Ecclesiastes 12 (3)
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 12.5.
1. Which aspects of getting old does Solomon have in view here?
2. How is Solomon using the phrase “eternal home”?
Solomon’s catalog of aging, cast in verse, continues: unfounded fears, graying hair, tired legs, and the diminishment of sexual desire. All these come with getting old. But they don’t have to be an occasion for regret – unless, of course, merely indulging our flesh has been our way of life.
When Rehoboam is staring down the well of old age and death, on what will he rely to carry him into a peaceful and blissful eternity? His strength? His fleshly pleasures? His sexual potency? By the time he gets old, Rehoboam will have come to see that all the ways of the flesh decay, decline, and disappoint; thus, we are not wise to make these the source of our pleasure and purpose in life. Look to your Creator while you’re still young (v. 1)! He’ll put all these things in a proper perspective so that, when they begin to fail, you’ll still have a real and unfading Source of joy.
Talking about death is difficult for people these days. Indeed, the writer of Hebrews explains that the fear of death looms over every unbelieving soul, spoiling life for the present (Heb. 2.15). Unbelievers try to euphemize death – “passing away,” “crossing over,” “going to the Great Beyond.” This is whistling one’s way through the graveyard. One day one of those stones will have our name on it, too. Are our contemporaries ready to die? More than that, are they ready for what waits beyond death and the grave? Are we?
Unbelievers may not like to talk about death, but we do them no favors by acceding to their fears. Rather, like Solomon, we need to hold those fears out and remind our friends that even death has no victory over the one who lives “under heaven”.
1. What’s the difference between joy and happiness? How would you counsel a new believer to make sure he was seeking joy above all?
2. As people age, their bodies change, and their capacities can diminish. Does this mean their time of remembering the Creator and serving Him is through? Explain.
3. Solomon returned to the Lord in his old age. It’s never too late to come to the Lord. How should this encourage us about older friends or family members?
Things that used to be a regular part of life now become threatening: almond tree blossoms: Hair turns white. grasshopper is a burden: This may refer to the halting step of the elderly as they hobble along on their canes. desire fails: This is generally understood as a reference to a vanishing sexual desire. Then comes death: eternal home. Earl Radmacher (1937-2014), NKJV Study Notes on Ecclesiastes 12.5
Lord, I pray today for my elderly believing friends, that they might continue to remember You and serve You well. Help me also to…
Pray Psalm 71.21, 22.
Even though we may be getting older, we should always be seeking to increase – in the Lord, in our Personal Mission Field, in our great salvation, in good works of love. How will you seek to increase today?
Sing Psalm 71.21, 22, 3.
Psalm 71.21, 22, 3 (Solid Rock: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
Increase my greatness, comfort me, and unto You shall praises be.
Your truth I will exalt full well, O Holy One of Israel!
Refrain, v. 3
A Rock of habitation be; command Your Word to rescue me.
My Rock and Fortress ever 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).