Solomon addresses himself as “the Preacher”. He is the one that will proclaim the spiritual truths of God to those in his nation and to Christians throughout time.
Keep in mind, Solomon learned these truths by trying to find the meaning to life through experiencing all this world has to offer. Solomon was uniquely suited to learn these lessons and share these truths with the people of God…
First of all, very few men possess sufficient wealth and power to be able to sample all this world has to offer (1 Kings 10:23).
Secondly, only Solomon and a few others throughout time, have been universally respected causing his teachings to be taken very seriously and thoughtfully by all (1 Kings 4:30-34). (Keep in mind, even Christ Himself and His teachings were rejected by many of those around Him.)
Solomon was God’s man, in God’s place, at God’s time, by God’s grace, to learn this most important truth and proclaim it with authority to those he loved. May we all listen carefully as Solomon reveals to us the true meaning to life and answer the question… “What Is Our Life If Not Lived for The Lord ?”.
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; (2) While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: (3) In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, (4) And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; (5) Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: (6) Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. (7) Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Folks, as we grow older we find ourselves changing and, in most cases, the change is not for the better. These changes take place due to mankind’s fallen condition and the effects of sin that touch each of our lives. Solomon, as he observes the world around him, explains the need to serve the Lord while we are yet in our youth…
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say,
In Eccl 12:1-8, King Solomon reminds us of the need to always keep our Creator, and His desires for us, in the forefront of our minds, especially during our days of youth.
Solomon backs up his statement by explaining that as we progress in life it gradually becomes more difficult to serve the Lord. He gives this advancing time of life the description of “the evil days” (ie the days of adversity and distress). He calls them evil days in the context of aging’s devastating effects on both our physical and mental health.
He goes further and explains the effects that aging brings upon us, He does this by using the symbolism of a vibrant city, and its individual citizens, that slowly become inactive and finally deserted…
I have no pleasure in them;
Physical aches and pains take the pleasure out of many of the activities that we used to find enjoyable. As the aging process continues, for many of us, pleasurable days seem to become scarcer with each passing day.
While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened,
As we age, our eyesight grows dim, causing many sources of light to become darkened as we find it much harder to see.
nor the clouds return after the rain:
Old age has a tendency to bring with it a series of health problems that return on a consistent basis. Instead of having physical issues “every now and then”, they begin to appear more frequently, and in many cases become chronic.
In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble,
Our immune system begins to struggle and we find ourselves becoming ill more frequently, and acquiring illnesses that we had previously resisted.
and the strong men shall bow themselves,
Our physical strength begins to wane, as we can no longer do the heavy manual labor that we were used to doing. Our weakness progresses until we cannot hold ourselves erect and we begin to stoop.
and the grinders cease because they are few,
Our teeth decay and we lose them until only a few remain.
and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
We can no longer see clearly with our eyes. Not only do we need more light to see (vs 2), but also our eyes become cloudy with cataracts and other eye ailments.
And the doors shall be shut in the streets,
The doors of our mouths and lips are closed (Psa 141:3, Micah 7:5), no longer able to receive or digest the nutrients we need to survive. We are no longer able to eat the foods we enjoy due to digestive distresses and, eventually, we struggle to eat any food at all.
when the sound of the grinding is low,
Aging brings upon us gradual hearing loss (and deafness) that does not allow us to hear ourselves chewing our food.
and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird,
Arising early due to an inability to sleep due to worries and light sleeping that is awakened by any small noise are common as we grow older.
and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;
Our natural talents and abilities are gradually lost. Those who could sing joyous songs can no longer praise their Lord and bring joy to the heart of their listeners, as their talent to sing is taken away from them.
Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way,
Fear of accidents, falling, etc seem to dominate old age. In our youth we could climb ladders to high places, now we are afraid of falling off a simple stepstool. These fears have a tendency to stop us from attempting to perform activities to which we did not give a second thought.
and the almond tree shall flourish,
The almond tree has gray white blossoms. This speaks of us losing our youthful hair color as gray hair replaces it.
and the grasshopper shall be a burden,
In our youth, we could easily deal with small pests by catching them and/or stepping upon them etc. Now, as we get older, our reflexes are slowed. These creatures evade our efforts to catch them and we have difficulty stepping upon them.
and desire shall fail:
As our age advances, we find our desire for activity and service reduced due to the pain and suffering that accompanies them. Even our very “zest for life” is stolen by the aging process, stealing away our enjoyment of life itself.
