Saturday 2 August, 2014
KEEPING GOD'S COMMANDRemember your Creator in the days of your youth...(vs 1a)
Some scholars think that the book initially closed at 12:8: ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Everything is meaningless’. Such a conclusion fits very well with the opening cry in 1:2, which is very similar. The book then begins with a sense of pessimism about life in general and ends with the same pessimism. The truth is that there is nothing great about this vain life since it must ultimately end in death. Our human bodies are not made to last for ever. They will slowly decay and break down like a rundown house (verses 3-4). From dust we came and to dust we will return (verse 7).
To diminish the harsh pessimistic tone, some scholars suggest that the editor of the book added verses 9-14 to ‘soften’ the impact of the original conclusion. The editor tells us that the Teacher was like other wise men compiling wisdom to impart knowledge to his people, and the words will benefit the later generations who read them (verse 9). The Teacher wrote in an upright and truthful manner about the things he encountered and experienced in his life (verse 10) and we ought to learn from him. The book ends with the same call to ‘fear God’ (verse 13c) as in the book of Proverbs (1:7). The fear of God will lead us to wisdom.
Prayer † May I love you more, thank you more, and enjoy you more, day by day. Amen.
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) is a fellowship of 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries. Its member churches are Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed and United churches with roots in the 16th-century Reformation led by John Calvin, John Knox and others. WARC has a small secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.