Prepare – Ecclesiastes 12:8–14
“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.
The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
I’m older now, and every year I get older I can see what Solomon is talking about in Ecclesiastes. The more I read this book, the better I understand the phrase he uses to start and end the book – all is vanity, meaningless, absurd under the sun, apart from Jesus.
- The Preacher wants us to remember that life under the sun is absurd, but also now, after reading the whole book, to remember that there’s more to this life. After reflecting on Ecclesiastes over the years, I view life differently. Here are some of my thoughts.
- I shouldn’t depend on life for what I need, because life under the sun is absurd. This world doesn’t provide what only God can provide.
- Meaning and purpose are only brought to this sinful world through the sinless Son of God who is wisdom for us from God. Jesus brings us wisdom for living in this world.
- Jesus begins to remove the veil from the absurdity, not completely, but enough to give me hope in this world and meaning amidst the things that he does not explain.
- I will toil. I will not find ultimate profit in the things of this world, although I can find benefit from the things of this world. I need to derive satisfaction from the things that I can, but not try to be satisfied with them. Do you see the difference? There is joy in the journey, but only God truly satisfies the longing of my heart.
- Live in the moment, enjoy the moments God has given you, and understand that times go by.
After reflecting on the book these are the things I remember. “Nothing in our search has led us home; nothing that we are offered under the sun is ours to keep.” (Derek Kidner)
Solomon ends the book by telling us how he said things (12:9-10), why he said them (12:11-12), and what we should do (12:13-14). We should trust and obey. This is our whole duty. Trust is our first mission phrase (Love God), and obey is the second and third phrase (Love Others, Serve the World). May this time of pandemic help you to live more simply and more faithfully, worshipping and serving Jesus, only Jesus.
~ Pastor Craig Johnson