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Monday, December 31, 2012

Dec 31: Ecclesiastes 12

Today we conclude our 2012 Verve Bible Reading Plan with Ecclesiastes 12! If you've stuck with the plan, congratulations! Be sure to check back tomorrow for the beginning of next year's Bible reading plan. But first . . .
  1. In the first part of this chapter the author reminds us that we should grow our relationship with God while we’re young. This is seriously solid advice. I feel like as we get older we become more jaded and settled in what to expect in this lifetime. By doing so we leave less and less room for God to act in our lives. However, if we develop our relationship with God early in life we begin to expect His interactions in life and so we look for them rather than avoid them.
  2. In the middle of the chapter the author writes “everything is useless.” He's referring to all of the things we chase in life and esteem most highly -- such as money, fame, power, pleasures. All these things are useless in bringing true fulfillment. 
  3. He also writes that wise words from wise people are like sticks used to guide animals. He’s saying that, if we seek out wisdom and apply it to our lives, wisdom will guide us in the right direction.
  4. The book ends with the author’s final advice: “Honor God and obey his commands.” He even gives us the “why”: Because God sees everything done in secret and we will one day answer for the decisions we made.
The ending of this chapter also shows us that this book was written to the author’s son. How cool is it that the author took the time to write a book about the wisdom he accrued in a lifetime for his son to read? One of my favorite things is to sit and listen to the old stories of people who have lived significantly longer than I have, especially in areas that interest me (boring subjects lead to boring stories unfortunately). Think of reading a book from a father who spent his whole lifetime trying to find meaning in life. That would be an interesting read... and that's what we have done over the last few weekends.

If we apply what this person spent their whole life learning we could save ourselves a lot of wasted time and heartache (and probably a few headaches as well). The whole book of Ecclesiastes can be summed up in the last two verses: We should spend our lives honoring God and striving to obey his commands.

This is a great ending to our year-long Bible reading plan. What has been the most significant thing you’ve learned or taken away from reading the Bible this year with us? How will you benefit from doing it next year as well? 

- Written for Verve by Tommy Altman