Ecclesiastes is a book that is many things too many different people but seems to hold a majority of thought, or consensus, that most believers find to be baffling and to some even wrongheaded. From the get-go there were strong efforts to exclude it from the list of sacred books and even now it has a very small place in liturgical practice. In Jewish liturgical practice it is of greater use only because it is one of the five scrolls that are read at the festivals. It is said that this book encourages conversation because of its grasp of the truth. That, however is quickly walked back by those who say its value is it serves as a dark background against the shining light of the gospel. There is a wealth of information available about the book of Ecclesiastes, extensive and easily available. The one question that is asked in most commentaries….Who wrote Ecclesiastes or better yet who is Qohelet in Ecclesiastes? This question after all this time has not gained a solid acknowledgement that it was Solomon. Is he Qoheleth, the teacher and in turn the Preacher?
We return this week to the book of Ecclesiastes and specifically the 12th and concluding chapter of this book. The text of this chapter addresses the youth throughout the creation.
We are reminded that we are not our own. We were made to be happy but this is only true when we live our lives for him. Not only has God created you he also preserves you, feeds you and clothes you and in difficult times he upholds you. You have been made as being able to know, love and serve him. You have been given the privilege to enjoy him in his own glory for ever. Even when you had chosen to undo that relationship, he sent his Son to redeem you through the cross and his blood shed for you. But God has even more for you. He sends the Spirit to enlighten, persuade and to led you away from childless endeavors, keeping you from trifling and sinful pursuits. In our youth memory is strong and unrelenting. In this time in our lives it is easy to remember our creator, our loving and affectionate Father but through the perversion of sin it seems in our youth we come to the point where we forget and remember any other thing better than God. We remember the kindness of others and even feel gratitude for it but what of our Father in heaven? There is no one who can give us the benefits of a relationship with him. From the Father came our body and soul, our eyes to see, ears, tongue, hands and feet. With our eyes we can see the beauty of his creation, hear the word of salvation, the tongue allows us to speak to his goodness and with our feet to carry us forward we can raise our hands in celebration of our service to God who calls us to serve his people. How can we forget HIM?
In our youth we are susceptible to the evils of this world. You could say we are at times in some ways drawn to them, resulting in the corruption and misery that accompanies them. Remember him in thy YOUTH. In our youth we have the power to be more active and vigorous in our endeavors. Faith, hope and love at this point in our lives could be a thing of great joy. It is now in our youth that it will be easier for us to believe, hope, pray, love, obey, and bear our cross, then it can be in old age and the those infirmities that weaken body and determination. Even in your youth there is no certainty of life. Today is yours, tomorrow may not be. Youth also has no promise of old age. While you have your youth and health hear the call of your God. If you do not heed that call you may find that sin will encroach on your heart every moment that goes by. Give your heart to your creator early and it will serve you well in the years you have. There is much to be said about old age and some things are harsh but reality is the part of the Preacher’s book of life. Evil habits gain strength over time and the infirmities of time press down on our bodies and minds. The cold fact is that our hearts can become hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. There is little time left to repent and even less inclination to do so. There is nothing of this world that can ease the burden of sin. Words of truth are always valued and have worth. The truth of God’s words often annoy those who would shy away, often causing a negative reaction as they seek to reject the good way. To fear God and keep his commandments makes a man whole. Fear where there is no love has no redeeming power. We are to have a fear of God but by his gracious love for us as a child of God, we are in awe of his presence and that which he gives us in this life. There are many distractions in this life but we have only one task to be mindful of… Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is all that concerns man.
And in Conclusion….
Verse Ecclesiastes 12:14. For God shall bring every work into judgment — This is the reason why we should “fear God and keep his commandments.”
The following is from Adam Clark Commentary and is public domain.
1. Because there will be a day of judgment.
2. Every soul of man shall stand at that bar.
3. God, the infinitely wise, the heart-searching God, will be judge.
4. He will bring to light every secret thing – all that has been done since the creation, by all men; whether forgotten or registered; whether done in secret or in public.
5. All the works of the godly, as well as all the works of the wicked, shall be judged in that day; the good which the godly strove to conceal, as well as the evil which the wicked endeavoured to hide.
This, then, will be the conclusion of the whole mortal story. And although in this world all is vanity; yet there, “vanities will be vain no more.” Every thing, whether good or evil, will have its own proper stable, eternal result. O God! prepare the reader to give up his accounts with joy in that day! Amen.
Life is Good