Introduction: When is the last time you took a good, hard look at
your life? I’ve just about finished a book about a middle-aged man
who essentially looked at his life and tossed out a great deal of it.
Funerals tend to make us look at our life. So does a series illness.
Solomon invites us this week to look carefully at our life and
consider what we see. Let’s jump into our lesson!

  1. A Good Name

    1. Read Ecclesiastes 7:1. What is good about perfume and a
      good name? (They attract people to you.)

      1. How easy is it to put on fine perfume?

      2. How easy is it to acquire a good name?

        1. Why is a good name better than fine perfume? (It
          is the work of a life-time.)

        2. How many sins (or mistakes) does it take to ruin
          your name?

    2. Let’s skip down to Ecclesiastes 7:20 and read it. If
      everyone sins, how do you acquire and protect that good

    3. Read Ecclesiastes 7:2. What do you and Solomon notice
      about funerals? (When you are looking at your dead friend
      or relative, or when you are looking at the hole in the
      ground, it hits you that this is your destiny.)

      1. What is good about that? What is superior about the
        house of mourning than the house of feasting? (If you
        seriously consider your life, you are less likely to
        make the mistake that will ruin your life and your

  2. A Good Life

    1. Read Ecclesiastes 7:8. Would you rather be young or be

      1. If, as I expect, you answer “I’d rather be young,”
        then how can Solomon be right in saying the end of a
        matter is better than its beginning? (At the end of
        your life, at the end of a story, you know how things
        worked out.)

      2. My father’s death and funeral were a very sad time
        for me. It was the first time any close relative had
        died. I remember that amid all of that sadness, one
        thought gave me relief. I thought that now I could
        never disappoint my father. That had been a very big
        goal in my life, and now that the final bell on earth
        had rung, this challenge in my life was over.

      3. Why is patience better than pride? (Read Proverbs
        13:10. Patience helps to get things done. Pride does

    2. Read Ecclesiastes 7:10. I think of the saying that if we
      forget history, we are destined to repeat our old
      mistakes. Does this contradict Ecclesiastes 7:10?

      1. There was a time in my life, in the late 60’s and
        early 70’s when clearly the “old days” were better.
        Cars were better in the early 60’s than the late 60’s
        and early 70’s. Interest rates were up in the late
        70’s. People who had central heating were going back
        to heating their homes with wood stoves. I know back
        then I thought and said things were better in the old
        days. What is wrong with that? (We need to be careful
        about making such statements. Time may have erased
        from our memories some of the difficulties of the
        past. Plus, how do such statements help us now?)

    3. Read Ecclesiastes 7:11-12. Would you like to inherit a lot
      of money?

      1. If so, why?

      2. Solomon equates wisdom with inheriting money. Why are
        they similar?

      3. Why would wisdom help protect your stuff and your
        life? (When I was a kid, I used to see a postcard
        that said, “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?”
        The assumption is that being smart should help you to
        become rich. Solomon says that these are equivalent
        blessings. Just as money can protect you from some of
        the adversities of life, so can wisdom.)

      4. How are inheriting a lot of money and wisdom
        dissimilar? (You have little control over what you
        inherit. On the other hand, you can learn wisdom from
        the Bible.)

    4. Read Ecclesiastes 7:13-14. Is this trust or resignation?

    5. Read Ecclesiastes 7:15. Is there a connection between
      righteous living and living well? (Solomon says good and
      bad times arrive, the best thing to do is enjoy the good
      times when they come because your righteousness may not
      guarantee you a good life.)

      1. Would you agree with Solomon? At least, would you
        agree this side of heaven? (A consistent problem with
        Ecclesiastes is that Solomon appears to leave heaven
        out of the picture until he gets to the end of the

      2. Read Romans 8:18. How does Paul see this issue?

    6. Read Ecclesiastes 7:16-18. Barry Goldwater (a prominent
      American politician) famously said, “Extremism in the
      defense of liberty is no vice.” Can you be too righteous?
      Can you be too wise?

      1. When Solomon says “it is good to grasp the one and
        not let go of the other” does he mean it is good to
        grasp righteousness and not let go of wickedness?

        1. If so, how would you reconcile that thought with
          Matthew 5:48 where Jesus tells us to be perfect
          as our heavenly Father is perfect? (The
          commentary, Be Satisfied, interprets these
          verses in Ecclesiastes as warning us against
          self-righteousness and pride. Don’t think you
          are too righteous or too wise.)

    1. Read Ecclesiastes 7:21-22. Are you interested in what
      other people have to say about you?

      1. Have you overheard someone saying something bad about

      2. Do you ever say bad things about good people who you

        1. If you have, what is Solomon’s advice to you?
          (You should shrug off some negative comment
          about you because you know you have made
          negative comments about other good people.)

    2. Read Ecclesiastes 7:26. In what situation could a woman be
      a snare?

      1. What is the downside to such a relationship? (It
        hurts you more than death.)

      2. What does it mean that her hands are chains and her
        heart a trap? (Inappropriate love takes you places
        you do not want to go. It binds you.)

      3. What is the solution to this? (Escape!)

        1. How can you escape? (The sinner does not escape,
          but the person who desires to please God can

  1. Gender Revolt

    1. Read Ecclesiastes 7:27-28 and tell me what the smartest
      man who ever lived discovered?

      1. Ladies, should we just burn this book? Or, is there a
        reasonable explanation for Solomon’s statements?

      2. Guys, my bet is that there are less than a thousand
        men in your Bible study class, so I should hear some
        complaining from you too, right? (This lesson goes to
        about 26,000 people each week. If they were all men
        (they obviously are not all men), Solomon would say
        that about 26 are righteous. Pretty poor odds, if you
        ask me.)

      3. Is this just what you are likely to hear from a man
        with a 1,000 wives ( 1 Kings 11:3) who led him astray?

        1. Read what Solomon said about a wife in Proverbs
          12:4. Was he just having a bad day when he wrote
          Ecclesiastes 7:27? (Solomon is telling us that
          very few people are righteous – regardless of

    2. Read Ecclesiastes 7:29. What is Solomon trying to teach us
      about our life? (Realize that you are not perfect. Only
      God has the ability to make us what we should be.)

    1. Friend, have you examined your life? If you have, no doubt
      you have seen your character defects. Jesus offers to
      cover your imperfect character which His perfect character
      (see Hebrews 7:26-28). Isn’t it about time you accepted
      that offer?

  1. Next Week: Seeing Through a Glass Darkly.