As we come to the end of the book of Ecclesiastes, some may be left with the idea that, since nothing seems to really matter, we should just live our lives in pursuit of personal pleasure.
“All is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “utterly meaningless.”
Ecclesiastes 12:8 (NLT)
There’s nothing like a bit of encouragement from the Teacher (largely presumed to be Solomon) first thing in the morning. If everything still to come is meaningless (11:8), why bother trying to do good? Why should we help other people when we can help ourselves? Because it is our duty—not as Christians, but as human beings.
Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 (NLT)
As soon as someone tells me that I have to do something, I suddenly don’t want to do it whether it’s good or not. Words like fear and obey are often not see in the best of light and we tend to not want to comply when they’re thrust at us. If you’ve been following along in your daily Bible reading, though, you’ll have already come across hundreds of reasons why fearing God and obeying His commands are really good things.
Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom…
Proverbs 15:33 (NLT)
Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge…
Proverbs 1:7 (NLT)
Fear of the Lord leads to life…
Proverbs 19:23 (NLT)
Life. Wisdom. Knowledge. Who doesn’t want those? We should fear the Lord. And not just out of duty, but because we want to.
And what about obedience?
Praise the Lord! How joyful are those who fear the Lord and delight in obeying his commands.
Psalm 112:1 (NLT)
When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
John 15:10 (NLT)
Joy! Love! We could go on all day about the benefits of fearing God and obeying His commands. It may be our duty, but it is also to our benefit to do so. If the wisest man who ever lived concluded that we should do these things, perhaps there’s something to it.
Daily Bible reading: Ecclesiastes 10-12, 2 Corinthians 11:16-33