Stop for a minute! Can you list some things you think are really “good?” See if you can name a few of them “just off the top of your head.”
I just finished reading Ecclesiastes 7:1-8. The writer of that little book (Solomon, I believe) named some things people usually think of as “good” – but he identifies some things he believed were “better!” He argues that “wisdom” would consider them better. I thought about it as well, and I agree with him! I know that the accusation is that Solomon’s perspective in Ecclesiastes is wisdom “under the sun” – wisdom “this side of heaven.” But I would argue there is “wisdom” to be found there! I would also argue that what Solomon identifies in this passage corresponds with a God-revealed wisdom – wisdom from a “heavenly, eternal perspective, as well. I’d love to comment on each one today, but don’t have the room… But read them over for yourself and see what you think…
“A good name IS BETTER THAN precious ointment,
“And the day of death [is better] than the day of birth.
“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.
“Sorrow IS BETTER THAN laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
“It is BETTER for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise THAN to hear the song of fools. For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; this also is vanity…
“BETTER is the end of a thing THAN its beginning,
“And the patient in spirit is BETTER THAN the proud in spirit.
[And then one more (a bit subtle, I admit) that I identified in this context…]
“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.” Bartel’s paraphrase? Investing in wisdom and knowledge is a BETTER investment and provides greater security THAN pursuing security through wealth.(from Ecclesiastes 7:1-8, 12 ESV)
Me? I want the “BETTER” things… More than that, I want what God considers BEST!