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The Scriptorium

All Good Things…

Ecclesiastes 12.2-4

2 While the sun and the light,
The moon and the stars,
Are not darkened,
And the clouds do not return after the rain;

3In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,
And the strong men bow down;
When the grinders cease because they are few,
And those that look through the windows grow dim;

4When the doors are shut in the streets,
And the sound of grinding is low;
When one rises up at the sound of a bird,
And all the daughters of music are brought low…

The Story: I suppose Solomon could have just said to Rehoboam, “Look, son, some day you’re gonna get old…” Instead, he cast that idea into a poetic narrative, piling on metaphors of what it’s like to get old, so that the experienceof old age would be more vivid and memorable for his son. Our sight (v. 2), our sure hands and strong arms (v. 3), the teeth we take for granted (v. 3), one’s hearing (v. 4), and the inclination to indulge everyday pleasures (going out, listening to the creatures – v. 4) – all these will one day be in decline. Better to prepare for that day now by remembering your Creator, fixing your delight on eternal verities rather than the fleeting pleasures of the flesh. Here are joys and pleasures that no amount of bodily decline can eradicate (Ps. 16.11).

The Structure: God delights in poetry and uses it frequently, throughout the Scriptures. Why are we so obtuse and uninterested in this neglected art? One reason, as Czeslaw Milosz explained in The Witness of Poetry, is that so much modern poetry simply isn’t accessible. But poetry can bring more reality to our experience by associating unfamiliar things – like getting old – with familiar things – stars, sun, moon, grinders, windows – so that we make associations that enrich our understanding and experience of life. How easy it is to take for granted the things we experience each day – our senses and the glories of the world around us. Like all Biblical poets, Solomon has a way of using poetry to remind us that there is glory in everyday experiences and things. We might even be able to discern something of God’s will for our lives, if only we pause long enough to reflect, and in our reflections, to remember our Creator.

Do you spend any time seeking the Lord in the things He has made? Meditate on Psalm 19.1-4. What examples of the truth revealed here can you identify immediately around you?

Each week’s studies in our
Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Remember to Fear the Lord: Ecclesiastes 12,” simply click here.


T. M. Moore

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved


T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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