Sorrow Is Better than Laughter

Reading the Word

Ecclesiastes 7:1–6 (ESV)
1 A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth.
2 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.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; this also is vanity.

Understanding and Applying the Word

We all want to live lives of comfort, ease, and happiness. Why does Solomon tell us that it is better to mourn than feast? Why does he tell us that sorrow is better than laughter? And why does he say that the heart of the wise is in the house of morning rather than the house of mirth?

The greatest lessons of life are learned in the struggles and difficulties. When things are going well, we hardly stop to consider the deeper matters of life. We do not ask what life is about or what the most important things in life are when we are laughing and having fun and it seems like things will continue on forever as they are. It is when our world is falling apart that we think long and hard about life. It is through sorrow and tears that we search for answers to life’s most important questions. The wise stop to consider these things and make sure they are focused on what is right and good and lasting. The fool, by contrast, seeks only pleasure.

**If you enjoy reading Shaped by the Word, please consider sharing this post on social media. Doing so helps us reach a larger audience. Thanks for reading!

Follow Shaped by the Word on WordPress or Facebook.

The Word Gives Life

close up of paper against black background

Photo by John-Mark Smith on


Reading the Word

Psalm 119:25–32 (ESV)

25 My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! 26 When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes! 27 Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works. 28 My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! 29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law! 30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me. 31 I cling to your testimonies, O Lord; let me not be put to shame! 32 I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!

Understanding and Applying the Word

The psalmist reflects on great sorrow as he states, “My soul clings to the dust,” and “My soul melts away for sorrow.” What is the remedy for such emotional pain? The word of God! It strengthens and gives life.

We need the word of God. It is not just something that is nice to have nor is it something that we read just to gather interesting information. It is living and breathing. It works in our hearts and minds to transform us into new people. The word of God is essential to the believer if we are to live with an accurate understanding of the world around us. Let us not despair, but let us turn to the word and find hope and life.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

I Cry Out Day and Night before You

greyscale photography of woman wearing long sleeved top

Photo by Kat Jayne on


Reading the Word

Psalm 88:1–9 (ESV)

1 O Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out day and night before you. 2 Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! 3 For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. 4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, 5 like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand. 6 You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep. 7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah 8 You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them. I am shut in so that I cannot escape; 9 my eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O Lord; I spread out my hands to you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses record the words of one who is in great despair. As he calls out, he tells God that his soul is full of troubles, he has no strength, he feels cut off from God, and he is sorrowful. As we read the words it is easy to get a sense of the writer’s pain.

Sometimes we may feel like if we share some of the same feelings and emotions that this psalmist writes about, that there is something wrong with us. After all, Christians should never feel that way. We should always be happy. It does not matter what circumstances you are facing.

If you have ever felt guilty for feeling sorrowful or troubled, this psalm may be a great encouragement to you. These verses teach us that such feelings are normal for the people of God and that we can go to God and tell him how we feel. We can cast our burdens on the Lord because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!