We are taking a break from our study in the Book of Mark and offer this daily devotional in the interim. We will resume our study of Mark after the first of the New Year.
The Whole Duty of Man
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: . . .“ Ecclesiastes 12:13
The preacher of Ecclesiastes completes his instruction with this passage of Scripture. In his wisdom, he has taught the people knowledge based on what he calls “words of truth.” The challenge of our day is to sift through all the competing “truth” to discover that wisdom.
Of course, “words of truth” can be difficult to find because there are so many who claim to be telling, singing, writing, texting, or tweeting truth. Others say truth is illusive and claim it is impossible to know the truth about anything. The preacher disagreed and gave three ways in which a person can recognize genuine words of truth.
He describes words of truth as prods, tools used to drive animals. The application is clear – words of truth drive individuals to please God. Is the truth you are accepting leading you to greater confidence and faith in the Lord Jesus and His great purpose for your life? If not, it is not a genuine word of truth that will produce wisdom. Then the preacher wrote that words of truth are like well-driven nails. They are governing words that teach individuals to live righteous lives. Third, and most significantly, words of truth are given by one Shepherd. This Shepherd is the Lord Jesus Christ who openly claimed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6).
The preacher makes one final statement. Believing that God will judge each life, He demands, “Fear God and keep His commandments, . . .” (v. 13). It is the ultimate truth. The question is simple: Is the truth upon which you are building your life the truth given by the One Shepherd? Once it is, wisdom is yours.
This is the conclusion in full scope and design. We are brought to the place of examination of the content of our faithfulness.
How did you do this year? In the pursuit of godliness? Manifesting the fruit of the Spirit? Showing patience, humility, and submission? Living in reverence and loving Him? These are not questions of behavior, but of the heart.