Thursday, April 27, 2017

Start at the End to Find the Beginning

Dear Friends,
When reading the book of Ecclesiastes, you need to start at the end in order to understand what it is all about, since the style of this book is in a genre far removed from today’s “fast food” type of literature. I drive my husband crazy because I always read the end of a book first. It sort of makes up my mind if it’s worth my time reading it at all. Ecclesiastes makes a whole lot more sense when you go to the end to find out about the beginning.
It’s at the end of chapter 12 that the whole thing is summed up. “Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing whether it is good or evil” (verses 13-14).
Solomon concludes his work with a summary of the results of all his heart searching, experimenting and discovering. It has been hard work for Solomon.  I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven,” he explains (2:3). It took a lot of his life to find the answers but at the end he came to a satisfactory conclusion: Keep His commandments. This is the meaning to our existence. It’s the whole thing. The Message renders Ecclesiastes 12:13-14: “Fear God. Do what He tells you. And that’s it.” That’s what? The reason we are here—the whole purpose of life in this place, in this time.
There is an old saying: Fear God and live as you like. It makes sense that if you live in the fear of God you will live as He likes you to live. This is the only certain pathway to extreme joy, to living a life that makes perfect sense. Ecclesiastes teaches us that the pathway to an exuberance of living is realized by those who live within the boundaries set by His love. Those limits are simple. We don’t “do this” and we so “do that.” This and that being the ten rules God wrote in His own handwriting on a couple of slabs of rock on a mountain on fire. We call them the Ten Commandments.
Man’s wonderings and wanderings find their end in a relationship with our Maker, pleasing and serving Him. That’s the whole thing! Wisdom is coming to that conclusion as soon as possible, in order not to live a wasted and frustrated life. It is the only path that makes sense of life on planet earth. It’s God-sense. This advice comes to us from numerous places in the Word of God including from the wisest man who ever lived—King Solomon.
Blessings,


Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine





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