"Remember 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'-
before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;
when the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop,
when the grinders cease because they are few,
and those looking through the windows grow dim;
when the doors to the street are closed
and the sound of grinding fades;
when men rise up at the sound of birds,
but all their songs grow faint;
when men are afraid of heights
and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
and the grasshopper drags himself along
and desire no longer is stirred.
Then man goes to his eternal home
and mourners go about the streets.
Remember him-before the silver cord is served,
or the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
or the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
'Meaningless! Meaningless!' says the Teacher.
'Everything is meaningless!'
Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.
The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails-given by one Shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in additional to them.
Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.
Now 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.
For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil."
It is easy to forget about God in one's youth, this I know very well. Life centered on selfish pursuits is void of life itself. We need to have a strong foundation, roots that grow deep so that when trouble comes we will not be swept away. When we are near the end of life in old age our bodies will betray us and the strong will become weak and frail. Although this does not have to affect our minds, some weak in body are a strong force for God's kingdom. Since almond trees can bloom as late as February, some think they resemble men in their old age. The thing I find fascinating about almond trees is that the flowers appear before the leaves show up. Then when the old blossoms fall to the ground they look like snowflakes. Only when we let go of the things of the earth and die to self will we then be clean as fallen snow.
Life is not certain. The silver cord, bowl, pitcher and wheel symbolize how fragile life really is. How much more should we set our sights on being thankful for today and seeing that we should live wisely and not squander our lives away. Our spirit will return to the one who gave it freely. Our bodies are a vessel for our spirit and when we are gone the vessel remains.
There are many elderly people who try to give wisdom to younger generations, yet they often go unnoticed in our youth driven world. The words of the wise are like goads. A goad was a sharp metal tip attached to a handle used to keep oxen or cattle moving. Like a goad, wisdom may be unpleasant to hear at first, but it will keep you moving in the direction you need to go. Wisdom is like nails that are deeply embedded by the one true Shepherd. Jesus was the recipient of nails used for destruction and He turns that around to use them for our good so we can grow in our relationship with God.
Anytime there is a warning in Scripture I read it several times. This is warning us that there is much out there that is not good for us, that will lead us down the wrong path. There are many different versions of the bible out there that are not truth. I'm not talking about the different biblical versions like NIV, KJV, Amplified, etc. I am talking about different religions using parts of the bible and their own ideas to make up a new "bible". That is dangerous ground that will not stand up before God. If a book claims to be biblical yet contradicts God's word then it's not His word. Simple? No, because there is an enemy out there who is ALWAYS trying to get us away from Him. When a rock is thrown the slightest bump will throw it off it's course, the same is true for the enemy, he wants to ever so slightly get us off course so that we still think we are on the right trajectory. In only a few feet a rock doesn't seem to have changed course much, but give the rock hundreds or thousands of feet and the landing will be nowhere near the target. Some may think this thinking to be archaic, but I follow God's word. So all complaints should be directed to Him.
"In his conclusion, Solomon presents his antidotes for the two main ailments presented in this book. Those who lack purpose and direction in life should fear God and keep his commandments. Those who think life is unfair should remember that God will review every person's life to determine how he or she has responded to him, and he will bring every deed into judgment." NIV notes
We are to fear God, I believe that when the bible says to fear God it doesn't necessarily mean to be scared of Him. Although He has the ability to be an angry parent and inflict punishment when we do things wrong. God is love and He wants the best for us. To have a healthy fear of God is to be in reverential awe, some synonyms are: respect (esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of someone) and reverence (a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe). This helps keep me humble because without God I know that I can't do much of anything. We are to keep His laws. Many love God, yet do not fear Him and they keep sinning and thinking that it's OK. You can't just pick to love or fear Him, they were intertwined from the start and are inseparable. To live your best live you must have both.