Chapter 11 began with a message that would not come from an old, jaded, cynical Scrooge-type man.
He started with the advice that you should be generous with those in need, because your giving is like a farmer sowing grain. It will yield a return. And if you have the ability now, you never know when your fortunes may change and you may need someone else’s generosity.
And then Solomon advised that the young should enjoy their youth, keeping in mind that God will be the judge of all that we do. So we should avoid evil.
Chapter 12 says the young should keep the Creator in mind, because in our old age life becomes difficult. Our senses dull and our bodies become weak. And ultimately, we die.
And at the very end of the chapter and the book, Solomon refers to himself in the third person and calls himself the Preacher. And he says that after observing all that he could, he wrote down the best words that he could; words of truth. Words that could hold you steady in the storms of life. Words that were given by God.
And his conclusion was this: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Because God will judge every work, every act, whether good or evil.
Beloved, the only true and lasting happiness and peace is found in knowing God and pleasing Him. Anything apart from that will only bring emptiness, heartbreak, spiritual bankruptcy and ultimately eternal separation from God. And as Christians, we know that the only way to truly know God is when we have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Solomon didn’t know Jesus by name, but he came to know that God was his only hope, and I am sure that God credited his account in the same way as He did with Abraham because of that faith.
I’ll be 61 years old in a few months, and even though I have not lived my life with the same privileges as Solomon did, my experiences have taught me the same lessons. When I have gone my own way, veering from the path that I knew God would want me to travel, I have always found nothing but emptiness and sadness. It is only when I cling tightly to Him that I find that unshakeable peace, that joy which is independent of my circumstances, that *knowing* that everything will be alright.
I hope you have found that marvelous truth in your own life. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” That is what God wants for you. And so do I.