In 11:9-10 Solomon said, “Rejoice, O young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. YET KNOW THAT GOD WILL BRING YOU TO JUDGMENT FOR ALL THESE THINGS” (NASB). Throughout this book Solomon described the vanity of life “under the sun.” He had learned that it is meaningless to try to fill your heart with the things of this life and in this verse he is basically saying, “You can follow your heart’s desires all you want, but you will one day give an account to God for everything you do.”

Because of this, Solomon exhorts the young person in 11:10-12:2, “So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting. Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no delight in them’; before the sun and light, the moon and the stars are darkened, and clouds return after the rain.” The lesson is simple and clear: LIFE IS SHORT, therefore FOCUS ON YOUR CREATOR while you are young, BEFORE THE DIFFICULT DAYS OF OLD AGE set in.

In verses 3-7 we have a graphic description of “old age” and finally “death”:

Verse 3: “the keepers of the house tremble” (your HANDS SHAKE); “the strong men bow down” (your LEGS & KNEES BEND); “the grinders cease because they are few” (you lose your TEETH); “those that look through the windows grow dim” (your VISION FAILS).

Verse 4: “the doors are shut in the streets, and the sound of grinding is low” (your HEARING FAILS); “one rises up at the sound of a bird” (your SLEEP FAILS); “the daughters of music are brought low” (your SINGING FAILS).

Verse 5: “they are afraid of height, and of terrors in the way” (you FEAR HEIGHTS and GOING PLACES); “the almond tree blossoms” (your HAIR TURNS WHITE); “the grasshopper is a burden” (LIGHT OBJECTS become HEAVY); “desire fails” (APPETITES FAIL).

Verse 6: When death occurs “the silver cord is loosed” (the CORD OF LIFE SNAPS); “the golden bowl is broken” (the BRAIN STOPS); “the pitcher is shattered” (the HEART FAILS); and “the wheel broken at the well” (your BLOOD CIRCULATION FAILS).

Verse 7: “the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (BODY and SPIRIT ARE SEPARATED in death).

In verse 8 Solomon repeats the words he had started the book with, “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, all is vanity.”  In verses 9-12 he reminds his readers that he had tried to give them knowledge all along, and finally in verses 13-14 he states his conclusions, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be bad.”  Throughout this book Solomon has been seeking joy and satisfaction in things “under the sun.” It would seem that his thoughts have now risen “above the sun” and he realizes that true wisdom is to stand in awe of God and to obey His word, and that God will indeed judge the thoughts, words and deeds of every man.

This “sounds good,” does it not? And yet it falls infinitely short of what we learn in the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the gospel we learn that all men are sinners and are incapable of truly fearing God and keeping His commandments. Romans 3:20 declares, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The law doesn’t bless mankind; it reveals their sin and condemns them! This condemnation includes God judging the sinner in the lake of fire for every sinful thought, word and deed. You can read of this in Revelation 20:15-20. But the gospel also reveals how God’s love has found a way to impart unto us eternal life so that we can truly fear and obey Him, and also escape the judgment that our sins deserve. Let’s close by reading of this in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (NASB).  (194.5)  (DO)