Ecclesiastes 12 (1)
Pray Psalm 71.1-3.
In You, O LORD, I put my trust;
Let me never be put to shame.
Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape;
Incline Your ear to me, and save me.
Be my strong refuge,
To which I may resort continually;
You have given the commandment to save me,
For You are my rock and my fortress.
Read Ecclesiastes 12.1.
1. What does it mean to “remember” our Creator?
2. What does Solomon mean by “difficult days”? What makes them “difficult”?
In this final chapter Solomon presses his point with vigor, urging his son to think ahead and consider carefully the days to come, so that he does not squander the precious years of his youth.
The word remember is significant. In Hebrew it carries the idea of “pay attention to” or “fulfill your responsibilities with respect to” and not just “keep in mind”. No one can expect to know a full, contented, and peaceable old age who, when he arrives there, has only a squandered youth to remember. Paying attention to God now, in all the daily details of life, will bring the wisdom needed for the present, and the sense of satisfaction and a “job well done” for the latter years of life.
Solomon’s mention of God as Creator, rather than as the Almighty or Lord, seems to be of some importance. By referring to God in this way he calls Rehoboam to go back to the beginning, to the days when God made men upright (Eccl. 7.29), and to configure his life according to the original purposes and intents of the divine economy.
In our day, the idea of God as Creator has all but been eradicated from common knowledge. In His place, chance, matter, and time have been substituted as the origin and defining direction of all things. Is it any wonder that our day is characterized more by uncertainty, violence, oppression, and despair than by the good and upright plans of the Lord?
1. How would you explain the importance of remembering God as Creator to a young person? Why must we remember Him as Creator?
2. Solomon implies that one who seeks only pleasure in his youth will discover that pleasure is hard to come by in old age. What does this suggest about pleasure as a goal in life?
3. Is remembering the Lord a source of pleasure? What kind of pleasure? Why should we seek this pleasure rather than the pleasures of the flesh?
When the years of promise arrive, the good have pleasure in them. They have pleasure in enjoying the promises, since they have acted exactly in accordance with the promises. In a similar way, those who are prone to amusement and only recognize what can be experienced with the senses have not pleasure in the time of hunger, but only in the time of excess. The righteous have pleasure even in the times of retribution. Didymus the Blind (313-398), Commentary on Ecclesiastes 340.9
Lord, help me to remember You at all times, all day long, so that I...
Pray Psalm 71.9-13
Seek the Lord’s Presence and help for the day ahead.
Sing Psalm 71.9-13.
Psalm 71.9-13, 3 (Solid Rock: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
Lord, cast me not with age away; as strength decreases, with me stay.
My enemies against me speak; they lie in wait my soul to seek.
Refrain, v. 3
A Rock of habitation be; command Your Word to rescue me.
My Rock and Fortress ever be!
O God be not too far from me; my ever-present Helper be!
Consume and shame my enemies; let them reproached and humbled be.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).