Remember Your Creator in Your Youth
12 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low—they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets—before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
Fear God and Keep His Commandments
Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.
The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Choices – all of life is made up of things we must choose between. Choices have consequences. Unfortunately, sometimes we live with these the rest of our lives. As Solomon brings his thoughts to a conclusion he starts off with a warning to the youth. Calling them to remember their God in those days, it is a cautionary word of this setting the path of which they will find themselves later in life.
Often youth is seen as being a time of freedom and pushing boundaries as they grow and develop. They look toward things that drive their interest and wants and without any precaution step full ahead in them. Many times the development during one’s youth sets the course for their outlook and even relationship with God. If there are not parents who set the example before them of serving and searching after Jesus, the things of Him will not be as important or become that moment of a life-changing decision to follow.
The days of youth as exciting as they may seem though are filled with a lot of emptiness. If they are not pursuing even in their own way the God of all Creation, nothing will satisfy. Their focus often becomes that which is in the here and now and not looking toward the things of eternity.
For many, this has been their path. As adults, it often takes a lot of work by the Holy Spirit to remove the callouses they have allowed and even put on their hearts. Emptiness and dissatisfaction often mark such lives. When a crisis hits, they have nowhere to turn.
The cycle continues as people grow from youth to adulthood with the similar effects of choices and consequences when a person is not connected or serving Jesus. Remembering our Creator in the days of our youth sets the course for our remembrance of Him in our adult life. Without Him, everything is meaningless.
As he considers this he reminds that our bodies will return to dust and our spirit return to God who will judge. We will give an accounting for what we’ve done with our lives in this life is all that really matters. If we are pursuing anything other than Him life is meaningless.
As the Life Application Bible speaks toward the thoughts states, “Stripped of God’s Spirit, our bodies return to dust. Stripped of God’s purpose, our work is in vain. Stripped of God’s love, our service is futile. We must put God first overall we do and in all we do because without Him we have nothing. Knowing that life is futile without God motivates the wise person to seek God first.”
Ecclesiastes 12 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The final chapter of Ecclesiastes calls for people to remember God. The tone is depressing, however, Solomon is commended at the end as the narrator breaks into the scene. We first heard from this frame narrator in chapter 1. He writes that Solomon was a professional and diligent man who took care of his business. He sought truth and focused on making it applicable and relevant.
The conclusion is that “everything is futile.” Outside of the simple pleasures of life (which are explored in this chapter) and God Himself, there is nothing else there. You can’t make meaning of this life without God.
“The book of Ecclesiastes must, in the final analysis, be understood by the modern reader in the light of the full context of the canon. For the Christian that context includes the NT. For this reason, now that we have looked through the book as a whole, I commend the rereading of the introduction, particularly the sections that concern the theological message of the book. The idea is presented there that Jesus Christ is the ultimate answer to Qohelet’s (Solomon’s) conclusion of meaninglessness under the sun. Jesus emptied himself of his divine prerogatives to subject himself to the world “under the sun” in order to free us of the chaos to which God subjected the world after the fall into sin (see Gal 3:3 and Rom 8:18-27).”New International Commentary – Old Testament