Over the past year, I’ve been reading through the Old Testament and simultaneously, through the New Testament along with a Psalm each morning. This past month I have completed the book of Ecclesiastes. I found it to be difficult reading. Some of it I find depressing, some sobering and some fairly joyful. The Preacher does a great job of pointing out all the empty pursuits of our earthly life. Much of it is hard to embrace. How about you?
This was reportedly written by Solomon, a man who became king of Israel, the son of David, who asked God only for wisdom. He lived life to the very fullest, both good and not so good. This man did not live in a cave all his life. His writings are based on what he saw, experienced and judged. One of the most interesting statements he makes is in verse 9 “there is nothing new under the sun.” Ho, hum!! “Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” “All things are wearisome.” “No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.” Lighten up, Preacher man!!
But what’s not to like about this observation? “Eat, drink and be merry.” It is preceded by a statement from his experience that…the righteous get what the wicked deserve and the wicked get what the righteous deserve. So, he commends the enjoyment of life by saying, “there’s nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun”.
And when I reached the final chapter, he ended with this very sobering statement. Interestingly, he actually sums it all up in six words. “Fear God and keep his commandments” (Vs. 13). What? Twelve chapters, mostly negative, and he ends with this profound summation! Surrounding his six word conclusion, he says this. “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:…..for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (12.13-15).
Work hard, expect failures, disappointments, sadness, successes, and joys. But while experiencing all these, handle them with one single mindset—fear God and keep his commandments. For in the long run, everything else is meaningless. We should view our life with the end in mind. For on That Day, God will bring our every thought and action into judgment, whether it’s good or bad. In the meantime, our marching orders are—keep looking up, stay strong in the Lord and be obedient to his word.