Ecclesiastes 12:13 - The Whole Duty of Man. (addendum)
Ecclesiastes 12:13 - The Whole Duty of Man. (addendum)
Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NIV) Now all has been heard; here is the
conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is
the whole duty of man.
The book of Ecclesiastes cannot be interpreted correctly
without reading these final verses. No matter what the mysteries and
apparent contradictions are in life, we must strive for one thing:
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon shows us that we should enjoy life,
but this does not mean we are exempt from obeying God's commands.
All people will one day stand before God and be judged for how they
lived in this life.
We should search for purpose and meaning in life, but purpose
and meaning cannot be found in human endeavors. We need to recognize
that human effort apart from God is futile.
We should acknowledge the evil, foolishness, and injustice in
life yet maintain a strong faith in God and a positive attitude. We
will not be able to use the inequities of life as an excuse for
failing to live properly.
We need to put God first to receive everything good as a gift
from God and to realize that God will judge every person's life,
whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes is a sober reminder that life without
God is meaningless. But the Bible is a powerful picture of what life
is like when God gets involved. [One Year NLT SB re Ecc. 12:13,
Throughout Ecclesiastes, the Teacher encourages his readers
to enjoy life because it is God's gift (for example, Ecclesiastes
2:24-25; 3:12-13; 9:7-9). The New Testament similarly encourages us to be
joyful in all things, including trials and challenges (Philippians 4:4;
Life is meant to be enjoyed with laughing, dancing, love, and
peace. It is especially worth living when old age and death challenge
that joy (Ecclesiastes 9:4, 9; 11:7-9; 12:1). We are to enjoy our
food, drink, health, proper clothes, our loving spouse, children,
daily work, and entertainment.
Only when we treat the things of life and their enjoyment as
ends in themselves do they become deterrents to happiness. The
Teacher speaks strongly against pursuing pleasure for its own sake,
calling it foolish and without profit (Ecclesiastes 2:1-2; Isaiah 22:13;
It may be surprising to hear such joy in a book that
acknowledges such intense tragedy and frustration. But it is exactly this
balance of joy and sorrow that characterized the wise person who
reflects on all of life and understands its complexities in a fallen
world. [One Year NLT SB]
Many years ago the phenomenon of a midlife crisis was given
its name. Many people approaching the second half of their adult
lives want to ensure that all they've ever worked for, lived for, and
hoped for hasn't just been one big mistake.
The entire book of Ecclesiastes addresses the meaning of
life, but this passage in particular punctuates his point. Solomon's
summary makes it difficult to miss. Read on for help with that age-old
set of questions that demand an answer somewhere around the halftime
of your life...
Solomon concludes this book by giving advice on how to live a
full life. Solomon's final conclusion is that "everyone's duty" is to
fear and obey God (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Solomon gave this advice
because he knew that one day we will have to stand before God and be
judged for how we have lived (12:14).We will not be able to use excuses
to justify our failures and sins. So we need to learn how God wants
us to live and then to do it. When we do this, we then complete our
search for meaning.
Don't let the excitement of being young cause you to forget
about your Creator. And don't spend your life trying to substitute
your own rules for the ones God has given you - as if living your own
way will somehow be easier, or as if God won't notice. Keep your
values and priorities in line - keep God in first place in your life.
[The One Year Through the Bible Devotional by Dave Veerman]
Those whom God blesses are not delighted with what pertains to
sin and the world; they delight in the Word of God. It is love for
and obedience to the Bible that brings blessing on our lives. The
people God blesses not only read the Word daily, but they study it,
memorize it, and meditate on it during the day and night. Their mind is
controlled by the Word of God. Because of this, they are led by the Spirit
and walk in the Spirit. Meditation is to the soul what "digestion"
is to the body. It means understanding the Word, "chewing on it,"
and applying it to our lives, making it a part of the inner person.
[Wiersbe's Expository Outlines re Psa. 1:1-3]
Awful advice, crushing consequences, and a raunchy
reputation-that's what you can get when you follow worldly counsel and people.
What do you get when you follow God? Joy! There is delight in doing
what God wants because it is only then that we are doing what we were
created to do. We are accomplishing our purpose. We are following the
counsel of an all-wise, all-knowing God and experiencing the countless
benefits that come with that: We're not harming anyone and being eaten
alive with guilt. We're not continually embarrassing ourselves (and
those who love us) with our behavior. But how in the world can we do
everything the Lord wants? By surrendering to him and immersing ourselves
in his Word, we will begin to delight in doing what he has planned.
Thinking about his law day and night is what brings true joy not only to
our hearts but also to God's.
Dear GOD, more than anything, I want to make you happy. I
want to do and be all that you planned when you created me. It's your
counsel I want to follow, your side I want to be on, and your behavior I
most want to imitate. Help me to continually think of you and the
words you wrote so that I might experience your joy. May you smile
when you think of me. [Praying Through The Bible By Fuller re Psa.
LINKS FOR FURTHER STUDY ON THIS PASSAGE: