Some of the best writing known to mankind has come from the pens of people in the latter stages of life, from folks who are able to look back over it all with a grand view from Mt. Perspective. From such a precipice, the thoughtful person is able to see in a glance all of the highs and lows, seeing beginnings and ends, visions and fulfillments … or lack thereof. These words of perspective can be invaluable to the wise reader, to one who does not blow off their instruction as mere ramblings of an aged mind out of touch with the current modern world.
And our brief final words this week on Solomon will be to share the brief final words of Solomon. They are from Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 …
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
In the end, it’s really not complicated. Just obey God. That’s it. That is our duty.
The judgment being spoken of here by Solomon is not related to the afterlife. Scriptural truths about heaven and the resurrection that we know from this side of the cross and from New Testament revelation were not at all in the minds of Old Testament people. Solomon is essentially saying that God will in this life bless those who honor him and stand in judgment over acts that are not in line with God’s revealed word.
So when did Solomon write these words? We believe the Song of Solomon to be from early in his adult life, Proverbs to be in the prime of life, and Ecclesiastes to be from the final years. But was this before or after God’s anger at Solomon’s drift? In the historical accounts, it is as if Solomon is just put on the shelf at that point. We can’t answer the question for sure, but I am going to speculate that is was rather late in life and even beyond the time when God chose to move on from Solomon and the united kingdom.
In any event, not honoring God or truth never really works. It never has, not even for the wisest and most blessed person ever. Life is too short for drifting away from God. Just don’t do it.
NOTE: If you want to get a little jump on the sermon this week and on next week’s writings, read the Book of Jonah; it won’t take long.