Jesus Christ is - The Wonderful One
To Him be the glory both now and forever.  Amen.

Fear God and keep His commandments!  An exposition of Ecclesiastes 12.....

However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all.  But let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many.  Everything to come is meaningless.
Ecclesiastes 11:8


One of my favorite chapters of the Holy Bible is Ecclesiastes 12.  Come share my joy in it as I explain to you some of its poetic truths.  I will provide it first without comment and then do a line by line exposition for you.

Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
"I find no pleasure in them"-
before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;
when the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop,
when the grinders cease because they are few,
and those looking through the windows grow dim;
when the doors to the street are closed
and the sound of grinding fades;
when men rise up at the sound of birds,
but all their songs grow faint;
when men are afraid of heights
and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
and the grasshopper drags himself along
and desire no longer is stirred.
Then man goes to his eternal home
and mourners go about the streets.
Remember him-before the silver cord is severed,
or the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
or the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher.
"Everything is meaningless!"

Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs.  The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.
The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails-given by one Shepherd.  Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.  Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.

------

Oh...beautiful and magnificent writing - comprised of 1599 characters in 372 words, in 14 verses (KJV).  Let me share my thoughts on it with you:

Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
"I find no pleasure in them"
-

Here Solomon implores the reader to not wait on a relationship with God.  Youth, and its many distractions, is still the perfect time to begin - and strive to perfect - this relationship.  With the passing of youth we experience "the days of trouble."  First, pressures of family and work come up.  No sooner are we getting through this phase than we reach the age of physical and mental deterioration.  These are the days we will say "I find no pleasure in them."

before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,

Here Solomon is referring to the loss of vision - macular degeneration, cataracts, and all the other eye problems we experience in this fallen world.  As our eyes lose focus with age, out goes part of our pleasure.......I'd look dorky with glasses!

and the clouds return after the rain;

With the coming of old age comes one infirmity after another rains/clouds, rains/clouds, etc.

when the keepers of the house tremble,

Here Solomon calls the arms and legs "the keepers of the house."  As humans, we tend to get the shakes in these areas with age.  Oh! if it were only because of joy at the sound of a well sung hymn!  In Hebrews, it says:  Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.  "Make level paths for your feet, "so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.  Hebrews 12:12.

I pray that while you have the chance, you strengthen yourself spiritually through Christ so that when your physical body wears out, you have the inner strength of His glorious Spirit to take you through these times of trouble.

and the strong men stoop,

It's obvious that as we age the floor seems to get closer!

when the grinders cease because they are few,

Here we are reminded that chewing will become more difficult with age due to the loss of our pearly whites!  Sure look forward to those Gerbers' smushed carrots....

and those looking through the windows grow dim;

Again, Solomon reminds us of our coming vision problems.  Oops, I dropped my glasses!

when the doors to the street are closed
and the sound of grinding fades;


As the years go by, our hearing goes with them.  Sometimes completely - "closed doors," and sometimes to a lesser extent - "the sound of grinding fades."  Either way, this is what we can expect...turn up your hearing aid!

when men rise up at the sound of birds,
but all their songs grow faint;

Yes, man wakes up earlier as he ages - with or without alarm clocks.  The comparison to the birds is because they start their songs so early in the morning.  Big problem though - we may be up early to hear them, but we can't because our hearing's shot!

when men are afraid of heights

As we age, heights generally scare us more than during youth...

and of dangers in the streets;

...so do those ruffians standing on the corner.

when the almond tree blossoms

When its in full bloom, the almond tree is covered with white blossoms.  This comparison to our hair turning its beautiful and well deserved silver is quite poetic.  My beard's already looking a little different!

and the grasshopper drags himself along

Even though your ears are having trouble hearing the sound of the birds, the grasshopper's song never seems to end as you lie in bed with your old bones and wish it were morning!

and desire no longer is stirred.

Ouch!  That's all I can say!

Then man goes to his eternal home

The King James Version calls it the "long home."  Either way, our bodies are heading to a box in the ground - longer than it is wide.

and mourners go about the streets.

In the time of Solomon, professional mourners were employed to stand outside homes of the deceased.  If you were wealthy, you'd have lots of them, but whatever - the job could only mean one thing.

