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June 3, 2022 - Ecclesiastes 7-12

Solomon seems to be bordering on nihilism, i.e., the rejection of all religious and moral principles in the belief that life is meaningless: “It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath” (9:2). And what of Solomon’s statement, “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity” (12:8). Does he really conclude that it really does not matter how we live, that in the end, one path is as good or worthless as another?

But, wait! We’re not at the end of the book and the end of the matter, yet! And what is that? Having tested many hypotheses regarding life and its meaning, Solomon concludes, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (12:13). To know God and to walk with him; now, that’s life! John puts it like this: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Our heavenly Father calls,

And Christ invites us near;

With both, our friendship shall be sweet,

And our communion dear.

God pities all our griefs:

He pardons every day;

Almighty to protect our souls,

And wise to guide our way. -- Philip Doddridge (18th century)

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