The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
In Ecclesiastes chapter 12, Solomon seems to imply that if you are truly wise, you will consider four pieces of advice:
First, plan for the time when God calls you home.
How do we wisely plan for the time when God calls us home? Solomon uses the word twice in this closing chapter, “Remember also your Creator…Remember Him…” (vv.1, 6).
I believe what Solomon is saying here is life has no meaning without God, so get your priorities on track early. Make Him the center of your life. When you are about to meet God face-to-face, the one thing you will desire more than anything else is that you knew better the One you’re about to meet!
Second, age works against you, not for you.
In verses 2-5, Solomon highlights the stark reality of aging.
As we get older, we don’t get stronger, we actually get weaker. Therefore, if you are waiting until you have finished whatever it is you say you want to do before you sell out for God, you are fooling yourself!
Third, the real substance of life is not accumulated knowledge, but intimacy with God.
In verses 9-12, Solomon confesses that he was an academician, but none of his reading and writing made life more satisfying. Rather, he was less satisfied.
It is possible to always learn and never know. Paul spoke of men like this in the last days that are “…always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth…” (2 Tim.3:7).
It is not enough for us just to know stuff. Yes, the mind is the primary vehicle that sends truth to the heart and life, but we must experience the truth and life we know, not just have it explained to us.
Finally, remember God before it’s too late; the time to walk with God is now.
Solomon offers us some bottom-line advice: fear God and keep His commandments.
What hindered Solomon from doing these two things?
- First, He took God’s Word too casually. He disobeyed direct instructions from God regarding marriage and the accumulation of riches. (Cf. 1 Kings 11:1-6; Deut.17:14-17)
- Second, He refused to have human accountability. (Cf. Deut.17:18)
- Finally, Solomon turned his focus from God Himself to the gifts of God.
Fear God. What does it mean to fear God? A simple acrostic will help us to remember:
Faith begins the relationship of a proper fear of God.
Experience His grace by surrendering your heart.
Awe flows out of a spiritual glimpse of His majesty in the face of Christ.
Resolve to stay within the boundaries.