Remember him-before the silver cord is severed,

Again, Solomon implores us to remember Him - the one who loves us, who created us, who came to die for us.  Before we know it, something will go wrong with our jar of clay - our human shell - and it will be too late.  The silver cordis the spine and its marrow.  Its loosening causes a stopping of all the nervous system and brings on the approach of old age and death.

or the golden bowl is broken;

Thegolden bowlis our head and its contents (or lack thereof.)  If it gets broken, or the brain pops a vessel, we're on our way to the checkout counter.

before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
 
This is that great vein as it carries blood to the right ventricle of the heart - here called the spring.

or the wheel broken at the well,

This is that great artery which receives blood from the left ventricle of the heart - here designated as the well.

and the dust returns to the ground it came from,

This is an echo of what God said to Adam:

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.  Genesis 3:19

and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Yes, we are eternal beings.  Scripture makes it clear that we will all return to God - it will be for judgment when that happens.  I pray you make the and get right with your Creator.

"Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher.
"Everything is meaningless!"


Without a doubt, outside of Christ, it's all meaningless.  All our money, all our treasures, hard work, savings, relationships, desires, aims, goals, boastings...all of it.

Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs.  The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.

It's made clear here that knowledge is important, but equally so we need to impart it to others.  The knowledge of Christ is their only hope...don't keep it to yourself!  As with all Holy Scripture, these are "just the right words."  They are upright and true - they are the words of your Creator reaching out to you.  As it says in Hebrews 4:12:

For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to the dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart

& again...

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation.  For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit

2 Peter 1:20, 21

Because of this, the power of the Gospel, if properly presented, will cut through all barriers.

The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails-given by one Shepherd.  Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.

Who is the one Shepherd?  It is Christ Jesus.  The words of Christ as put forth in Holy Scripture are all we need to properly guide us to all righteousness.  There are several other times in the Holy Bible where we are told to not add to it or subtract from it, or to deviate from its precepts.  Please take the time to read Deuteronomy 4:1,2; Joshua 1:7, and Revelation 22:18,19.  Goads are prods used to move animals along.  In this, Solomon is saying that the words of the wise are what prompt us toward God and an everlasting relationship with Him.

Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

Isn't this the truth!  Anybody with or without a driver's license can write a book no matter how absurd.  The same today applies to web sites.  As I've said elsewhere, there is nothing on this site, except biblical passages, that should be considered inspired.  If it's typed in yellow, that's important.  Everything else is either my opinion or analysis, or borrowed from someone else.  You must be discerning in your readings of biblical analysis.  A good policy is "Dont tell me what that passage means...tell me what is says."  Use your common sense and, more importantly, the influence of the Holy Spirit as you study the Holy Bible.  Imagine Solomon having written this almost 3000 years ago.  He correctly said that there is no end to the making of books at a time in history when hardly any books had been written!  Just imagine how overwhelming the sight of a modern library would be for him today.

Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Truly, it is the whole duty of man- to fear God, to obey His Holy Word, to "...fix our eyes on Jesus..."  Hebrews 12:2.  And, how do we keep his commandments?  First, you must learn them.  Immerse yourself in the Holy Bible.  Drink from it daily and then obey it.  Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30What a wonderful promise from a loving and gracious Creator!  He promises to teach you if you are willing to learn. 

If you're enjoying this page, please click the box and let others know.  You can only vote once a day, but please click on it each time you stop by the site.  Thank you, Charlie...:

Please let me know if this page has helped you: OldMan@Wonderful1.com.

--TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORIOUS GRACE...  Ephesians 1:6

Oh Christ, how I love you with my very soul.  May you become greater and greater  in me until I fade away.    You O Lord are my Rock, my salvation, my breath, and my very existence.  I love you Jesus!

-----------

Lunar Photos  most graciously provided by Anthony Ayiomamitis at www.perseus.gr .

Also pictured:  Almond Tree in Blossom - Pierre Bonnard (c 1945) National Gallery of Australia.

Old Man Photo from www.traveladventures.org.

Children in photo:  My daughter, Tangerine and my son, Thorr when they were little.

Japanese Garden photo provided by Flowers Photo Gallery of Japan.





"And His name shall be called Wonderful"
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