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.
Why do bad things happen to good people? Solomon realized the bad things in life are not necessarily bad–it is all a matter of perspective. Yesterday we saw four “bad” things in Ecclesiastes 7 that Solomon said are actually good; today we are going to look at three more.
First, “it is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man than for one to listen to the song of fools” (v. 5). Wouldn’t you love to live your life from this point on without any criticism? If so, here is the formula for avoiding criticism: say nothing, do nothing, be nothing. But anybody who wants to make progress in life or accomplish something meaningful is going to be criticized. And Solomon was saying you are going to learn more through criticisms than through compliments.
Second, “the end of a matter is better than its beginning” (v. 8). Have you heard an older person say, “I wish I were young again”? Do not do that, Solomon said. Right now you are at a place where you have accumulated wisdom and experience. He continued in verse 10, “Do not say, ‘Why is it that the former days were better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.” Do you know people who are always longing for the good old days? Let me share a secret with you: the good old days really were not that good. Solomon said it is not a wise thing to long for the past. Where you are right now is the best place you could be.
Third, “patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit” (v. 8). The source of all the impatience we feel is pride. We think we ought to have things go our way, on our timetable. And when our plans do not work out or people do not operate according to our timetable, we get impatient–and ultimately, we get angry. That is why Solomon went on to say in verse 9, “Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools.” Patience is better than soaring pride.
Solomon continued in verses 13-14, “Consider the work of God, for who is able to straighten what He has bent? 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.” We do not question God when good things happen to us. Why should we question Him when He allows adversity in our lives? Both good things and adversity are tools God uses to accomplish His purpose in our lives. And God has so constructed His plan for our lives that we cannot understand it apart from Him.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Why Good Things Happen To Bad People” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.