Ecclesiastes 12: The Main Thing is to Keep the Main Thing, the Main Thing
July 9, 2012, 6:22 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book

1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

Solomon says, “Remember God while you are young and enjoy your youth.”

NOTE: a key to enjoying your youth seems to be acknowledging God. v1

REMEMBER- “to act decisively on behalf of someone.”  Solomon is being used by the Holy Spirit to deliver the message that we are to act decisively on behalf of God while we are young.  Why? Because the “evil days” are coming when we reap what we sow.

2. Solomon describes old age and death. (12:2-8)

The effects of aging

  1. 1.       Mentally- the crisp, razor-sharp light of understanding begins to fade, and we live in “darkness” (gloom and depression)
  2. 2.      Physically- trembling lips, hands, and head.  Then stooping of the legs. 

2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders (the grinders fail, because they grind little) cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,

4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;

5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

a. old age is like a gathering storm. v2

b. “keepers of the house” = arms and legs

c. “strong men shall bow themselves” = weak legs

d. “grinders…they be few” = few teeth

e. “windows be darkened” = weakened eyes

f. “doors shut…sound…low” = loss of hearing

g. “rise up” = restless sleep

h. “daughters of music brought low” = a decreased appreciation of music due to loss of hearing.

i. “afraid of that which is high” = the difficulty of ascending heights

j. “fears shall be in the way” = afraid of falling when walking

k. “almond tree shall flourish” = speaks of one’s whitened hair

l. “grasshopper shall be a burden and desire shall fail” = crippled and bent limbs will impair mobility

m. “long home” = absence from the earth

n. “mourners go about” = wailers at the funeral

o. “silver cord be loosed”(spinal cord), “golden bowl be broken”(the head), “pitcher be broken”(the lungs), and “wheel broken at cistern”(the heart) = all of these have reference to the end of life

p. “dust returns to earth” = man was formed out of the dust of the earth

q. “spirit return unto God” = God breathed into man the breath of life

3.  The Final Factor in our lives on earth (7-8)  Death is the final piece of life to those living under the sun.     

7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.( Brief)

How we view death:  Far too often we see death as the end, but remember the words of Paul, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Practical Applications:

  1. 1.       I’m not getting any younger, so look for ways to serve Him.
  2. 2.      God has designed me to be empty without Him, so focus on your relationship with Him.
  3. 3.      Now is the time to prepare for eternity because you’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die.

The Conclusion

  1. 1.       A Horizontal Look (12:9-12)

9 And moreover (the more wise the preacher was), because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.

As the Seeker, Solomon pondered, searched out, and arranged many proverbs.  Solomon “pondered … sought out … set in order:”  (“weighed … examined … and arranged”)

10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable (the words of delight) words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.

 He carefully thought about what he was saying and tried to say it in the clearest, most understandable way.

Acceptable- means he sought “delightful words that were winsome, easy to grasp and readily applied.  He wanted to communicate God’s truth so that people “got it”   (Acceptable words—pleasant words, words of grace—and words of truth. The truth referred to here is the truth from God.)

11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

Why did Solomon carefully select his words?  Because words are like goads- they jab and prod us into action.  Because words are like well driven nails- they drive us into place and rivet us to the Truth.  Words Communicate God to man.   These “well-driven nails” are “pegs” which are used (2 Chr. 3:9; Jer. 10:4) and refer to hooks in tents where families hung the clothes and pots needed for everyday life. Here they refer to mental hooks giving stability and perspective to life.)

12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study (reading) is a weariness of the flesh.

Solomon warns his son, that there is a BIG difference between God’s Words and man’s words.  Man will write a lot of books, but God has revealed all we need to know in HIS BOOK.

1.       A Vertical Look (12:13-14) Two Commandments and a Warning

  1. 1st Command- Take God seriously- Fear God
  2. 2nd Command- Obey God when He speaks- We shouldn’t let anything or anybody keep us from doing what God tells us to do.
  3. Warning- God will bring every act into judgment.

 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Fear God

F:  faith in His existence.

There is where fear begins: faith that God exists.

E: experience of His grace. You never can properly fear God until you have learned what kind of a God He is. He is a God of mercy, of grace, of forgiveness. Until you have stood before Him and felt your guilt, acknowledged it, known you were wrong and corrupt, and heard Him say in your inner heart, Neither do I condemn you… Go now and leave your life of sin (John 8:11), you will never be able to properly fear God. One element of fear is the experience of the wonder of forgiveness, that God forgives and sends you out with a whole new purpose and a new resource available.

A: awe at the majesty, the wisdom, and the wonder of God. What a Being He is! What a marvelous mind that can comprehend all the billions of pieces of information in this universe and hold them continually before Him, that can hear every voice and relate to every person who has ever lived! What a marvelous God! Awe at the sense of His majesty, His comprehensiveness, His unfailing wisdom and power, is part of fearing God.

R.  Resolve to do what He says, to keep His commandments.  Jesus Himself said that all the law and writings could be reduced to two commandments:

  1.  We need to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind in response to the love He has already shown us.  Love Him because He loved us and then as we work on our relationship, we deepen our love for Him because of Who He is.
  2. We are to love others as ourselves.  Reach out to them with grace, compassion and unconditional love.

Micah put it this way, God only requires that we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.


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