"The conclusion, when all has been heard is: fear God and keep his commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgement, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil." - Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
Solomon wrote these words as he was summing up his life experiences. He was blessed with a great mind, wealth, political power and the time to seek and find what, in his words, was upright and true.
Solomon spent much of his life searching in all the wrong places for the things that would satisfy him. He tried wealth, sensual pleasure, building projects and various intellectual pursuits. But he found that with each new peak experience there was a valley of dissatisfaction that soon followed. This cycle led him to three conclusions about life and how one can be satisfied with it.
1. Fear God.
Respect, glorify, praise, recognize God for who He is. The first sin that leads to total darkness is the refusal to acknowledge God (Romans 1:21). There can be no joy and appreciation for what we have, no matter how much of it we have, unless we acknowledge God first.
2. Obey His Commands.
Solomon proved with his own life that disobedience in great and small affairs lead to destruction. For a life to have order and avoid the ravages of sin, a person needs to seek and submit to God's will. How many times can we trace a heartbreaking situation in our own lives to a long line of rebellious acts against God? The effort to obey God brings peace to the mind and body.
3. Justice will be done.
There is a truth that should comfort some and be sobering to others -- God will judge everyone no matter what they believe or own! Solomon in his wealth, power and wisdom realized that his position and accomplishments would not exempt him from God's judgement. This should be an encouraging idea for those who suffer injustice and difficulty in this world, and it should strike fear in the hearts of those who think that their success and good health is a sign that God is ignoring their sins. In the end, God will judge you according to what you've done, not what you have.
In a society where being religious is equated with narrow-mindedness and the judgement of God is scoffed at, we would be wise to remind ourselves and others, that life without God is meaningless and the judgement to come will be terrible for those who have ignored it.