan for me.
None of us are without sin, only Jesus was able to go through life here on earth and remain blameless. Those that are wise in the Lord are able to see their own failings and need for Christ and the salvation his death gives us. This wisdom we can gain through study of God’s word, and it does us more benefit (strengthens us) than any sort of earthly reward. These passages all seem to be reinforcing the limitations of humankind, our understanding, our inherent faults. This all points towards our need for Jesus as our saviour. Men and women have been corrupted by the fall, though God made us upright, and blameless, we are now filled with the curse of sin because of the choices made after our creation. (Adam and Eve’s desire for wisdom outside of God and eating the fruit to gain it). Knowing my own limitations by understanding the sin in my life can help me to take responsibility for the actions I take.
1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. 2 It is 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 lay it to his heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. 6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart. 8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. 10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this. 11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun. 12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it. 13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked? 14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him. 15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. 16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? 17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time? 18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all. 19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city. 20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. 21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: 22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others. 23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. 24 That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out? 25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness: 26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her. 27 Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account: 28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found. 29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.