Better: A Paradox

It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

Ecclesiastes 7:5

The Bible is full of seeming paradoxes and this is one of them.  Worldly wisdom would dictate that it is always better to hear singing and mirth than it is to hear a rebuke.  Singing is usually a mark of happiness and rebuke is never pleasant.  Why would rebuke ever be better than song?

It is not just any rebuke that is better than any song, it is the rebuke of the wise that is better than the song of fools.  As I look around, sometimes I see worldly people having fun and singing and “enjoying life.”  And, sometimes my flesh gets envious of that carefree attitude.  I’m in a daily battle with my flesh and people who don’t even know the Lord are singing their lives away.  But then I have to realize that their singing will not last for eternity, as my song will.  Theirs is the “song of fools.” 

Really, all the fun and folly in the world isn’t going to help anyone at all in the end.  But when you hear and heed the rebuke of a wise man, that will benefit you in the end.  Hearing the rebuke of the wise is better than hearing the song of fools because the rebuke of the wise has eternal value, whereas the song of fools lasts but for a moment.  It’s never easy to listen to rebuke and it’s never easy to accept rebuke.  But we need to remember when we find ourselves being corrected that it will benefit us for all eternity!

7 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks Ben. I’m going to try really hard to remember that! 🙂 And not get all hurt and defensive.


  2. Ben, Very nice post! I always try to remember that God disciplines those He loves, so if I receive the rebuke of a wise person it is because God loves me and wants what is best for me. Not the natural reaction, but it is the Holy Spirit reaction. Peace, Linda.


    • Very true- it’s never the natural reaction, but it is the Holy Spirit reaction. Our natural reaction is always to attempt to justify ourselves, even when we’re wrong. It’s a hard thing to do, but I’ve been trying to work on it lately.


  3. Criticism is a hard thing for most. But the verse is still true. We will benefit if we heed those words.

    Thank goodness it is not all songs that are bad; just the songs of fools. That is good news for us, since we both like hymns so much! 🙂


    • That’s true! I would be in a world of trouble, if all songs were bad! By the way, I love the hymn you had on your blog yesterday. I think I mentioned that hymn in my “about” section. But criticism is always a hard thing for anybody because it tells us that we’re not doing something right, which none of us wants to hear. But, like Linda said, it only happens because the Lord loves us and want us close to Himself. So I’ve been working on just “taking it.”


  4. I want to reply to Deb, too. I need to try, too. My first reaction (at least in my head) is to get hurt and defensive. We can pray for each other! 🙂


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