Ecclesiastes 12: Remember and Fear God Before the Days of Trouble Come

Everyone dies. It’s a fact of life and Solomon finishes off this book of wisdom with the best advice yet. Let’s dig in…

Ecclesiastes 12

Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky. Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly.

Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.

Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire. Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral.

Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well. For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

Concluding Thoughts about the Teacher

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless.”

Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them. 10 The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly.

11 The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.

12 But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.

13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.

Ecclesiastes 12 NLT

Points to Ponder

I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had discovered the truth of the salvation of Jesus Christ when I was 18 rather than 41. Would I have wasted 23 years of my life looking for fulfillment in all the wrong places — very much like Solomon did? Even then, it took me another 10 years to get baptized and another couple of years to fully commit my life to Jesus. For a while, I tried to live with one foot in the world and one foot in the Kingdom and that didn’t work at all. Check out my full testimony, the links at the bottom.

Let’s review what Solomon is saying in this last chapter…

  • Remember your Creator — the word “remember” in Hebrew means “act decisively” — not just “recall” , but do something strong-minded — before the days of trouble come. If you prepare yourself — armed with the wisdom of God — when the days of trouble come, you’ll make it through. It’s not if trouble comes, it’s WHEN.
  • Wisdom helps only if you use it. I once told an older friend whose eating habits were literally killing her, to change her diet. Unfortunately, she continued to cling to her “comfort foods” and her health got worse. She knew better, yet refused to listen to not just my advice, but her doctor’s. When we try to cling to our “comfort lives”, that are leading us to destruction, and not obey the wisdom and commands of God, we will end up in hell. That wisdom and those commands are found in the Bible. Read, understand and obey. Wise words are intended to move us into action in the right direction.
  • One thing is knowing who God is, the other is knowing God in your heart and fearing Him — that is, respecting Him.
  • Solomon failed to live his own advice! He tried
    • Studies — but knowledge brought sorrow. I know people who are perpetual students. Constantly going for another degree and for what? I don’t get it.
    • Pleasure — but it proved empty. Been there, done that!
    • Success — but that was temporary vanity, like chasing the wind — meaningless.
  • Then we all grow old. Verse 6 mentions some things, here’s what they mean…
    • the silver chord is our spine
    • the golden bowl is our brain
    • the pitcher is our lungs
    • the wheel/pulley, our heart

Our empty lives find meaning only as we relate them to God. The bottom line is at the top — above the sun — with Jesus in Heaven.

As His Creation, You are Accountable to Your Creator

The great hope of Ecclesiastes — and likewise of the entire Bible — is Jesus and He’s coming to back to Judge the living and the dead. Check out all these verse in the New Testament that talk about the final judgement

I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.

2 Timothy 1-3 NLT

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door!

James 5:9 NLT

38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

39 “And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him to life on the third day. Then God allowed him to appear, 41 not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead.”

Acts 10:38-42 NLT

31 “For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”

Acts 17:31 NLT

10 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

2 Corinthians 5:10 NLT

22 “In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge, 23 so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.

24 “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.

25 “And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. 26 The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. 27 And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man. 28 Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, 29 and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment. 30 I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.”

John 5:22-30 NLT

15 You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone. 16 And if I did, my judgment would be correct in every respect because I am not alone. The Father who sent me is with me.

John 8:15-16 NLT

39 Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”

John 9:39 NLT

47 I will not judge those who hear me but don’t obey me, for I have come to save the world and not to judge it. 48 But all who reject me and my message will be judged on the day of judgment by the truth I have spoken.

John 12:47-48 NLT

16 And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.

Romans 2:16 NLT

10 So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Romans 14:10 NLT

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war.

Revelation 19:11 NLT

Finally, I’m going to borrow from Spoken Gospel, because I couldn’t have written it better myself!…

For those who love God and keep his commands, the coming apocalypse is not a prediction of desolation and ruin, but the glorious restoration of God’s Kingdom under the rule of The King’s true son— Jesus. 

In Jesus’ Kingdom, everything the Preacher observed will no longer be true. All of our good works will be rewarded the way they deserve to be (2 Corinthians 5:10). Our hard-earned wealth won’t vanish because God’s wealth will become ours (Philippians 4:19). All the injustice done against us will be exposed and our suffering will be vindicated (Revelation 11:18). And far from dying young, we will live forever; not in a ruin, but with God in his beautiful city (Revelation 21:2). 

Jesus in all of Ecclesiastes — a Video Devotional by Spoken Gospel in the free YouVersion Bible App.

That, friend, is our confident HOPE that is only available THROUGH JESUS!

Paul wrote…

So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened. As the Scriptures say,

“God has put them into a deep sleep.
To this day he has shut their eyes so they do not see,
    and closed their ears so they do not hear.”

Romans 11:7-9 NLT

wake up!

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift and Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

My Testimony…

Rise Up

Wake Up, Sleeper

Soli Deo Gloria – To God Alone be the Glory!

Left Behind After the Rapture Series

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