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Background Considerations

Since aging and death await us all, what is the point in believing in an Eternal God? As the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes is nearing the end of his book he reflects once more on the issues of life and death. For him “the days of trouble” lead to the point when “the pitcher is shattered at the spring” (verse 6). He senses that death’s coming is sure although its timing is not.

In the light of this sobering thought he probes the following question: “What does it mean to be truly human?”

Relevant Biblical Passages

  1. Ecclesiastes 12:1-8. Certain biblical passages of importance begin with the word “Remember!” Can you remember some of those passages?
    This poem is full of metaphorical language and it is rich in symbolism. Do the metaphors used here have only one meaning?
  2. Ecclesiastes 12:11-12. Why is the Lord who imparts wisdom called here “The Shepherd”?
    Some people think that only physical labor makes people exhausted. Is it true that much study wearies the body?
  3. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. Explain the command to “fear God”!
    What is meant by the expression “his commandments”?
    Is the prospect of God’s judgment good or bad news?

Lessons for Life

In concluding his book, the author of Ecclesiastes reminds the reader one more time that apart from God life seems meaningless. Two things that give meaning to life are to love God and to live in conformity with his will. This includes the way we relate to the people around us.

Allow me to conclude our study this quarter with the well known words that come from a 17th century mathematician and philosopher Pascal: “If I believe in God and life after death and you do not, and if there is no God, we both lose and we die. But if there is a God, you still lose and I gain everything.”

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