The conclusion: Fear God!
Scripture reading for July 15th: Ecclesiastes 7-12
This quest of Solomon to find meaning is played out every day in our world. People are going to and fro seeking pleasure, wisdom, meaning and purpose in life under the sun. They are trying wine, women, sports, building, materialism, and fame to find happiness and fulfillment. Many are laughing and appearing to have fun, but it is shallow and meaningless. Many are in bondage to sins of the flesh and are miserable. They go from one form of bondage to another looking for that elusive fulfillment that can only be found in God Himself!
Solomon tells us that the day of death is better than the day of birth. Death takes away every man and their works will stand judgment. Being mindful of this should give us motivation for righteous living here and now. There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right all the time and never sins. (Ecclesiastes 7:10; Romans 3:23) Solomon found that God had made men upright, but that men in their folly had gone in search of many schemes! (Ecclesiastes 7:29) How true of man throughout history and today!
No man knows when the hour of his end will come. Things don’t always turn out according to a movie script where the good guy wins and the evil person is destroyed! “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11) No one really knows the future or what it holds. Accidents can come suddenly and death can snatch us from this life without warning! “As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.” (Ecclesiastes 9:12)
“The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails–given by one Shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of the making of many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; her is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or bad.” Ecclesiastes 12:11-13
Solomon concludes his book with a simple warning. Let the fear of the Lord and obedience to His commands drive your life. It is the beginning of all wisdom and wise living. Don’t try and add to God’s words but simply obey what is written! In the end, God will judge each person for what he has done! These are wise words to be pondered and applied!