INTERESTING FACTS : George Mason, DELEGATE AT THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION; "FATHER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS"
"I give and bequeath my soul to Almighty God that gave it me, hoping that through the meritorious death and passion of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ to receive absolution and remission for all my sins. My soul I resign into the hands of my Almighty Creator, Whose tender mercies are all over His works. . humbly hoping from His unbounded mercy and benevolence, through the merits of my blessed Savior, a remission of my sins."
Daily Reading : ECCLESIASTES 9 - 12
TEXT : Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecc 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
THEME : WISDOM
Rarely in the 66 Books of the Bible does any one Book tell you directly - "this is why this Book was written." However, in Ecclesiastes chapter 12, Solomon tells you the reason why God had Solomon pen this often-misunderstood account of his life "under the sun." Another instance of an author telling you why he wrote his Book is the Apostle John. In the New Testament, you are told why [John] wrote his account of the Gospel in chapter 20.
Joh 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: Joh 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
The Gospel of John was written that you might believe in Christ - wholeheartedly, and have life!
Nevertheless, for the most part, the Bible is a collection of Books that we understand better when we compare them one to another. Yet, Solomon tells us succinctly the meaning of why he wrote Ecclesiastes. In addition, in Solomon's explanation we find the entire purpose of life..
While reading Solomon's Book, you may be led to believe the Book is about the emptiness of life. Yet, herein lays the mistake in interpretation. Even in his old age, Solomon retains enough wisdom to exhort and warn you - the reader, not to waste your life pursuing things that by their transient and fleeting nature can never satisfy you. Hence we read in Ecclesiastes chapter 12 these words -
Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecc 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter,.... Or "the end" (o) of it. The sum and substance of it, what it all tends to and issues in; even the whole of what is contained in this book, and in all offer divinely inspired writings of Solomon or others; of all that were now written, or before, or since: this the preacher calls upon himself, as well as his hearers, to attend unto. Or it may be rendered, "the end of the whole matter is heard" (p); here ends this book; and you have heard the whole of what deserves regard, and it lies in these few words,
fear God, and keep his commandments: "the fear of God" includes the whole of internal religion, or powerful godliness; all the graces of the Spirit, and the exercise of them; reverence of God, love to him, faith in him, and in his Son Jesus Christ; hope of eternal life from him; humility of soul, patience and submission to his will, with every other grace; so the Heathens call religion "metum Deorum" (q), the fear of God: and "keeping of the commandments", or obedience to the whole will of God, is the fruit, effect, and evidence of the former; and takes in all the commands of God, moral and positive, whether under the former or present dispensation; and an observance of them in faith, from a principle of love, and with a view to the glory of God;
for this is the whole duty of man; or, "this is the whole man" (r); and makes a man a whole man, perfect, entire, and wanting nothing; whereas, without this, he is nothing, let him have ever so much of the wisdom, wealth, honour, and profits of this world. Or, "this is the whole of every man" (s); either, as we supply it, the duty, work, and business of every man, of every son of Adam, be he what he will, high or low, rich or poor, of every age, sex, and condition; or this is the happiness of every man, or that leads to it; this is the whole of it; this is the "summum bonum", or chief happiness of men: Lactantius (t) says, the "summum bonum" of a man lies in religion only; it lies in this, and not in any outward thing, as is abundantly proved in this book: and this should be the concern of everyone, this being the chief end of man, and what, as Jarchi says, he is born unto; or, as the Targum, such should be the life of every man. The Masoretes begin this verse with a larger letter than usual, and repeat it at the end of the book, though not accentuated, to raise the attention of the reader (u); that he may make a particular observation of what is said in it, as being of the greatest moment and importance." [John Gill]
"The great enquiry which Solomon prosecutes in this book is, What is that good which the sons of men should do? Ecc_2:3. What is the true way to true happiness, the certain means to attain our great end? He had in vain sought it among those things which most men are eager in pursuit of, but here, at length, he has found it, by the help of that discovery which God anciently made to man (Job_28:28), that serious godliness is the only way to true happiness: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter, the return entered upon the writ of enquiry, the result of this diligent search; you shall have all I have been driving at in two words. He does not say, Do you hear it, but Let us hear it; for preachers must themselves be hearers of that word which they preach to others, must hear it as from God; those are teachers by the halves who teach others and not themselves, Rom_2:21. Every word of God is pure and precious, but some words are worthy of more special remark, as this; the Masorites begin it with a capital letter, as that Deu_6:4. Solomon himself puts a nota bene before it, demanding attention in these words, Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Observe here,
I. The summary of religion. Setting aside all matters of doubtful disputation, to be religious is to fear God and keep his commandments. 1. The root of religion is fear of God reigning in the heart, and a reverence of his majesty, a deference to his authority, and a dread of his wrath. Fear God, that is, worship God, give him the honour due to his name, in all the instances of true devotion, inward and outward. See Rev_14:7. 2. The rule of religion is the law of God revealed in the scriptures. Our fear towards God must be taught by his commandments (Isa_29:13), and those we must keep and carefully observe. Wherever the fear of God is uppermost in the heart, there will be a respect to all his commandments and care to keep them. In vain do we pretend to fear God if we do not make conscience of our duty to him.
