The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

 July 12, 1998

Bible Passage: Ecc 1:1-3;2:1-2,10-15;4:1-3;12:1,13-14

Key Verse:     Ecc 12:13-14 13Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. 14For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Ecc 1:1-3 1The words of the Teacher, [1] son of David, king in Jerusalem: 2"Meaningless! meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless." 3What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?

1.1 Or leader of the assembly; also in verses 2 and 12

Ecc 2:1-2,10-15 1I thought in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good." But that also proved to be meaningless. 2"Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?"10I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.

11Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. 12Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly. What more can the king's successor do than what has already been done? 13I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness. 14The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both. 15Then I thought in my heart, "The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?" I said in my heart, "This too is meaningless."

Ecc 4:1-3 1Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed-- and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors-- and they have no comforter. 2And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. 3But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun. 4And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Ecc 12:1,13-14 1Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them"--3Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. 14For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

What is the bottom line of our existence here? In other words, what is the most foundational purpose we have within our existence?

It seems that most infants in God's creation have a bonding instinct between themselves and their parents which serves them for the purpose of survival. This same bonding instinct is also part of our makeup. And since we are more than mere flesh and blood, we know that we have beginnings that are even before our earthly Mom and Dads. We can picture this desire to understand the very beginnings of who we are like a rain drop amidst a rain storm that has just been dripped from a small pool of water on a leaf just above it. As it looks up, it sees the pool from which it came from and then notices a pool just above it that had formed the pool from which it had come. Then its eyes focus on the millions of rain drops from the sky from which all the pools it's now seeing all around are being formed. The rain drop now knows there's a greater source from which they have all come and wonders where it is. In the same way we see our immediate parents, then our grandparents, and their parents and on and on who have all come from the millions of people called humanity and wonder about our bottom line -- Where have we come from, Why are we here, and Where are we going?

Just as the ocean is the source of all rain, so is God the source of all humanity. And we ask ourselves, "Why are we here?" This need to know has prevailed through every generation of mankind seeking this answer. Many people would like to try and believe that although they exist, the Source of their existence doesn't. And since this reasoning is totally senseless, people exhaust themselves with things other than the truth to try an satiate or satisfy this thirsting within their hearts. What are some of these things we as people try and do this with? The gathering of knowledge, the abandonment of ourselves to pleasure, or just outright being obstinate in rebellion to follow the heart's desire to seek the truth.

II Tim 3:1-7 1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 6They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.

Just as II Tim 3:1-7 shows how man is today, so did Solomon try these same paths to find them all dead ends going nowhere. He did however find one and only one path that seemed to fill his heart, soul, and body with great fulfillment and that was revering/honoring/cherishing God and walking in obedience to His Word. He found that this truly brought contentment, not just to his mind by the wisdom of God's Word Prov 24:13-14 13Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. 14Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. (*Note what happens though when we consume to much of God's Word only for selfish fulfillment of acquiring knowledge "Prov 25:16 16If you find honey, eat just enough-- too much of it, and you will vomit." Without allowing that same Word to conform us into His image.) And not just to his soul with the joy and pleasure of worshipping God Psalm 36:8-9 8They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. 9For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. But also to his heart with the peace that learning to live in obedience to His Word brought to him -- Phil 4:6-7 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Ecc 12:13-14 could be written to say "In conclusion, Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and body for this is the whole duty of man. Why is it we can substitute "Love" for the words "Fear God and keep His commandments"? Because Love is a verb which describes the action of reverencing God and serving Him. May we always draw near to Him who alone will help us live the bottom line of our existence.


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