Scripture Reading – Ecclesiastes 7-12
Today’s Scripture reading covers the latter half of the book of Ecclesiastes; however, my devotional commentary will focus on the closing chapters, Ecclesiastes 11-12.
While the book of Proverbs chronicles Solomon’s wise instructions for a son that would one day be king, the book of Ecclesiastes reflects the pondering of that same man facing the inevitable close of his earthly life–the frailty of old age and death.
Solomon’s reflections on his earthly sojourn began with the observation, “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). He 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 tragic commentary on life from a man born into privilege, power, and wealth! What might we learn from such a man? What words of wisdom can we glean from one deemed so wise, with so much to say?
For the sake of brevity, 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 your 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 summary of a man’s life if his life is empty and meaningless!
To his credit, Solomon was not silent regarding the sorrows and joys of this life. 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).
A closing exhortation to youthful readers: Adopt spiritual principles that will guide you to paths of righteousness, and avoid the ways of the foolish who squander their lives in sinful dissipations that leave them with sorrows and regrets.
Enjoy your youth, but remember your Creator for “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith