Reading the Word
Ecclesiastes 12:1–8 (ESV)
12 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, 3 in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, 4 and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— 5 they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets— 6 before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, 7 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. 8 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
Understanding and Applying the Word
In these verses, we are forced to contemplate death. It is a topic that many people would rather avoid, but at some point we all think about it. It is the ever-present reality that exists over everything life has to offer. We will one day “return to the earth” and our spirit will return to God who gave it. Therefore, we are encouraged to remember our Creator in our youth. We read of the cycle of life in these verses as we pass from youth and vibrancy to aged and in decline.
If we are a short time from returning to God, we must come to an understanding of what God wants from us. What does he expect? How will we be judged when we return to him? Jesus tells us that the Law is fulfilled in the commands to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is what God wants from us, but we have all failed at these things. Thankfully, God is gracious and forgiving and promises to forgive our sins if we turn from them and trust in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the only thing that can make us right before God.
As you go about your day today, make sure you are ready to stand before your Creator. It may happen before you expect. You may live many years. Either way, we will all stand before him one day and give an account.
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