Ecclesiastes 12:13-14—Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Solomon searched out all the avenues of life to find something of meaning. He encouraged mankind to enjoy his labor and the simple pleasures of life but to avoid extremes. Everything he looked to for fulfillment, he concluded was meaningless. But here in the last two verses of this book, he gives us his conclusion of all his seeking. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. A healthy fear of God will deter us from evil. His commandments are given for our good. If we will let God’s word direct our lives, we will certainly be better off than if we had ignored it. The Word is a lamp to our feet and a light unto our path. We sometimes get confused about what God would have us do. This sentence helps make the will of God an idea we can grasp. “If I will fear God and keep His commands, I will have done all that I should.” That is our whole duty in one sentence. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. The temptations of life lose their attraction when we consider standing before God to answer for them. There is nothing hidden from His eyes. God will reward the good and punish the evil. Those in Christ can thank God that their sins are covered with His blood. There is still the judgment of reward for us, but many of our deeds may be determined to be wood, hay, and stubble. Those done by the Holy Spirit through us will be the precious stones that endure. Consider: Is your life in keeping with the duty of man described here? Do you live in the light of the fact that we will all one day give an account of our lives to God?