Remember thy Creator...
In the Book of Ecclesiastes the author King Solomon, the teacher or preacher, described his search for the key to the meaning of life. That search, however, became an exercise in futility because the more King Solomon sought for the answers to life, the more he discovered that life itself is unique, that human wisdom is woefully insufficient, and that death continually laughed in his face. He had it all, but nearing the end of his life, he equates personal accomplishments with vanity. King Solomon understood that satisfaction in life does not come through riches or the accumulation of things or even personal accomplishments.
It reminds a brother of the words of Emmanuel, our Elder Brother, in Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Incidentally, "vanity" here means "emptiness." People would desire opportunity to pursue every pleasure; then follow their desires, but were assured through situation our Creator will call all into judgment. How many give loose to every appetite, and rush into every vicious pleasure! But God registers every one of sinful thoughts and desires, idle words and wicked words. If they would avoid remorse and terror, if they would have hope and comfort on a dying bed, if they would escape misery here and hereafter, let them remember the vanity of youthful pleasures. That Solomon means to condemn the pleasures of transgression is evident. His object is to draw the young to purer and more lasting joys. This is not the language of one grudging youthful pleasures, because he can no longer partake of them; but of one who has, by a miracle of mercy, been brought back in safety. He would persuade the young from trying a course whence so few return. If the young would live a life of true happiness, if they would secure happiness hereafter, let them remember their Creator in the days of their youth.
1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;
5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.
9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.
10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.
12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Solomon addresses the issue of judgment in the last two verses of Ecclesiastes 12:
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. That's a nice conclusion to what many have considered a rather confusing book.
Responsibility toward God is seen in verse 13, and the judgment of men by God himself is seen in verse 14.
The wise and penitent preacher is here closing his sermon; and he closes it, not only like a good orator, but like a good preacher, with that which was likely to make the best impressions and which he wished might be powerful and lasting upon his hearers. Here is, an exhortation to young people to begin betimes to be faithful to our Creator and not to put it off to old age, enforced with arguments taken from the calamities of old age and the great change that leaving a spirtual death will make upon us. A repetition of the great truth he had undertaken to prove in this discourse, the vanity of the world. A confirmation and recommendation of what he had written in this and his other books, as worthy to be duly weighed and concluded, with a charge to all to be truly spirtual and trust the words of wisdom, in consideration of the judgment to come.