Lesson 6Ecclesiastes 7:1-29
In this lesson’s study, Solomon again turns his attention to wisdom, and we can see through this study some of the practical side of applying the wisdom which Solomon examines: the value of a good name; and the difference between a truly wise person--and someone who believes that they are wise, but in fact, are not.
As we look at the challenges facing us in the world today, whether it is the environment, healthcare, education, or conflicts around the world, we need wise leaders. We need a source of strength, conviction, and determination that only a wise and righteous leader can bring. We need Christ and His wisdom in our lives and in the lives of those whom we depend on as leaders.
Let’s read chapter seven and consider the following:
- As Solomon begins his discussion of wisdom, what is the first thing he cites as "good" in Verse 1 of Chapter 7?
- What are the characteristics, values, and/or behaviors that we associate with having a "good name"?
- What effect does the quality of a family name have on our children or the children of others?
- Based on our responses above, could we argue that perhaps one of the things missing from our global leadership is a good name, and, if so, why is that? Relatedly, why is the lack of having a "good name" also one of the impediments to being a good leader?
- In verses two through four, Solomon refers to death in what many may find a strange way. Why does Solomon say the day of death is better than the day of birth? (see also 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 and Philippians 1:21-23)
- Why does Solomon say that "sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart"?
- What does our sorrow indicate to others?
- What does Solomon mean when he writes "The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure"? (see also Romans 12:9-16)
- Solomon continues with his analysis of the fool versus the wise man. What does he tells us in Verse 7 that rings true today, and is thus a warning to us of a trap we should not fall into? Have we seen this happen to people around us whom we held in high regard? Does it destroy or damage our confidence in people and institutions when we see it happen?
- James tells us we are to be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19). What does Solomon tell us in Verses 8 and 9?
- In Verse 10, Solomon makes an interesting statement. Are you the person he is referring to, or have you ever done this? Do you know of people who do this? What is wrong with it?
- In verses 11-14, Solomon tells us more about the virtues of wisdom and about the futility of worrying over things that we have no control over. Do you think that many of us spend too much time trying to do exactly what Solomon tells us not to do in verse 14? Were Christ’s disciples doing this as well?
- In verses 15-18, Solomon looks at extremes: wisdom versus folly, righteousness versus the unrighteousness. How could we paraphrase verse 15 in order to make it applicable today? Perhaps you have even heard sermons on this subject. How does Matthew 5:44-45 apply here?
- During the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, who would have qualified as a group of people trying to do what Solomon says not to do in verse 16?
- Solomon really provides us with a key precept for living in verse 18. Compare what Solomon writes here with what he wrote in Proverbs 2:1-6. What is he teaching us?
- Compare Romans 3:23 with Ecclesiastes 7:19. What do they tell us?
- Wrapping up his study of the wise man versus the foolish man, Solomon arrives at a final conclusion in verse 29. What is it?
Let’s commit to focus on living a life that is driven by a quest for God’s wisdom. Let’s commit that more and more, we will come to depend on Christ for all that we are and do. And let’s begin to hold ourselves, our families, and our leaders accountable for their actions as well, striving always to live a life pleasing to God—a life that is a living testimony that Christ is alive in us.