How important is your name? How are you wanting people to think of you? How do you want people to remember you? How do you want people to receive you? When you show up do people think of what you are bringing or what you are going to take? Are you asking God for wisdom? Are you bringing that wisdom into every situation? Are you asking God for discernment? Are you using that discernment to be able to be able to live a life that glorifies God? Are you being everything that God is asking you to be? Are you staying within the rails that God has set for you to stay in or are you trying to go beyond that and stretching yourself too thin? Will you choose to stick close to God? Will you choose to do what He tells you to do? Will you choose to resist the things that God tells you to resist? How will you choose to live? How will you choose to finish? Will you stand firm? Will you finish the race? Will you finish it strong?
Today’s reading comes to us from Ecclesiastes 7…
The Contrast of Wisdom and Folly
1 A good name is better than precious ointment,
and the day of death than the day of birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
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 for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression drives the wise into madness,
and a bribe corrupts the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the heart of fools.
10 Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who see the sun.
12 For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
13 Consider the work of God:
who can make straight what he has made crooked?
14In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
15In my vain life I have seen everything. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing. 16Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? 17Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 18It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them.
19Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.
20Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
21Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. 22Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.
23All this I have tested by wisdom. I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me. 24That which has been is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out?
25I turned my heart to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the scheme of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness that is madness. 26And I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her. 27Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, while adding one thing to another to find the scheme of things— 28which my soul has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found. 29See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.
Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on literature brings us the topic of Edith Wharton and The House of Mirth. We learn in today’s devotional Edith Wharton was an american writer who took the title of her 1905 novel from Ecclesiastes 7:4 which reads:
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. —Ecclesiastes 7:4
which warns us against falling victim to light-heartedness · levity · joking · jocularity · gaiety · fun · frivolousness · silliness · foolishness · zaniness · giddiness · flightiness · skittishness · flippancy · facetiousness· inanity · superficiality · shallowness · vacuity · empty-headedness · dizziness · dippiness · daftness · ditziness and satisfaction · satisfying · gratification · gratifying · fulfillment · fulfilling · satiation · appeasement · assuagement · quenching · slaking · accommodation · self-gratification · self-indulgence · overindulgence · overconsumption · intemperance · immoderation · immoderateness · dissipation · dissolution · dissoluteness · debauchery · excess · excessiveness · lack of restraint · prodigality · extravagance· decadence · pleasure-seeking · wantonness · lack of self-control · sybaritism · pampering · coddling · mollycoddling · cosseting · babying · mothering · nannying · spoiling · humoring · catering to someone’s every whim · partiality and tolerance · forbearance · humanity · compassion · kindness · understanding · sympathy · liberalness · liberality · forgiveness · leniency · lenience · clemency · mercy · mercifulness and extravagance · luxury · treat · comfort · nonessential · extra · frill. We learn about the heroine of the novel Lily Bart who lives in New York city and is a beautiful young lady. We learn about her impoverished upbringing even though she is well raised and well educated. With a past of poverty she is desiring to marry into wealth. Some things as much as they change seem to stay the same as she tries to navigate a society in which there is moral corruption and class warfare or awareness. Today’s devotional closes with an interesting quote from Wharton’s pastor even though this book was a commercial success and solidified her position as a writer when he said
the book was terrible but “just arraignment of the social misconduct which begins in folly and ends in moral and spiritual death.”
So what is your motivation? What is your guiding light? What is keeping you on the right track? What is your purpose? What is your plan? What is your goal? How is that going for you?
For those who prayed this for the first time or as a recommitment to God, I celebrate with the angels in heaven that you made the greatest decision of your life. Will you leave a comment so that I know and pray for you? Will you leave a comment or question so we can have a conversation? Look for a local church that is a Bible believing, Bible preaching church that will be able to come alongside you and help you in this journey called life.
I lift up this day to You and ask Lord for Your help to not be tempted or led away from the purpose and the plans You have for me and my life, my family, and my legacy. Help me Lord to focus on the here and now with a realization of the impact it will have on the future of both my family, my friends, and all those You bring across my path. Help me Lord I pray to live my life with boldness and courage to accomplish everything that You call me to do. Help me Lord to resists the lies, the distractions, and the temptations of the devil that take me off course so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.