Jul 5, 2020
Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 12:9-14
Ecclesiastes 12:9-14 is Solomon's 'bottom line' as he brings his book to a close. It is the summarization of what life's central focus should be. "Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecc 12:13).
This passage is, at once, both an exhortation to the whole human race and an indictment of all people. There is no one who fears God as he/she should or obeys Him from the heart. So many people, in our land, are in greater awe of celebrities than they are of the Almighty God. More arresting than that, is the reality that reverence for God has all but evaporated from so many Christian churches. What passes for worship is often giddy and frothy instead of sober and weighty.
Far from being a burden, God's commandments are life. Jesus said, "The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life" (Jn 6:63). That person is joyful, indeed, who has taken the commands of God to heart that they might be a fountain of truth and hope in his soul. "Let your mercy come to me, that I may live, for your law is my delight" (Psa 119:77).
One impetus to fear God and keep His commandments is the coming judgment which we all must face. Obedience is not, and cannot be, the ground of our salvation in the day of judgment. The righteousness of Christ, alone, is sufficient for entrance into heaven. But, even for Christians, there will be an assessment of our lives (cf. 1 Cor 3:12-15; 2 Cor 5:10). John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407) wrote: "Let us then imagine Christ's judgment-seat to be present now . . . and account the Judge to be already present . . . Do you not blush? Are you not ashamed?"