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June 18, 2023 - Ecclesiastes 9-12

It has been often noted that one needs to read the book of Ecclesiastes in its entirety in one setting. Otherwise, Solomon’s early observation – “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted” (1:14-15) – might appear to be the end of the matter. If it were so, how depressing the thought! But it’s not the end of the matter. You have to read to the end of Ecclesiastes in order to get to the end of the matter (Sort of makes sense, doesn’t it?). And what is it that Solomon discovered and which he wishes us to know? It is this: “The end of the matter all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (12:13,14).

Throughout time, the people of God have known this, i.e., that the truly happy people are those who know God. Jeremiah put it thusly: “Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth” (Jeremiah 9:24). Abraham knew this. Moses knew it. David knew it. Isaiah and all the prophets knew it. Paul knew it. To know and understand God! To fear him! Frank Sinatra had a song: That’s Life. We know what true life is!

Almighty God, our hearts incline

Thy heav’nly voice to hear;

Let all our future days be Thine,

Devoted to Thy fear.

O Thou mighty God, we will remember Thee;

And we will delight in Thy service now,

In these our youthful days;

Yes, we will remember Thy mercies, too,

And enter Thy courts with praise. –W. H. Havergal (1835)

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