"This is the end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." Ecclesiastes 12:13
I tend to enjoy sitting with a group of trusted people to think through making decisions. Whether it is something fun like planning a vacation with my wife or something more burdensome, such as dealing with a difficult problem at church, I like to listen to a multitude of opinions and perspectives. I feel comforted by analyzing (perhaps overanalyzing?) decisions. I like to collect and consider data.
Then comes the moment of decision. After you have discussed and debated, there comes a time when the issue has to be decided. You have heard all the options, and now it is time to make a choice.
This is similar to the thought process of the Preacher in Ecclesiastes. After twelve chapters of explaining the way of wisdom, walking through frustrations, and sharing lessons learned along the road, it is time to sum it all up. After all the discussion and preaching, what will it be? What will you do? What is required of you?
Solomon says succinctly, "This is the end of the matter; all has been heard." He has looked at life through every angle. He has shared words of encouragement and let us in on the times of frustration his heart has felt. Now it is time for Solomon to share with us the final verdict on what life really means. His conclusion? We are to fear God and keep His commandments.
This is not the command to fear the final judgment for those who belong to God. Instead, this is the understanding that God alone is to be revered, praised, and given the highest devotion. Acts 9:31, describing the early church, says they were "walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit." It is a beautiful paradox. Those who fear the Lord will enjoy true peace. Others who give no thought of the Lord will never find comfort. Let your mind dwell on this for a moment. The fear of the Lord brings the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
Keep His Commandments
Life is not all that complicated. We are simply to fear God and keep His commandments. Christians are not only to read the Word, but are to do what it says (James 1:22). After all the Bible study, listening to sermons, attending discipleship groups, and many other useful things a church may offer, it all comes down to simple obedience.
It makes sense. If a person truly fears God, it stands to reason that obedience will follow. If a believer has a genuine reverence for the Lord and honestly sees Him as the King over all, there will not be room for arguement or denial. However, to the contrary, if someone does not truly see God as the only One worthy of praise, then obedience will be a struggle. How you revere the Lord will determine how you will respond to Him.
This is the Whole Duty of Man
Give reverence to God and obey Him. In that simple statement is found what is required of us. Too many times, we tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. We worry about many things. Yet all that is required of us is to worship the Lord through active obedience.
Please catch this part. You can do these two things (fear the Lord and obey His commandments) regardless of your income, age, or place in life. You do not need a different job, more opportunities, or a bigger stage. You do not need your circumstances to change for you to be able to do this. You can be pleasing to God today.
Do not miss the connection. The One who is worthy to tell you what is required is the One you must please. A person may choose to live their entire life ignoring the commands of God. Yet one day, they will stand before the Lord in judgment. As I have heard it said, you may be able to temporarily ignore God, but you cannot permanently avoid Him. The Creator has the right to tell you what is required, and His commandments should be the focus of our lives.
Will you fear the Lord? Will you obey His Word? If so, there is nothing else required of you. If not, there is nothing of significance you will ever do.
"Anchored in Hope" is a book Michael has written that contains forty daily devotionals. Whether you are a new Christian or a seasoned believer, these daily readings will strengthen your faith as they point you to Christ. To order your copy, click here. To request prayer, please click here.