Ecclesiastes 7: Why sorrow is better than laughter

It’s been too long! A project has been taking much of my time and it’s so nice to be back typing away for something I love – writing to encourage! I do hope that’s what these posts are doing and appreciate every eye that lands here.

So let’s continue in Ecclesiastes! This book has really shaped my outlook and has sobered up some tendencies of my thoughts. The Lord shared with me that He told me to do a study on this book, mostly for me; to continue to be a foundation for future endeavors. Isn’t that so, the love of God? We think we’re doing great things for Him and we’re really doing great things for Him, for our benefit and secondly for others.

The seventh chapter talks about some “better than” scenarios. Have you read it, yet? If not, here it is!

What verse or verses stuck out to you? What made you think of some areas of your life?

I was intrigued by verse 3…

“Sorrow is better than laughter, for when a face is sad a heart may be happy.”

I love joy. I love seeing it in others, I love using words that express joy and I love the development of joy through freedom. So explain to me, Solomon, why sorrow is better than laughter? Because I equate laughter with joy, don’t you?

Turns out when Solomon wrote this verse, he didn’t mean what we think it means. Let’s dive into some Hebrew! Yay!

sorrow
-כַּעַס or ka’ac (pronounced ka-as)
-of all the books that use it, Ecclesiastes uses it the most
-means “vexation” or “grief”
-“vexation”: the state of being annoyed, frustrated, or worried

laughter
-שְׂחוֹק or sechowq (pronounced sek-oke)
-literally means laughter that is joyful or hollow
-also can mean to be a laughter that’s in jest or scorn

So basically, this is describing a position in life, where it’s better to have a serious outlook in life, rather than filling ones time with empty entertainment.

When it says that “when a face is sad, a heart may be happy”, the word “sad” there means “sad in appearance” and “happy” there means “to be merry, joyful”.

Solomon isn’t telling us it’s better to be sad and that laughter and joy should be shunned. On the contrary! He’s telling us to fill our lives with things that make us think, contemplate, reflect instead of things that just entertain us for the moment. He saying that looking at life a little seriously makes our heart so happy because we’re not full of empty pursuits.

Are there some things in your life that are just time-fillers? Things that are mindless entertainment? What would happen if you replaced those things with reading a new book about holiness? Or reading through the prayer needs list in your church bulletin to become aware of the needs and praying for them? What about some conversations we find ourselves in or jokes we find ourselves telling, that don’t really mean anything. What if we asked one meaningful question to the person or people God brings in our paths this week and weekend? I know I’m challenged enough by those suggestions!

Do you mind if we pray together, to close this challenge to our character? If you said “yes”, then you should close up this post, ha ha, because I really want to pray. I love it!

“Dear Jesus, thank You for this time of studying your Word. We pray that as we continue, You would show us choices we’ve been making that are not bearing fruit that would be a blessing to You, to us, and to others. You are our joy and we pray that though our face appear sad, our hearts will be happy, for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name we pray, amen.

With joy,

Jessica

 

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