Saturday, September 2, 2023

The House of Mourning (Ecclesiastes 7:1-12)

"Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting" (Eccl. 7:2).

The Preacher tells us that it is better to go into the house of mourning than the house of feasting because there we will come face to face with our destiny: death. He adds that the “living should take this to heart.” The Preacher wisely observed that the more you are reminded of death, the more seriously you will consider your own destiny. Will it be spent in heaven or in hell?

The rise of technology and the progressive influence of modernity on our culture have created a sterilized and sanitized environment. Rarely do our loved ones die in our homes; instead, they slip away in a hospital room where their pain is eased. When they finally go, their bodies are quickly removed and the picture of their dying moments quickly fades from our minds. Obviously, this was not always the case in the history of humanity. Disease control, hospitals on every corner, effective medicine, and “clean” deaths are a modern phenomenon. There was a time not too long ago when loved ones passed away in their own rooms, surrounded by family and friends. Their pain was not eased by drugs, and often their deaths were gruesome, taking its toil on everyone in the home. Death among children was common. It was not unusual for a number of families in one church congregation to have lost at least one child to some disease. Our forebears knew death; they witnessed it in all its terrible facets on almost a daily basis. As a result, they gave serious thought to matters pertaining to eternity.

Who has not attended a funeral without reflecting on their own mortality or thinking about the God they will one day face? Whenever you deal with suffering, pain, and death, you almost instinctively examine your own soul and your own human condition. This is what the Preacher meant about taking the reality of death to heart. He did not have some sadistic preoccupation with death. He simply knew that the more you considered your inevitable end, the more likely you would be to take steps to ensure victory over that final enemy. Only in Christ is death conquered. As you think about your mortality, put your faith in the only One who can clothe you in immortality, raise you into newness of life, conquer death, and give you the inheritance of eternal life.

Read Psalms 23:4; 116:15; Proverbs 14:32; and Philippians 1:21. What must the Christian’s attitude be toward death? When you think about death, does it strengthen your faith or cause you to become fearful? If you are afraid, it might be because your relationship with God is not right. Put your hope in Him and find peace.