Ecclesiastes: Fearing God

electricityThere are lots more passages in Ecclesiastes that are worthy of comment. And there are lots of people more qualified than I to discuss them. The only other point I want to bring out is a point common to much of wisdom literature, the concept of fearing God. In Proverbs we read: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7) This is an idea that Ecclesiastes works through as well:

Ecclesiastes 3:14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.
Ecclesiastes 7:18 It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them.
Ecclesiastes 8:12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him.
Ecclesiastes 12:13   The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

I’ve used the example of electricity to show how I understand fearing God. I’m not afraid of electricity. I’m sitting in a room that has electricity in the walls around me. I’m not afraid. But I’m not going to stick a fork in a socket either. I fear electricity in that I respect its power. That’s how I understand fearing God.

There is a section in Ecclesiastes 5 about not taking reckless vows. (I often go over this passage with couples that are looking to marry). In that section we read:

Ecclesiastes 5:2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.

That’s what it comes down to. God is God. When we come to recognize that and grasp the fact that God is SO much greater than we are, then we are on the road to wisdom.

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