Thursday, November 30, 2017
Daily reading assignment – Ecclesiastes 11-12
Our Scripture reading in the book of Ecclesiastes concludes today with chapters 11–12. While the book of Proverbs chronicles Solomon’s sage instructions for a son that would one day be king, the book of Ecclesiastes reflects the pondering of that same man facing the inevitable conclusion of his earthly life — the frailty of old age and death.
Solomon’s reflections on life began with the observation, “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) and concludes with the same, “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 12:8).
Empty, vain, unsatisfactory, meaningless, hopeless, and worthless… What a sad commentary on life from a man born into privilege, power, and unimaginable wealth! What might we learn from such a man? What words of wisdom can we glean from such a one?
Author Warren Wiersbe suggests “four pictures of life” and for “each picture a practical admonition” found in Ecclesiastes 11-12. (1)
- Life is an ADVENTURE—live by faith (11:1-6)
- Life is a GIFT—enjoy it (11:7-12:8)
- Life is a SCHOOL—learn your lessons (12:9-12)
- Life is a STEWARDSHIP—fear God (12:13-14)
For the sake of brevity in today’s devotional commentary, I invite you to consider three exhortations from King Solomon: Rejoice (11:9-10); Remember (12:1); and Revere (12:13-14).
Rejoice in your youth, but know God will be your Judge (11:9-10)
Ecclesiastes 11:9-10 – Rejoice [Be Glad; Joyful], O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. 10 Therefore remove [depart] sorrow [anger; wrath] from thy heart, and put away [do away; remove] evil [sin; wickedness] from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.
Remember thy Creator while you are young (12:1)
Ecclesiastes 12:1 – Remember now [Think of; have respect of] thy Creator in the days [years] of thy youth, while the evil days [adversity; troubles; distresses] come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure [delight; desire] in them;
Revere God, Keep His Commandments and Be Ready for His Judgment (12:13-14)
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 – Let us hear [Listen; obey; publish] the conclusion [end] of the whole matter [account; speaking]: Fear [Revere] God, and keep [observe] His commandments [Laws; Precepts]: for this is the whole duty [purpose] of man.
14 For God shall bring every work [act; deed] into judgment, with every secret thing [hidden; concealed], whether it be good [right], or whether it be evil [sin; wickedness].
“Vanity of vanities”; what a tragic summation of a man’s life…empty and meaningless! To his credit, Solomon was not silent regarding the sorrows he bore as a result of sinful choices. He warned and exhorted the generations that would follow… Rejoice in your youth…Remember your Creator and His Commandments…and Revere the LORD knowing He will “bring every work into judgment” (12:14).
Many reading this devotional commentary remember the joys and carefree years of their youth with fondness and universally wish they had made better choices. Let us not be silent and watch our children and grandchildren take paths that we, like Solomon, can testify, “all is vanity” apart from the LORD!
I close with an admonition to youthful readers: If not guided by spiritual principles, youth squander their lives on sinful dissipations that inevitably leave them with sorrow laden souls and lives shadowed by regret.
Enjoy your youth, remember your Creator, but know this, “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
(1) Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) – Old Testament – The Bible Exposition Commentary – Wisdom and Poetry.
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith