Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14: Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion 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, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
In our scripture reading today, the writer of Ecclesiastes is emphasizing the importance of reverently trusting and obeying God. Throughout the first eleven chapter of Ecclesiastes, the writer has talked about how everything is meaningless. And now in the last chapter, we realize that we can find meaning for our lives after all. Meaning is not found in the things that this world has to offer, such as worldly pleasures, material possessions or wealth. True meaning is found in our relationship and our daily walk with God. As we live in obedience and trust in God, we begin to find true meaning in our relationship with our creator.
This kind of reverent obedience and trust in God reminded me of an old hymn that I remember from thirty years ago in church. If you are under thirty, you may not know the beautiful old hymn called: Trust and Obey. The first stanza is as follows:
When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Job 28:28 also speaks of what is means to live in reverent fear and obedience of the Lord: And he said to man, ‘The fear of the lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.’
Psalm 111:10 also refers to the “fear” of God that leads to wisdom: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
Proverbs 1:7 also mentions the “fear” of the Lord and its relationship to wisdom and knowledge: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
And finally, Psalm 130:3-4: If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.
This week out in the world, I have met people who are mean-spirited, spiteful, promise-breakers, and those who are full of self-pride. I have also ran across some very kind-spirited, generous, truthful and honest people. As followers of God, we as Christians will encounter all types of people during the course of our day. It is our duty and responsibility to respond to non-believers in such a way that they will see Christ in us and want to know more about how to follow our risen Lord.
What does it mean to live in “fear of God?” To me it’s living a life that follows and obeys the commandments that God has given us. We “listen” to God and we follow His teachings not those of the world that we live in. As Christians, we are given the promise that if we live in reverent obedience to God, we will find true meaning for our lives. As we place our trust in God, we will live more meaningful, purpose filled lives and we will live joyfully in relationship with our creator.
Prayer: Creator God, help me as your follower, to live a life that is lived in obedience to your commandments. Give me the strength to say “no” to the things of this world that tempt me and lead me astray. Teach me how to rest in your word and your promises and to live a life that is a light for your kingdom. Give me strength each and every day to shun those things that are evil and guide me in the paths of righteousness. Amen.
Trust and Obey Hymn
Hymn Writer ~ John H. Sammis, 1846-1919
Hymn Music ~ Daniel B. Towner, 1850-1919