Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ecclesiastes, chapter 12, comments: the whole duty of mankind

1 ¶  Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 2  While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: 3  In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, 4  And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; 5  Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: 6  Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7  Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Solomon concludes as he continues with a discussion of old age. He implores the young reader to think about God in their youth before the, “evil,” days come and life loses so much of its pleasure. Before the glories of the heavens grow dim and the light of the intellect grows dark, that is the time to think on your Creator. Before every trouble that comes upon you is followed by another as quickly as the first ends, think on God. As in his Proverbs, Solomon constantly tries to alert the young person to his need for God and the emptiness of the things of this earth that he or she is taught to hold in high esteem.

Luke 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

The young person needs to always remember;

1John 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

In poetic language Solomon describes the issues of growing old with arms and legs weakening, losing teeth, eyesight dimming, loss of hearing, being forced to arise early in the morning, not able to enjoy music as we once did, fear of heights, gray hair, loss of strength and sexual desire, all because man or woman is preparing to go to their grave, their, “long home.”

Then, we shall be broken like a piece of pottery, like piece of machinery, or even a valuable treasure that cannot be repaired. To the dust our bodies return and God recalls the spirit that He gave us.

Genesis 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Genesis 18:27  And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes…

    8 ¶  Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. 9  And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10  The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. 11  The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12  And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

All of this short life passes away very quickly. No matter what you are going through right now, when you are old it will seem like it has been a very short time. There are no do-overs in life, is no rewind button. Solomon desires that a young person live a life knowing what’s important, not a life of regrets and sadness over what is past. He has spent this little book trying to warn people from the very mistakes he made himself. Some of it may not seem to apply to us. We aren’t temporal kings sitting on the throne of a kingdom dedicated to God. But, most of it does apply to us directly because whether we are a king or a pauper, a president or a peasant, life holds the same frustrations and can hold the same emptiness if we do not hold what is of value.

Solomon mentions his Proverbs which you should study. He insists that what he wrote was the truth and had value. Wise words prompt us to do right, words spoken as sure nails driven by Pastors in teaching and exhorting, all drawing from Christ. Solomon points out that, even in 1,000 BC there were many books published, no end to them as in our time, and mostly what they provide is an endless loop of looking for something you cannot find. True knowledge is found only in God and in His word.

    13 ¶  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

So, for Solomon there is a conclusion. Fear God. Fear of God is awe (Psalm 33:8), honor (Malachi 1:6), humility (Proverbs 22:4), reverence (Hebrews 12:28), and it can be terror and dread if you reject His sovereignty over your life (Isaiah 8:13). I’m sure you can find other definitions within the pages of the Bible.

Keep God’s commandments. For Christ, who is God in the flesh and by whom which are saved, has given us the standards we are to live by, standards which only He can place in our heart;

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

A Christian should regularly read and reflect on the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew, on Paul’s admonitions in Romans 12 and 1 Thessalonians 5, on 1Corinthians 13, and on the entire Bible in context, understanding to whom a particular passage was written, and praying that the Holy Ghost would guide you in how to apply it to yourself.

God is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king, all three branches of government; our judicial, our legislative, and our executive. Salvation is found only in Him.

Isaiah 33:22  For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.

If you are not now a Christian, understand, it is the duty of every man and woman on earth to obey God who walked in the flesh on earth as Jesus, the messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, by trusting in Him and His righteousness alone for eternal life. You will be judged by that decision.

John 6:28  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 

29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

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