Day 19

The Teacher’s Conclusion

from the Ecclesiastes reading plan

Ecclesiastes 12:1-14, Proverbs 22:17-21, John 11:25-26

BY Jessica Lamb

My second child recently turned seven months old. Though I experienced these same developmental milestones with my first, something about this second time around has left me even more in awe of how quickly babies grow and change. In his first few days, my son could only hold up his head for seconds at a time. When he came home from the hospital, he could only see about fifteen inches away, just far enough to make out my face as I held him and stared at his tiny features. He can now see me clearly from across the room and crawl toward me as fast as his not-so-tiny legs can move.

I sometimes wonder if that’s one of the reasons he cries on occasion, even when every need I can think of is met. Because today, his world looks totally different than it did yesterday. The whole world is open for discovery, but that growth meant a sharp change in perspective.

I imagined that sort of cry at the end of our reading today. The author of Ecclesiastes has been writing at length about life “under the sun.” A life where delight fades, strong men stoop, songs grow faint, and dust returns. A life where so much is “absolute futility.” Then, in the last few verses, there are these words:

Be warned: there is no end to the making of many books, and much study wearies the body.
When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this:
fear God and keep his commands, because this is for all humanity.
For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing,
whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:12–14).

For almost the entirety of my professional career I have worked in publishing, and I always want to voice a hearty “Amen!” at verse 12. There is no end to the making of books, to writers and philosophers and poets and politicians and artists and parishioners trying to make sense of our place as humans in this world. But the path to seeing our days differently is made clear here, because there is more to see than we once thought. For every single one of us, the key to meaning is the same: fear God, and keep His commands.

This is for all of us, because God is for all of us. He is our Creator, whose eyes saw us while we were still being formed (Psalm 139). He is our Sustainer, who knows when a single sparrow falls, clothes the flowers of the field, and anticipates our needs and worries (Matthew 6:25–34;10:29–31; 1Peter 5:7). He is our Savior, who invites us to follow Him and be part of His kingdom work here and now. His Word equips us to see our world through His perspective, and recast all our days in light of eternity.

So remember your Creator, find your confidence in the Lord. He is the resurrection, He is the life. This is for all of us, if we’ll just take hold and believe it.

Post Comments (46)

46 thoughts on "The Teacher’s Conclusion"

  1. Holly Krylo says:

    So glad I did this study!

  2. Amber Thompson says:

    I am a CNA in a long term care facility, and Ecclesiastes 12 makes me think of my residents. I can see in them exactly what is being talked about here. The ones who built a relationship with God before their bodies failed them and their minds started to fade are still able to hold on to that. They may not be able to tell you what day it is or remember that they just had dinner 30 minutes ago, but they can always remember that Jesus loves them. They can remember every word of their favorite hymns. They have peace and comfort. Even on days when they’re “fiesty”, they know God. On the other hand, the ones who never built that relationship with God tend to be more bitter and have more of a “poor me” attitude. Build your relationship with God now, while you can. Someday it will be all you have left.

  3. Lu says:

    Today was an especially hard day for me. My unborn child past away 3 years ago today, by my own hand, I was 18 and foolish. this is the worst thing that has ever happened in my life. I struggle with it daily. Yet so many good things have come from it. The father and have had a rocky relationship for several years. When I was younger I prayed that God would only let me love my husband. I begged him to keep other men away from me. I prayed all day and night and asked the lord to please show me if this was to be my person or not. I felt the lord say yes to me one night so i went ahead with it. Needless to sati has not been easy. we dated for 7and a half years, had a child together, and lived a minimum of 300 miles apart.Not to mention we were very young and our parents disapproved of our relationship. After we lost the baby things just got worse and we broke up but still continued to fight. We couldn’t let each other go.Talking to my close friend and his cousin a christian man getting married to my friend, they both told me it would do us both good to take time apart. After about six months i just couldn’t take it anymore and i blocked him on everything and recorded myself taking a shot. Meanwhile Covid hit riots broke out. Last night i prayed and did my devotional and felt as tho i should reach out given what day it was.It did not start well. He basically told me he didn’t care and wanted nothing to do with me. It broke my heart so me and my friend went out to have some fun and try to get through the day. Well after getting a little tipsy we convinced our selves to prank call him from her phone which led him to txt her. They talked and she basically told him how horrible he was. That led to us talking again and we fought. But for the first time we were both honest with each other. and we both apologized and he offered to spend a day with me this week in which we will celebrate the short weeks our baby was alive and grew in my belly. It is not time for us to start something as we are still both healing. However this is a small flicker of hope in our future. I believe i stopped looking at God and started looking at the father of my child as my rock. and he couldn’t handle it bc it wasn’t his job. I see now the lord Blesses you when you follow him. So I will continue to give my whole heart to the lord and fear and love him and enjoy my days one at a time. and if the lord chooses to bless me with the gift of having my life long person be him then I will rejoice. And if not Then I will rejoice for tonight bc through all that heartache came love and i will praise God for every good moment I have with this man until the lord decides it is enough

  4. Diana Fleenor says:

    NHU PHAM, First I want to say that I understand that your desire for my healing is out of kindness. And if I had the option to speak with you in private on this issue first, I would. However, because this issue regarding suffering and healing theology lays is so close to my heart, I aim, I pray, to address it with humility and a love for truth and for my sisters in Christ.

    I am very aware of Andrew Wommack and his ministry. I’ve spent many hours in prayer and studying God’s Word as well as seeking out counsel in the body of Christ in this matter. What I have discovered is that Mr. Wommack preaches and practices “Word of Faith” doctrine. In my search I found he teaches, “It’s never God’s will for us to be sick; He wants every person healed every time”. He makes an absolute declaration that Paul’s thorn in the flesh to be not a sickness, though the Greek meaning of the word could very well be an ailment. These a just a couple of the teachings that I do not see to line up with what I have encountered in God’s word over the many years of my illness.

    Oh yes, I very much desire to be healed and pray for it often. I’ve asked elders to pray, friends to pray and pray for others’ healing. When I was presented with Word of Faith teaching early in my illness and was prayed over in those terms and was not healed, my faith was nearly shipwrecked. But God…he had mercy on me and began me on a trek to develop a more robust theology of suffering and healing. And I am still learning much, my faith continues to grow, I am being refined in the fire day by day. God’s grace truly is sufficient for me as I wait in my pleas for deliverance. I believe that though I “groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies,” I have hope, a “hope for what we do not see” and I aim to “wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:21-25).

    I’m grateful for the opportunity to briefly share my beliefs and I hope it is received in the gracious intent of my heart. Prayers for all my sisters here at SRT.

  5. Lindsay C. says:

    Thank you SRT for this study. I’ve done many studies but this was my first time commenting regularly. Thank you ladies of this community for your faithfulness in showing up daily. Thank you writers for taking the words of Ecclesiastes and making them relatable. I appreciate you all.

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