The End of the Matter

Reading the Word

Ecclesiastes 12:9–14 (ESV)

Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. 10 The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.

11 The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. 12 My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Understanding and Applying the Word

After a long look at the Book of Ecclesiastes, we come to these final words of conclusion. The book has considered all of the things people tend to desire to bring meaning and purpose to life. It has considered material possessions, power, and wisdom among others. All of these things are “vanity” because they mean nothing when we go to the grave, which every one of us will.

The only meaning there is in life and the only way to live life with purpose is to acknowledge that we have a Creator and to live for him. As the writer says, “The end of the matter…Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” We must live for God, realizing that we will one day stand before him to be judged. Let us not waste our lives on any other pursuit than knowing God and serving him.


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