Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
These two final verses in the book of Ecclesiastes are, in my opinion, the wisest words Solomon spoke throughout the entire book. They boil it all down to the purest essence of his teachings, and if we would endeavor to simply follow these last words of his book, we would do well.
After writing so much of this book from and under the sun premise, eliminating any eternal accountability, Solomon finally gets it right. He understands that we will indeed be held accountable to God. The phrase fear God is not only the beginning of the journey, but stays with us all the way through to the end.
To fear God is to have an attitude of respect and awe toward Him. We have only a glimmer in our minds of Who God really is, and what is His immense power; along with that, His immense love for mankind is underestimated. John 15:13. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a Man lay down His life for His friends.”
Friendship with Jesus is the greatest treasure we have. The way we show our love toward Him is to keep His commandments (If ye love Me, keep My commandments–John 14:15).
For this is the whole duty of man: In this phrase, the word duty does not appear in any Hebrew manuscripts. It actually reads, For this is the whole of the man. It is the summation of man and the purpose for which he was created: To love God and obey Him. Why does it sound so simple, but seems so hard to accomplish?
That would be because, while we may truly love Him, we also love ourselves. We are born with that sin nature that wants to satisfy our own desires, whether or not they are in accordance with God’s desires for us.
Finally, Solomon declares that every work will be called into judgment: The good, the evil, and the secret things that we think no one else will ever know.
God knows. If you are into internet porn, God knows. If your favorite reading material is full of obscenity and lust, God knows. If you harbor hatred toward someone that has never been expressed, God knows. As Solomon says in Proverbs 20:27, ” The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” Our own conscience is used by God to search out our deepest sin. We cannot hide it from Him.
A favorite passage of mine is II Cor. 4:17-5:1.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
So we close this study of the book of Ecclesiastes. I hope there has been something that you have taken away from it that will be a blessing to you as you continue this earthly journey NOT under the sun, but under the mighty hand of God.