Ecclesiastes 12:13,14—When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity. For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.
We do well to pay attention to endings. When we read the conclusion of Solomon to his readers about life, his thinking is clear—fear God and obey His commands. Remember this is a man endowed with more wisdom from God than anyone who ever preceded him. This is a king frustrated by foolishness, the cruelty of death and the meaninglessness of repetition. This is a leader and learner who satiated his every desire. He was spectacularly wealthy, famous throughout the known world, and more powerful than any other ruler of his time. Yet, despite acknowledging that He would stand accountable before God, He did not finish well. Foreign women seduced him. He let them worship idols; directly violating God’s warning. His final words are rendered poignant by the fact that he could not follow his own advice.
Five times in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, Solomon admonishes us to fear God. This is not something he learned on his own. His father David taught, “You who fear Yahweh, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him! All you descendants of Israel, revere Him!”(Psa. 22:23). David was certainly familiar with the writings of Moses who labored to help his countrymen recognize the reverence they owed God. “Who understands the power of Your anger? Your wrath matches the fear that is due You” (Psa. 90:11).
So why does God want us to revere Him? We will look at this question more fully in Part 2, when we examine the great benefits that come to God-fearers. But one immediate answer is that we live on a planet infested with sin. Solomon compels his readers to fear God so they can turn from and avoid evil (Pro. 3:7). As we know, sin causes suffering and God wants to spare us needless misery caused by engaging in evil or endorsing those who are wicked (Pro. 23:17; 24:21). Sin angers God. When we fear Him, we recognize what incurs His wrath. When we fear Him, we abstain from ungodly attitudes, speech and action. When we fear Him we avoid circumstances and people who will compromise our integrity.
Pastor David Jeremiah wrote in his bookSearching for Heaven on Earth, “The phrases ‘fear God’ or ‘fear the Lord’ occur more than 114 times in the Bible.” This is not some rare concept in Scripture, but rather a foundational theme. Sadly, we don’t hear this topic preached much in sermons, nor is it often the topic of conversation amongst those who follow Jesus. Jerry Bridges observed in The Joy of Fearing God, “We live in a day much like the days of Malachi. Not only has society as a whole become ungodly, but even much of the church of Jesus Christ has lost the fear of God.”
God’s Son warned His followers,“Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Fear God! Something to think about . . . in reveration!
The fear of God is the hidden principle of obedience . . . –Charles Bridges
©2016 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)