These effects of aging come to dwell within our bodies like companions who move into our home and begin to reside with us. With the passage of time, these companions increase in number and length of their stay, until they finally reside with us on a permanent basis. They leave us only when, through their presence within us, they bring our life to an end…
because man goeth to his long home,
Our physical death
and the mourners go about the streets:
Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
Our death described as:
- the silver cord binding our spirit to our body is broken, releasing our spirit to depart.
- the golden bowl of our body is broken taking away its usefulness and ability to perform the purposes of its creation, to glorify God in all we do.
- the pitcher of our body is no longer able to retain the spirit within it.
- the wheel of our body is no longer useful to anyone desiring water from the cistern. Once dead our ability to serve others come to a complete end.
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
As aging brings about physical death, the spirit departs from our physical body. At that point in time, our body returns back to the ground and our spirit enters into the presence of God for its eventual judgment and consignment to its eternal dwelling place.
In this passage, Solomon explains in great detail the devastating effects of the aging process on all of us. He does this in an effort to emphasize the need to live for the Lord while we are young and not hindered by the many ills that aging brings upon us.
May we all take Solomon’s words to heart and seek to serve our Lord throughout our lifetimes. No matter what our current age, we should serve the Lord now… before the aging process takes a greater effect on each one of us with the passing of time.
Solomon’s pursuit of the meaning of life included:
|1.||2:1-3||The pursuit of carnal desires (the base pleasures found in a fallen world)|
|2.||2:4-11||The pursuit of material possessions through human labors|
|3.||2:12-17||The pursuit of worldly wisdom, madness and folly|
|4.||2:18-23||The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #1|
|5.||2:24-26||The pursuit of responsible (frugal & wise) living to retain worldly goods Prt #2|
|6.||3:1-8||A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events Prt #1|
|7.||3:9-15||A recognition of the Lord’s sovereign control over all life events Prt #2|
|8.||3:16-22||A recognition of our need of Christ to see the nature and purpose of our life.|
|9.||4:1-3||A recognition that never being born is better than the sufferings of this life.|
|10.||4:4-16||The pursuit of earthly wisdom, diligence and living responsibly|
|11.||5:1-7||The pursuit of worldly vows, contracts, and promises|
|12.||5:8-17||The pursuit of worldly riches|
|13.||5:18-20||A recognition that enjoyment of this earthly life is God’s gracious gift to man|
|14.||6:1-2||A recognition of man’s inability to enjoy that which God has given to him.|
|15.||6:3-10||A recognition of man’s sinfulness, mortality and need of humility before God|
|16.||6:11-12||A recognition of the vanity of all that lies under the sun.|
|17.||7:1-10||The pursuit of prideful living|
|18.||7:11-23||A recognition of the value of Godly wisdom|
|19.||7:24-29||The pursuit of Godly enabling|
|20.||8:1-5||The pursuit of proper submission to authority based upon Godly wisdom|
|21.||8:6-15||A recognition man needs Godly wisdom because he cannot control his own life nor see the eternal benefits of service to the Lord.|
|22.||8:16-17||A recognition that men cannot fully understand the work of God on earth|
|23.||9:1-3||A recognition that righteous and wicked share common life events|
|24.||9:4-12||A recognition that life is better then death|
|25.||9:13-18||A recognition of the excellence and rejection of Godly wisdom|
|26.||10:1-15||A recognition of the dangers of foolishness|
|27.||10:16-17||A recognition of principles for good rulership|
|28.||10:18||A recognition of the dangers of slothfulness|
|29.||10:19||A recognition of the value of money|
|30.||11:1-6||A recognition of the need to sow our seed for the benefit of others.|
|31.||11:7-8||A recognition of the need to enjoy the days of blessings and expect the troublesome times of life.|
|32.||11:9-10||A recognition of the need to use the blessings of youth in service to the Lord.|
|33.||12:1-7||A recognition of the devastating effects of the aging process on all mankind.|
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