“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. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
Love the Word
Have you encountered God, yet continue to pursue life apart from Him? Solomon experienced this at extraordinary levels. His final counsel on the issue is priceless for us because it offers the loving protection of God.
Learn the Word
Solomon, the Son of David and Bathsheba, was originally named Jedidiah, which meant, “loved by the Lord” (see 2 Samuel 12:24-25). He became Israel’s third King who led its most prosperous 40 years (see 1 Kings 11:42) and was renowned as the wisest man who ever lived before Christ (see 1 Kings 4:31).
God appeared to Solomon twice (see 1 Kings 3:5-15; 9:1-9; 11:9). In his first encounter, God offered Solomon everyone’s dream: “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (1 Kings 3:5). Due to the conflict he would experience as king, Solomon asked for a discerning heart (see 1 Kings 3:9), and God granted his request (see 1 Kings 3:12). In Solomon’s second encounter, God responded to Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple (see 2 Chronicles 6:24-25, 36; 7:14). Despite those intimate encounters with God, Solomon pursued life apart from Him in at least five arenas that remain a risk for us today.
Solomon pursued earthly knowledge apart from God for the sake of contentment (see Ecclesiastes 1:12-18). He stored up possessions for the sake of significance (see Ecclesiastes 2:4-8a). The King built military might for the sake of control (see Ecclesiastes 4:13-16; 8:2-10). He stockpiled money for the sake of security (see Ecclesiastes 5:10-20; 7:12). He even ran after pleasure for the sake of gratification (see Ecclesiastes 2:1-3; 8b-11).
What can we learn? Life apart from God is meaningless. A divided heart led to a divided kingdom. It’s the first sin. It’s the wide gate. It’s the love of this world. Despite his encounters with God and his earthly father’s advice, King Solomon pursued life apart from God, the only One who could truly satisfy His desires. David’s first words to Solomon (see Proverbs 4:3-9) and his last (see 1 Kings 2:1-4) were to keep God’s commands. Even God Himself repeated this same charge to King Solomon (see 1 Kings 9:3-9). It’s no wonder that Solomon’s Last Will and Testament of Ecclesiastes summarized his rear view mirror perspective.
Live the Word
Memorize Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 and recite it each day for the next week. God is always faithful, but we are not. That’s why we need Christ to pursue life with God (see Psalm 127:1), bringing us in communion with Him (see Ecclesiastes 3:11) and community with others (see Ecclesiastes 4:12). Christ never fails. When we surrender to Him, He will be with us, always.