Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (14) For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Continuing this morning with my 'fear of God' study. The above verses conclude the book of Ecclesiastes, a reflective book beginning with a statement of discouragement, despair, and futility:
The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. (2) Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. (3) What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? (4) One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. (5) The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. (6) The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. (7) All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. (8) All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. (9) The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (10) Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
The man who wrote this, though without stating it specifically, almost certainly Solomon, maybe nearing the end of his life, reflecting on the transient nature of men's lives and accomplishments, and after all of his reflection and review, coming to the conclusion 'fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.'
Everything we might build in our lives. . . will eventually pass away. Without exception, all will eventually fade, and our memory will disappear, some longer. . . but in a few generations almost all of us will be forgotten.
A few weeks ago now, Jackie and I released the bunnies that we had raised, in the Bristol town cemetery. What a beautiful and peaceful place that is. There are many graves found there from people who died over 150 years ago. Who remembers those names? Mary. . . John. . . Phillip. . . Jack. . . Many of the headstones, were so eroded that only possibly by rubbings could they be read. People much loved, certainly some much hated. . . some with amazing stories to tell, if they could but speak from the grave. . .Births, marriages, deaths, victories, laughter, and tears. . . all accomplishments long forgotten. Now in the long sleep, awaiting that day when they shall, along with all of us, stand before the white throne of judgment, to give an account of their lives. . .
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
. . .and they were judged every man according to their works. . .
The things we do to build our relationship with God. . .
The things we do to honor God. . .
The things we do to fear God. . .
The things we do to worship and revere God. . .
The things we do to keep his commandments. . .
These are the lasting things. . .
. . .for this is the whole duty of man. . . all else is vanity. . .
I love you my God. . .
I love you my Lord. . .
Sunday, May 27, 2012