The Book of Ecclesiastes
James J. Barker
REMEMBER NOW THY CREATOR
We are reminded again of
that familiar poem. “Only one
life. ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will
- I stated last week that in
Ecclesiastes 11 & 12, King Solomon comes to his conclusion (cf. 12:13,
- Chapter 12 really begins
toward the end of chapter 11.
(There were no chapter and verse divisions in the original Hebrew
- Youth is generally a
carefree and enjoyable time (11:9).
Not a time for sin and worldly pleasures – “for all these things God will
bring thee into judgment” (11:9b), but a time for good, clean fun.
- Life is to be enjoyed – but
only in line with the Bible.
- In verse 10, Solomon is not
saying that childhood and youth are unimportant or meaningless. In fact they are very important,
and very meaningful.
- What King Solomon means is
they are transient and fleeting.
Childhood and youth go by very quickly and must not be wasted.
Franklin said, “Lost time is never
SERVE GOD WHILE
YOU ARE YOUNG AND STRONG (12:1).
- It is always best to make
decisions for the Lord when you are young. It is not a pleasant subject to talk
about but is a fact that as a person gets older his faculties, and mental and
physical strength diminish (12:1, 2).
Here impending darkness and cloudiness signify old
- There is a song I am fond
of. It goes like
Give of your best to the
Give of the strength of your
- That is what King Solomon is
saying here in Eccl. 12. He uses
figurative language to describe old age.
One preacher said, “Nowhere in literature is there a more classic
description of old age than in the verses of (Ecclesiastes) chapter 12” (William
MacDonald, Enjoying Ecclesiastes).
- “keepers of the house” (12:3) = the arms and
- “strong men” (12:3) = legs.
- “grinders” (12:3) = teeth.
- “those that look out” (12:3) = eyes.
- “the doors shall be shut” (12:4) = ears.
- “he shall rise up at the voice of the bird” (12:4) = old
folks wake up easy, sleeplessness.
- “and all the daughters of music shall be brought low”
(12:4) = cannot appreciate the singing and cannot sing very
- “they shall be afraid of that which is high” (12:5) =
older folks are scared of any height, and one of their chief fears is that they
will fall. It is difficult for them
to climb stairs.
- “and the almond tree shall flourish” (12:5) = a
blossoming almond tree is white on top; hair turns
- “and the grasshopper shall be a burden” (12:5) = the
grasshopper that drags itself along is a picture of the halting gait of the
elderly who may have to use canes or walkers to move
- “desire shall fail” (12:5) = appetite, romance and desire
are often gone.
- “because man goeth to his long home” (12:5) =
- “silver cord be loosed” (12:6) = the spinal
- “golden bowl” (12:6) = the
- “the pitcher be broken” (12:6) = the
- “the wheel broken at the cistern” (12:6) = the
SERVE GOD BEFORE IT IS TOO
LATE (12:7, 8).
- Our body is like an old tent
(or tabernacle) that will soon be taken down and packed away (12:7; cf. II Cor.
5:1-4). Then our spirit shall return to God who gave it (12:7; cf. 3:20; Gen.
- When President Adams was an
old man, someone asked him how he was getting along. He answered: “Oh, I’m doing fine, but
this house I live in is getting old, so I think I’ll be moving out soon.” And sure enough, he did move out shortly
after that and went to heaven.
- The apostle Paul wrote,
“absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (II Cor.
- In verse 8, Solomon repeats
1:2. He has come full circle, and
is now concluding his treatise.
- “The words of the wise are
as goads” (12:11), i.e. sticks used to prod cattle. God uses His Word to prod the apathetic,
and the sluggish, and the undisciplined back in
- These words of the wise are
to be “as nails fastened” (12:11), i.e. firmly imbedded into our
SERVE GOD BECAUSE SOME
DAY YOU WILL HAVE TO GIVE AN ACCOUNT (12:13,
- People today do not have a
sense of duty (12:13). But you have
a duty and it is to “fear God and keep His commandments”
- For young people, this
includes obeying your parents and teachers, doing your school work,
- Some day you will have to
stand before God and give an account.
If you have done evil, God knows about
- Benjamin Disraeli said,
“Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle, Old Age a
- Do not make
too many blunders, and you will not have many regrets.
- Solomon started off this
chapter by saying, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth”
(12:1). Why? There are many good reasons. Let me give you the most important: in
the matter of salvation your chances of getting saved are much greater when you
are young. Statistics show that
more come to Christ when they are young.
- Secondly, in the matter of
service you have more to offer God when you start serving Him at a young
- Young people: are you
serving God right now? Are you
- William Cowper wrote,
up half mankind
And add two-thirds of the remaining
And find the total of their hopes and
- This concludes our study of
this wonderful book of Ecclesiastes.
It has been very interesting.
- We have heard the voice of antiquity (3,000 years
- We have heard the voice of experience – Solomon did it
- We have heard the voice of wisdom – Solomon was
considered the wisest man in the world.
- We have heard the voice of reason – this wisdom has been
proved by men and women, boys and girls in every generation – therefore it is
the most reasonable course of action.
- Most importantly, this is the voice of authority – the
Book of Ecclesiastes, like all the books of the Bible, was inspired by
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