II. The vast importance of it: This is the whole of man; it is all his business and all his blessedness; our whole duty is summed up in this and our whole comfort is bound up in this. It is the concern of every man, and ought to be his chief and continual care; it is the common concern of all men, of their whole time. It is nothing to a man whether he be rich or poor, high or low, but it is the main matter, it is all in all to a man, to fear God and do as he bids him." [Matthew Henry]
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "THE PURPOSE OF LIFE IS TO KNOW GOD AND ENJOY HIM!"
In the Westminster catechism [larger], the instructional book of the Puritans and others, the first question that children had to learn and answer is this - "What is the chief and highest end of man?" The answer is - "Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever." Further, the Scriptures texts that apply to this truth are -
 Romans 11:36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
 1 Corinthians 10:31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
 Psalm 73:24-28. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
 John 17:21-23. That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
With this in mind, you have an extension of Solomon's reason for writing Ecclesiastes. You were made to glorify God with your life - daily life, all of your life, and to enjoy God in this world and the next. This is the meaning of life. What a tremendous blessing to know why you were made and why you are on the earth. Knowing the answer to this question of the ages, eliminates confusion, perplexity, bewilderment, anxiety, depression, and an innumerable host of other plagues of the soul. Armed with this truth, you can live with purpose displayed in courage and determination. Others, unfortunately will go on never knowing why they are here or what is the meaning of life.
However, you know the true purpose of life and can enjoy, not only life, but also God Himself - the Author and Source of all life! Learn the many lessons Solomon brings forth in his Book. There is no person, place, object, goal, or attainment of any kind that can make you happy. This is Solomon's testimony. Further, he exhorts you to learn from his sins. Do not repeat them. Rather, fear God all the days of your life, keep His commandments, and enjoy God forever. Obedience is the duty and responsibility of the Christian, and his or her reward is knowing, loving, and enjoying God Himself! This is the purpose of life - to know God, to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever, and ever, Amen!
For God shall bring every work into judgment - This is the reason why we should "fear God and keep his commandments."
1. Because there will be a day of judgment.
2. Every soul of man shall stand at that bar.
3. God, the infinitely wise, the heart-searching God, will be judge.
4. He will bring to light every secret thing - all that has been done since the creation, by all men; whether forgotten or registered; whether done in secret or in public.
5. All the works of the godly, as well as all the works of the wicked, shall be judged in that day; the good which the godly strove to conceal, as well as the evil which the wicked endeavored to hide.
"This, then, will be the conclusion of the whole mortal story. And although in this world all is vanity; yet there, "vanities will be vain no more." Every thing whether good or evil, will have its own proper stable, eternal result. O God! prepare the reader to give up his accounts with joy in that day! Amen." [Adam Clarke]
A powerful inducement to this, Ecc_12:14. We shall see of what vast consequence it is to us that we be religious if we consider the account we must every one of us shortly give of himself to God; thence he argued against a voluptuous and vicious life (Ecc_11:9), and here for a religious life: God shall bring every work into judgment. Note, 1. There is a judgment to come, in which every man's eternal state will be finally determined. 2. God himself will be the Judge, God-man will, not only because he has a right to judge, but because he is perfectly fit for it, infinitely wise and just. 3. Every work will then be brought into judgment, will be enquired into and called over again. It will be a day to bring to remembrance every thing done in the body. 4. The great thing to be then judged of concerning every work is whether it be good or evil, conformable to the will of God or a violation of it. 5. Even secret things, both good and evil, will be brought to light, and brought to account, in the judgment of the great day (Rom_2:16); there is no good work, no bad work, hid, but shall then be made manifest. 6. In consideration of the judgment to come, and the strictness of that judgment, it highly concerns us now to be very strict in our walking with God, that we may give up our account with joy." [Matthew Henry]