Today’s Scrip-Bit   6 May 2022 Ecclesiastes 12:13.

Ecclesiastes 12:13.       Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 

And the joyful shout of  ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday!’ rises up all over the land. And although it’s a cloudy Friday morning, just the thought that the work week is on its last slippery legs, brings joy to the populace! Oh, how we look forward to our weekends so we can rest, party and be rejuvenated to go back out and do the same dreary, painstaking work the following week. And do we ever need a break from the drudgery of work, the same old, same old, at the end of the five days. 

And Cousin Sol puts it so nicely in his role as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes, when he says: ‘Vanity of vanities (futility of futilities), saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity (futility). What profit hath a man of (from) all his labour which he taketh under the sun?  One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.’ (Eccl. 1:2-4) And that’s no lie! While mankind comes and goes with a few changes, the earth goes on unchanged and undisturbed. 

And according to the scholars, ‘The implied answer to the rhetorical question in verse 3 is that there is no profit for man in his work. This supports the idea that “vanity” refers to a lack of profit, value, or worth. Under the sun is used 29 times in the book and denotes the sphere of Solomon’s observations.’ And please note that ‘vanity’ or futility ‘is never predicated of God, God’s work, God’s revelation, or man as man.’ 

Then, after commenting on the sameness of the sun, the winds, the rivers and seas through all generations, (vs. 5-7) Cousin Sol continues: ‘All things are full of labour (wearisome); man cannot utter (express) it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.’ (Eccl. 1:8-9) And when we look at it from a worldly point of view, it’s the gospel truth! Nothing is really new, for from the beginning to the end, life is just a revolving cycle. 

Then he asks: ‘Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See this is new? it hath been already of old (ancient time), which was before us. There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.’ (Eccl. 1:10-11) We can’t argue much with those statements, for as the scholars explain: ‘The ceaseless cycles of nature illustrate the futility of life. The amazing thing is that the earth goes on, but man, the height of God’s creation, passes into eternity with no remembrance (vs.11).’ 

Now, we all know that Cousin Sol undertook a study to find out what life’s all about and if it’s worth living at all. And throughout history there’s never been anyone better qualified to undertake such a study. As he says: ‘I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate (greatness), and have gotten more wisdom that all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge (I understood great wisdom). And I gave (set) my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit (a grasping of the wind). For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.’ (Eccl. 1:16-18) 

And in chapter 2, Cousin Sol, as the scholars outline, ‘pursued fulfillment through pleasure, wine, great works, wealth, aesthetic and artistic pleasures, and fame. All of these failed to bring lasting satisfaction to the wisest man of all time, yet people three thousand years later are still trying them in search of enduring fulfillment.’ Now, when we consider the awesome truth in the last statement, it brings forth a sad sigh, because we are still running behind the lusts and pleasures of the flesh that hold no lasting good. 

And, as per wisdom and folly, Cousin Sol found that wisdom was better than folly, ‘as far as light excelleth darkness.’ (Eccl. 2:13) However the same thing, death, happens to the wise as to the fool, so why be wise eh? That too was vanity (futile, worthless). However, wisdom is still the most attractive virtue since it brings inner peace: ‘a man’s wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness (sternness) of his face shall be changed.’ (Eccl. 8:1) 

There is also joy in labour, because it is from the hand of God. For although we brought nothing into the world and take nothing with us. ‘Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely (fitting) for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun (in which he toils)  all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion (heritage).’ (Eccl. 5:18) 

And since we don’t have the time nor space to list all of Cousin Sol’s findings in his search for purpose in life, we’ll go straight to his conclusion. He puts it thus: ‘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 judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.’ (Eccl. 12:13-14) 

So, despite the many problems and difficulties we might face in living this earthly life, we must remember that our first duty is always to reverence and worship our great God and be obedient to His holy will. That’s why we’ve been created and placed on this earth… for a true and sincere relationship with the God of our creation. And to uphold that relationship between us, He instituted the communication called prayer. Therefore, in wisdom and honour, let’s go to Him right now nuh through the medium of prayer, raising our Friday Chant to heaven, acknowledging our problems and asking for divine help. 

‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and our many other problems are causing. We can’t seem to fix it on our own Lord, that means we desperately need your help. Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. 

So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, and avoid any more serious setbacks. And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. 

And please introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

And if we truly want positive answers to our prayer, then we must show that we are indeed faithful believers and set a good example as we’ve promised. Much LOVE!

…life might be rough…but our God is good…and His promises are sure… 

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