Updated: Jun 1, 2021
This Week's Scripture & Reflection: Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Imagine watching your favorite music artist perform live in concert! There is a sense of awe and wonder that overcomes you as you watch them perform and entertain! That sense of awe often leads to verbal praise and an internal devotion to that particular artist, or in popular terminology, “fandom”. What leads to the resounding praise from our lips and deep-seated admiration in our hearts for this particular artist? It could be their vocal acrobatics, range, tone, or ability to create unique musical moments on stage that you may not have heard on the album! Ultimately, we designate certain individuals as our favorite something, because there is something inherently unique about what they do that we love above all others and that distinguishes them from everyone else! Others may attempt to mimic or impersonate that individual, but they can never do as that individual does or be who that individual is!
When we stop to consider the God of our salvation and solely reflect on who He is, we will undoubtedly find ourselves in a state of pure awe and amazement! He is the uncreated Creator; as opposed to coming into existence as the rest of creation did, He always existed! More importantly, the entire universe and its inhabiting creation came into existence through the words of His mouth (cf. Hebrews 11:3). If we were to sit and truly reflect upon how His very existence transcends the mental capacities He created and implanted in us, it would leave us speechless! The prophet Jeremiah gives a trustworthy statement when he declares “There is none like You, O LORD; You are great, and great is Your mighty and powerful name” (cf. Jeremiah 10:6).
Similar to the book of Lamentations, the author of Ecclesiastes does not reveal his actual name but instead chooses to refer to Himself as “the Preacher” (cf. Ecclesiastes 1:1). Many scholars attribute the authorship of the book of Ecclesiastes to none other than King Solomon, and with good reason! Ecclesiastes sits directly in between the books of Proverbs and the Songs of Solomon (also known as the Song of Songs), two books in which King Solomon is the primary author. Moreover, the author of Ecclesiastes identifies himself as a son of David, which Solomon was, and states that he has been King of Israel in Jerusalem, Solomon being the only son of David to have been so (cf. Ecclesiastes 1:12).
Ecclesiastes resembles the book of Lamentations in that the overall mood of the book comes across as very hopeless and melancholy. Throughout Ecclesiastes, Solomon the Preacher discusses to various extents and depths the futility of life, its pleasures, and possessions. If there was anyone qualified to speak on this subject, it would be him! For the majority of his life, Solomon possessed it all: fame, fortune, women, notoriety, and above all, wisdom directly from the Lord! Yet, he reflects here in Ecclesiastes on the life of luxury that he once lived and realizes that none of those pleasures truly and fully satisfied him. Moreover, Solomon realizes that all of life’s fleeting pleasures amount to no lasting value in comparison to the brevity of life itself and the reality of death. James, the brother of Jesus, echoes these same sentiments in the New Testament when he says “…You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (cf. James 4:14b).
As opposed to seeking the fleeting lusts and pleasures of this life, Solomon encourages his readers throughout and penultimately at the end of the book of Ecclesiastes to “fear God…and keep His commandments” for He is alone is eternal! In this particular context and many additional ones in Scripture, the command to “fear” does not mean to be afraid, but rather to revere, to show honor and respect with awe. Throughout his discourse, Solomon makes several distinctions between God and man, such as the finite wisdom of man in contrast to the infinite wisdom of God and the dependency of man in contrast to the self-sufficiency of God (cf. Ecclesiastes 3:11, 5:2, 8:16-17). He does this to demonstrate and emphasize the supremacy of God above man and all things! In acknowledging the supremacy and eternal nature of God, Solomon commands his readers to revere God and to keep His commandments, which Jesus identically echoes to His disciples in the New Testament saying, “If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments” (cf. John 14:15).
To stand in awe of God means to stand in wonder and amazement of who He is! There are simply not enough words to fully and completely describe His character, His deeds, His eminence, and self-existence! This sense of speechless wonder that overwhelms us when we consider and acknowledge the incomparable grandeur of God should result in a reverent fear of Him that ultimately leads to obedience! If we truly believe that there is no one and nothing like the Lord God Almighty, then the only appropriate response to this revelation of Him is worship and obedience! As we continue to seek His face and grow in our understanding of who He is, He will continue to reveal more of Himself to us, which should result in an intentional lifestyle of worship, not solely a moment.
When you truly revere the Lord, you approach His throne boldly, not disrespectfully because you recognize who you are in light of who He is! When you truly honor the Lord and regard Him with the highest esteem, you worship Him in Spirit and truth, not from your flesh. When you truly revere the God of your salvation, you honor Him not solely with your lips, but with your whole heart and your actions! As you start this new week, seek the Holy Spirit and ask Him to reveal any area of your life that does not exhibit the awe-filled reverence for God that you may truly possess on the inside! He will do it, and when He does, we must be ready to respond accordingly, that is if we truly fear the Lord like we profess that we do!