9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. 10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity. 1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:1)
Youth is a great blessing. Strength, vitality, the newness of life and a yearning to learn, grow and mature form the building blocks for development to adulthood. But youth can become a stumbling block to a mature faith. The temptations of pride coupled with haste have taken many young people down paths of pain and sorrow. So, learn from Solomon and be wise about being young. First, rejoice in your youth – enjoy being young! Always remember you live before God and will answer to Him for all the choices you make. Then, remove sorrow from your life by putting away sin. Also, remember God now, not later. Putting off following God until later does not make it easier, but harder, to turn to Him. Youth does not last. So, while you are young, choose wisely.
10 Then I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of holiness, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done. This also is vanity. 11 Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God. (Ecclesiastes 8:10-13)
Solomon observed that at times it appears the wicked prosper. However, it would be foolish to conclude on appearance alone that wickedness is preferable to holiness. It may seem that wicked is preferable because justice is not speedily applied. When this happens, evil people choose evil, thinking they are above accountability. But, in the end it will not be well with the wicked. The person who fears God will reap great blessings while the wicked perish. Remember: Evil people live for the moment, but the holy ones fear God and live for eternity. Which do you choose to be?
1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” (Ecclesiastes 2:1-2)
Having wisely deduced that material possessions neither satisfy the flesh nor the soul, King Solomon also considered whether the purpose of life could be found in pleasure. There too, he found “this also was vanity”. Many still run after the pleasure this life affords, making it their priority. Yet, “even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief” (Prov. 14:13). Pleasure does not prevent life’s sorrows, and it certainly cannot prevent the soul’s demise due of sin. Enjoy the good pleasures of life, but keep them in perspective. True and lasting joy is found in the Lord Jesus Christ – the joy that “no one will take from you” (Jno. 16:22).
10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. 11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)
King Solomon was wise, wealthy and powerful. In wisdom he considered the purpose of life in an effort to know “what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives” (Eccl. 2:3). He discovered that indulging his pleasures and rewarding his labors did not satisfy his deepest yearning for fulfillment. He worked hard and he rewarded himself with material goods. By doing so he learned that material things are only temporary and cannot fulfill life’s purpose. Honest labor is good, and to enjoy the fruit of one’s labor is honorable. But, acquiring material goods is not the defining objective of life. Material things can never satisfy life’s purpose for those who are made in the image of God. Finding life’s meaning in material gain is like trying to catch the wind. “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Eccl. 12:13).
The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. (Psalm 118:14-15)
Jesus Christ is the world’s only Redeemer; there is salvation in no other name under heaven (Acts 4:12). As the Lord’s mighty strength delivered Israel from exile in a foreign land, Christ Jesus saves sinners from the bondage of sin. God alone is our salvation; we do not earn the right to be saved. Yet, it is in the “tents of the righteous” that the joy of salvation rings out. God will not save the faithless and disobedient. Sing songs of joyful praise, O faithful one. God is mighty to save!
10 Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. 11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all. 12 Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13 Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.” (1 Chronicles 29:10-13)
Ponder the exalted greatness and power of God. He is worthy of praise and adoration for His matchless splendor and His unrivaled excellence. Everything you will come into contact today belongs to Him and is ruled over by His wise providence. That includes you. All that you possess comes from Him. Never fail to give Almighty God the respect, honor and thanksgiving He is due.
19 And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:19-20)
Countless people seek guidance from those who claim the ability to communicate with the dead. Untold amounts of money is spent seeking after the dead. The irony is obvious: these people refuse to seek after the living God, the One who has true enlightenment! Ancient Israel did the same thing and fell farther into the futility of darkness. Unless we go to God’s Scriptures and “speak according to this word”, there is no light in us, either. There is only the darkness of sin and death.