Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

The Last and Final Word

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

15th July 2012

The author of Ecclesiastes sets down his thoughts about life and on the surface, his basic attitude seems to be that it is all meaningless. He reflects on the span of life from youth to wise sage and charts the plunge from the pinnacle of power to the valley of deep spiritual darkness. The Hebrew word ‘hevel’ that is variously rendered ‘vanity’, ‘absurd’, ‘unknowable’, or ‘meaningless’ appears fifty-seven times in the book. He highlights the absurdity of existence.

For him it is all vanity of vanities. He is a wise man, wealthy, well-educated, a member of the elite. He sounds like a king going through a mid-life crisis. He had it all, but now he wearies of life and wonders “What does it all mean?” With all his blessings, he reflects on his life and concludes there is nothing new under the sun.

First, he tried pursuing knowledge (Ecclesiastes 1:13–14). He acquired all the wisdom he could, but it did not bring him what he wanted. He grumbles, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body”. (Ecclesiastes 12:12). He did not find peace and says,

“I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind”. (Ecclesiastes 1:16–18).

Next, he says that he tried pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:1–4). He had houses, vineyards, gardens and parks, slaves at his beck and call, a harem of women concubines, silver and gold to get whatever his eyes desired, and the leisure to enjoy it all (Ecclesiastes 2:4–8). But all this chasing after pleasure only feeds a relentless churning of more desire. The result of all this pleasure seeking was this:

“So I hated life” (Ecclesiastes. 2:17).

Next, he says, “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil”. (Ecclesiastes 2:24). But while work brings us a sense of fulfilment, many people drown themselves in their work and become workaholics. Just working for work’s sake was not the answer for our author.

Next, he says, “A good name is better than fine perfume” (Ecclesiastes 7:1). He worked on building his reputation, making a name for himself. People may try to build or save their reputations, but reputation is not reality. Hyping one’s reputation on earth ignores that ultimately one must face God’s judgment. God, who is no respecter of persons, is not impressed by our earthly approval ratings.

Having tried everything he warns,

“You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment”. (Ecclesiastes 11:9)

The lesson from God comes at the end of this book in the epilogue:

“The last and final word is this: Fear God. Do what he tells you. And that's it”. (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 The Message)

Here is the secret to life he discovered: “Fear God. Do what he tells you”.

Studying, pleasure, work, and reputation are important in life, but the secret to life is living in obedience to God, conformed to the life and death of his son Jesus.

“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 3:10-14)

That’s “the last and final word” – Really “that's it”

Have a good week fearing God and doing what He tells you.

Pastor Barry

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