April 27, 2013

I Have Reached This Conclusion – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:22 pm by sranderson0103

“Having heard everything, I have reached this conclusion: Fear God and keep his commandments, because this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NET)

The Book of Ecclesiastes gives us insights into the spiritual growth of a man of great wisdom. It is not straightforward history but rather, in poetic style, exposes Solomon’s inner thoughts as he progresses to the zenith of his spirituality. At the beginning of his reign over Israel, he revealed a humble servant heart when, instead of asking for great riches, he asked God for “an understanding heart to judge thy people, to discern between good and evil” (I Kings 3:9). God heard his fervent prayer and gave him both. He became renowned for his riches and his wisdom.

“When all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had handed down, they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.” (I Kings 3:28)

“Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men, …and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish. Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.” (I Kings 4:29-34)

Unfortunately, as is well documented in Scripture, he became ambitious and formed alliances, marrying foreign women who led him into compromise and disobedience, setting the stage for national apostasy and idolatry upon his death. However, the book of Ecclesiastes chronicles a series of experiments which he conducted in search for the highest human good, but each forced him to conclude that “all is vanity”.

“The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” What advantage does man have in all his work Which he does under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:1-2)

From the perspective of one who had ready access to all the world had to offer, his wise observation of “life under the sun” revealed to him no discernible pattern or purpose in the affairs of men. However, he concludes, life is the gift of God and should be enjoyed (3:13). Furthermore, he recognized the eventual judgment of God and concluded it best to live in obedience to God’s commands (3:16-17).

Our text summarizes the long search for meaning, the entire book of Ecclesiastes. Here is the secret of human fulfillment. It involves two complementary commands.

“fear God”

“keep his commandments”

Wise Solomon knew it. Christ and the New Testament writers reinforced it.

“ If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”

 (1John 14:15)

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.” (I John 5:2)

What is “life under the sun” all about? The harsh realities and seeming paradoxes are at times bewildering and incomprehensible to us. Solomon diligently searched all this world had to offer with amazing wisdom and this is his bottom line. Literally, “this is the of man” (the word duty is not in the original). This is it. This is whole what it is all about. The rest is fluff.

Adapted from an article by John Morris

 

 

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