The book of Ecclesiastes takes us on a journey through many of the difficulties of life. It does not sugar coat reality. Instead we get a raw and sometimes seemingly jaded perspective of life on this earth. We see that life is temporary. Possessions and accomplishments, no matter how great will not satisfy. We see that life is full of risks. Some of which will not bear fruit. Life is also full of oppression and suffering. And at the end of the day even the youngest and healthiest will grow old and pass away.
So, how do we live in this kind of world? What is our purpose? When we come to the end we finally read a statement that is intended to address these questions. It is simply this, “fear God and keep His commandments.” That’s it.
For some, the complexity of life would seem to warrant a more complex answer. But, here we have just a few words that are designed to comfort, guide, and give purpose.
I have cancer. Fear God and keep His commandments. I lost my job. Fear God and Keep His commandments. My children have turned away from God. Fear God and keep His commandments. I don’t know how I am going to make it financially. Fear God and keep His commandments.
These words are meant to cover each and every one of these situations. But is it really that simple? Yes and no. Yes, it is that simple in that it is that simplistic. But no, it is not simple in that it can be very complex and very difficult in applying and living out this command.
And so we must immerse ourselves in the truths of God’s Word so that we can more fully know Him and how He calls us to live. All the while trusting that obedience to His plan is what is best for us. As we do this we will at times get clarity on how to live and respond to the challenges of life.
But then there are also times in which the uncertainty persists. We feel as if we are merely stumbling through the darkness in search of direction. When these moments of life hit us we are reminded of our frailty and total dependence on God. As frightening as this may be it can also be moments in which we grow the most spiritually. In these moments we must fall down and beg God to give us wisdom, discernment, strength, and power to endure.
And then the hardest part of all. We must trust. We must trust that God is good and that He is sovereign. He loves us perfectly and is somehow working everything together for our good and His glory. This is the message of Ecclesiastes. To trust that in the seeming chaos of life our God is completely in control. And He will always work every trial and triumph for our good.