Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes near the end of his life. Solomon lived quite a remarkable life. According to biblical scholars, Solomon was the 10th son of King David. He was not the heir apparent to the throne. The throne could have gone to any of his older brothers, but ultimately King David chose Solomon. Most importantly, God selected Solomon to be king of Israel.
Solomon reigned as king of Israel for 40 years. During his reign, the kingdom of Israel reached its peak, the golden years of the kingdom. The kingdom reaches the very pinnacle of success during Solomon’s time. Israel was NOT only strong militarily but was tremendously wealthy. It had great power and influence, as well as prestige.
Solomon led many construction projects. His masterpiece is, of course, the temple in Jerusalem. He also built his own palace, which was situated on a hill in the center of Jerusalem. He is credited with rebuilding other cities and ports mainly to promote trade and fortifications.
Solomon’s wealth is documented in 2 Chronicles 9:13-25. In verse 13, Solomon received 666 talents of gold every year. A talent is about 72 lbs. If you do the math, considering the price of gold today, his net worth it’s about 37 billion dollars.
Some value him in the trillions if you include all the money and goods from the trades, the 12,000 horses and 4000 chariots, the ivory, the silver, precious metal, and stones. Regardless of the number, Solomon was a very wealthy man.
Of course, Solomon did not ask God specifically for wealth. Instead, he asked for wisdom. God granted it to him. In return, Solomon received all the benefits for having tremendous wisdom.
So here we find Solomon, near the end of his life, contemplating life in general after having accomplished so many things. He begins to write the book of Ecclesiastes to reflect on his life, impart knowledge to those who wish to read it. The book of Ecclesiastes is considered by many as one of the wisdom books of the Old Testament.
I want to go over Ecclesiastes chapter 12.
“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them.”
Let’s stop there for a second and focus on each word of the first verse.
Let’s start with the first word, remember. Remember can mean to bring into awareness, to recall, to recollect, to reminisce, to remind, or to hark back. Verse 1 summons all of us who are reading this book to remember and NOT forget. The word remember is also used in the ten commandments, and that is to remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. So we are admonished to remember and to not forget.
The second word in verse 1 is the word now. Now means today, at the present, at this very moment. Straightaway. Pronto. Ready. In a word, it’s about right NOW. You can feel a sense of urgency in the word NOW. So we are NOT only to remember, but we also have to be ready NOW.
The next two words are your Creator. Solomon, the Preacher, could have written this a little bit differently, but he didn’t. Instead, he wrote, Remember now your Creator. And the emphasis is on God who created us. The God who brought us life. The God that gave us the breath of life.
Some commentators observed that the word Creator that’s used here is actually plural. You can substitute the word Creators instead of a singular creator. Elohim is the most common name for God in Hebrew. It is plural. This is the same word used in Gen 1:26 Let us make make man in our image, in our likeness. In Genesis 3:22 Behold, the man has become like one of Us.
In the Days of Our Youth
The next few words give us the answer as to when we should remember our Creator. Obviously, it’s now, but it’s also very specific. We are instructed to remember now our Creator in the days of our youth, while we are still young, while we are still strong and full of energy. As we grow older, we lose that luster. Our strength and energy fall off.
We should remember our Creator. We are still young and malleable. A potter, for example, can shape a lump of clay into any shape that he wants. Once the clay is dried and baked, it’s set. There’s no going back.
Difficult Days Will Come
The end of the sentence answers the question as to “why” we should remember now our Creator? We are to remember NOW our Creator in the days of our youth because difficult times are coming. Difficult days are ahead of us. The dark days are coming. The evil days are looming on the horizon.
I often wonder if Solomon knew that dark days were ahead of him. Shortly after his death, the kingdom was divided into two, and both kingdoms eventually were taken into captivity.
The focus here is on remembering NOW our Creator, while we are still young and while we still have the time. The verse is about coming to terms with life, seeking understanding, and finding happiness, which is the whole point of the book.
In our world today, people are constantly looking for truth and fulfillment, in all the wrong places and on all the wrong things. However, God is the source of our blessings. He brings true happiness and true fulfillment to all of us.
