God’s Word Goes Forth: Grow in God’s Wisdom
Ecclesiastes 11:9—12:14: The book of Ecclesiastes contains the thoughts of “the Philosopher” concerning the contradictory nature of human life. Today’s reading is the conclusion to the book.While Ecclesiastes reflects the author’s struggle to find the meaning of life, the closing section is a reminder that respecting and obeying God is at life’s core.
Today's Scripture: Ecclesiastes 12:13
After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for.
9 Young people, enjoy your youth. Be happy while you are still young. Do what you want to do, and follow your heart's desire. But remember that God is going to judge you for whatever you do. 10 Don't let anything worry you or cause you pain. You aren't going to be young very long. 1 So remember your Creator while you are still young, before those dismal days and years come when you will say, “I don't enjoy life.” 2 That is when the light of the sun, the moon, and the stars will grow dim for you, and the rain clouds will never pass away. 3 Then your arms, that have protected you, will tremble, and your legs, now strong, will grow weak. Your teeth will be too few to chew your food, and your eyes too dim to see clearly. 4 Your ears will be deaf to the noise of the street. You will barely be able to hear the mill as it grinds or music as it plays, but even the song of a bird will wake you from sleep. 5 You will be afraid of high places, and walking will be dangerous. Your hair will turn white; you will hardly be able to drag yourself along, and all desire will be gone. We are going to our final resting place, and then there will be mourning in the streets. 6 The silver chain will snap, and the golden lamp will fall and break; the rope at the well will break, and the water jar will be shattered. 7 Our bodies will return to the dust of the earth, and the breath of life will go back to God, who gave it to us. 8 Useless, useless, said the Philosopher. It is all useless. 9 But because the Philosopher was wise, he kept on teaching the people what he knew. He studied proverbs and honestly tested their truth. 10 The Philosopher tried to find comforting words, but the words he wrote were honest. 11 The sayings of the wise are like the sharp sticks that shepherds use to guide sheep, and collected proverbs are as lasting as firmly driven nails. They have been given by God, the one Shepherd of us all. 12 My child, there is something else to watch out for. There is no end to the writing of books, and too much study will wear you out. 13 After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for. 14 God is going to judge everything we do, whether good or bad, even things done in secret.
Reread verses 8 and 13. Do you think they contradict each other? Why or why not? What advice is given to young people? How does the Philosopher describe old age? Do you agree with what the Philosopher says in verse 13? Why or why not? How would you summarize your own view of life?
Lord God, may I have reverence for you each day. Teach me to obey your commands so that my life is one of loving service. It is you, Lord God, and you alone, who gives meaning to my life. Amen.
Young people discerning their future
Psalm 72: Prayers for a king and his righteous rule are at the heart of this psalm.