Fear God and Keep His Commandments
Mr. John Phillips of Marietta, Ga., shares with us his tenth of a continuing series of brief, pithy studies in Ecclesiastes.
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 12:13
Solomon is found at last sitting and clothed and in his right mind. He has searched the universe for that which can only be found in God. Nor wealth nor wisdom, nor women nor wine, nor the praise of men nor the power of the throne can satisfy. “Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man” is his verdict at last. It is the returning of the dove to the ark. It is the royal prodigal coming to himself in the far country of his sins and then coming to his Father in heaven. It is an old man returning to his first love and the forgotten faith of his youth.
“Fear God.” That’s the call for a God-conscious life. There is, as someone has phrased it, a God-shaped vacuum in the human soul. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks,” said Solomon’s father, “so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” To be God-conscious restores to life its proper perspective. It removes bias and restores balance. Life no longer seems unfair, lopsided, pointless. Everything is balanced by the knowldege that God is too wise to make any mistakes, too loving to be unkind and too powerful to be thwarted in His ultimate plans. Life’s frustrations are seen in the light of God’s wisdom, life’s failures are seen in the light of His power, and life’s fears are seen in the light of His love — Calvary love, the love that casts out fear.
“Fear God, and keep His commandments.” That’s the call for a God-controlled life. His commandments are not grievous. They are not capricious, arbitrary, unjust.
They are fair. His will is “good and acceptable and perfect.” His commandments reflect His holiness and each and every one is designed for our own personal good. They call upon us to love Him supremely and to love others sublimely. They call upon us to heed His Word, enthrone His Son, and to step out in ways controlled and planned by Him.
Solomon started his career with a God-conscious, God-controlled life But somewhere along the line he allowed materialism and secularism to make him forgetful of life’s prior and highest claims. But now he has returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of his soul and sits down to give us Ecclesiates to warn what happens when those beacon lights are lost.