Ecclesiastes 7 … Consider His End of the Matter

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, (7:8).

On its face, this chapter seems to be an indictment against the enjoyment of life. Death is better than birth, mourning is better than feasting, sorrow is better than laughter. Geez; but who wants that kind of life? So, is that truly God’s goal for His children? Are we to go about our days downheartedly, never to delight in anything during our brief time in this life?

No, we definitely cannot make a case for that; for there are far too many passages in Scripture that speak of Him leading us into His joy.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever,
(Psalm 16:11).

“For you will go out with joy
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands,
(Isaiah 55:12).

“Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full,” (John 16:24).

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control… (Galatians 5:22-23).

What then is Solomon deducing? Well, right from the beginning of this chapter, he actually discloses his findings of why death, mourning and sorrow are better than life, feasting and laughter.

 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,

Solomon makes his case that while we are living, we are to look beyond the momentary pleasures and joys of this life, and understand that it is better to live with an eternal perspective and take to heart His End of the Matter.

Consider His End of the Matter

  • His End of the Matter will never be undone.
    • Consider the work of God,
      For who is able to straighten what He has bent?
      • “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand,” (John 10:28).
  • His End of the Matter is under His sovereign control.
    • In the day of prosperity be happy,
      But in the day of adversity consider—
      God has made the one as well as the other
      So that man will not discover anything that will be after him,
      • But our God is in the heavens;
        He does whatever He pleases,
        (Psalm 115:3).
  • His End of the Matter will strengthen us with His wisdom.
    • Wisdom strengthens a wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city, (7:19).
      • “for I will give you such words and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict,” (Luke 21:15 HCSB).
  • His End of the Matter declares the reality of man’s sinful condition.
    • Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins, (7:20).
      • for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23).
  • His End of the Matter communicates the mystery of His wisdom.
    •  I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24 What has been is remote and exceedingly mysterious. Who can discover it? (7:23-24).
      • that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ, (Colossians 1:26-28).

How do we respond to His End of the Matter?

This chapter concludes with a tragic, yet truthful, assessment.

Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices,” (7:29).

But if we will take to heart that His End of the Matter is never undone, is under His Sovereign control, and strengthens us in His wisdom as we see the truth of our condition and trust in the mystery of His Wisdom, we will grow to seek out His plans rather than our own inclinations in finding our fulfillment for this life.

Oh, let us turn away from pursuing our own plans for happiness, that in the midst of the distresses of death, mourning and sorrow, we would take to heart His End of the Matter that strengthens us to live every day in faith and hope, as we trust all our times into His hands.

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow
And my years with sighing;
My strength has failed because of my iniquity,
And my body has wasted away…
14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord,
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in Your hand…
(Psalm 31:9-10, 14-15).

Solomon points out the protection we have when we take His truth to heart, that our very lives would be preserved.

 For wisdom is protection just as money is protection,
But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors,

God has provided all that we need to preserve us in Him and to experience His joy. Oh, that we would live ever mindful of His End of the Matter demonstrated in our love and obedience to His commands.

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full,” (John 15:9-11).

(An important side note regarding women from 7:26-28):
     And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her. 27 “Behold, I have discovered this,” says the Preacher, “adding one thing to another to find an explanation, 28 which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these,” (7:26-28).

Solomon understood all too well the consequences of his refusal in taking to heart His End of the Matter, exhibited in his wanton pursuit of searching for fulfillment in women who had only captured and chained his hands in the snare of their nets. This by no means implies that women are in any way inferior to men, but rather it laments this king’s foolishness in seeking his pleasure in the ways of the world rather in the will of God.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever, (1 John 2:15-17).

And perhaps, His End of the Matter is best expressed in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified, (Romans 8:28-30).

Let us remember, we were predestined and called to be conformed to the image of His Son; and our Faithful Father uses all things to bring this to completion in His children, particularly the sufferings, pains and injustices of this world that require us to trust Him to accomplish His purpose.

Oh, let us depend on Him to strengthen and enable us to walk through life by faith in His End of the Matter.

for we walk by faith, not by sight— (2 Corinthians 5:7).

And oh, that we would truly live by faith; for we know we have been justified in Him, and we know the day is coming when we will be glorified with Him, the day when His End of the Matter will fully be revealed.

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is, (1 John 3:2).

For truly we can agree with Solomon; His End of the Matter is better than its beginning!

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, (7:8).

Let’s Grow Together!

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