The sooner we incorporate God in our lives, the better off we will be. Living God’s way can spare us from many of the sorrows and pain that we encounter later in life.
Of course, not everything will be peachy in this life. There will be times of trouble. There will be times of difficulties, and you will be tested, but God will provide us with the strength to push through the hard times and the difficult times.
4 Reasons Why We Need To Remember Our Creator In Our Youth
1. It’s Our Energetic Years
Youthfulness is often associated with energy, vigor, zeal, and enthusiasm. While we are young, we can accomplish many things because we possess endless amounts of energy. We have lots of gas left in our proverbial tank. However, when we get older, it is just the opposite. Older people tire easily. We no longer find pleasure in the many things that we used to do before hence the scripture saying, “I find no pleasure in them.” We are to remember our Creator while we are still energetic, while we still have the energy so that we can accomplish many more things.
2. It’s Our Sensitive Years
Our sensitive years can also mean our most vulnerable years. When we are young, we are easily influenced by outside forces. We give in to peer pressure. We all want to be accepted. We all want to be liked by our peers. It’s not always easy to say no.
However, now is a perfect time to form and establish good habits. If we develop good habits, we can begin life on the right foot. Starting off on the wrong foot, however, can set us back for many years. Once bad habits are set, they are not easy to get rid of. There’s an old saying that “old habits die hard.”
Let us establish good habits early and often. Let’s not harden our hearts. Let’s not sear our conscience because the deeper the roots of our sins are, the harder it is to reverse them.
3. It’s Our Teachable Years
Young people are very teachable and are easily coached. The formative years are a good time to get ourselves well grounded. It’s the perfect time to lay down a good and solid foundation.
“It is written that a wise man built his house upon a rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew, but that house did not fall. Anyone that hears these words and does not do them is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.”
We know about the importance of having a solid foundation. I can’t help but think about that condo collapse in Miami a couple of weeks ago. The building had structural issues. There were cracks in the foundation. Structural fatigue and rust have set in after years of neglect. It’s a sad story. That’s why it is very important to build a house with a solid foundation.
4. It’s Our Dangerous Years
Our younger years are full of danger. Our lives are like walking on a minefield. Being young means we have to deal with many challenges in life. We have to deal with our hormones, peer pressure, alcohol, drugs, sex, just to name a few. They are our most dangerous years. Now is a good time to remember our Creator in the days of our youth. It’s a time where we really need God the most.
Aging and Death
Let’s pick the rest of the chapter in Ecclesiastes 12. I want to quickly go over the next eight verses. From verse 2 to verse 5, the Preacher, Solomon, paints a picture of the onset of aging. The verses are written using metaphors and beautiful imagery. It’s a beautiful poetic description of the process of aging.
I’m going to quickly summarize the following verses. Verse 2-5 the loss of vision, the shaking hands, the bad posture, the loss of teeth, the loss of hearing, the loss of sleep, the fear of heights, the fear of falling, which are all the elements of the aging process.
Verse 6 and 7 talk of life coming to rest (which is death itself) where we read about the silver cord being severed, the golden bowl being broken, the pitcher being shattered, and man returns to dust, and the spirit of man returns to God who gave it.
Vanity of Vanities
Let’s pick up verse 8. After Solomon describes the process of aging and addresses death in the end, he gives us his overall assessment of life. His assessment is rather bleak and dreary.
Solomon sums up life by saying, “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.”
Everything that we have ever accomplished in life, money, fame, material possessions, awards, accomplishments, books written, and all of our body of work, including everything in our LinkedIn account, essentially don’t amount to a hill of beans.
All of it is worth nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. All is vanity. Vanity of vanities.
If we stop here and don’t read any further in the book, you a sense a feeling of gloom, a feeling of hopelessness, and finality, that life really doesn’t have any meaning at all.
But wait, all you have to do is read further into the book, and Solomon finally opens up and gives us a glimmer of hope, a ray of hope that life is going to be fine after all.
The Whole Duty of Man
The preacher lays out in the next few verses and reveals to us the real purpose of man, the reason for being here, and the real meaning of life.
Verse 13. I’m reading this from the American Standard Version.
“For this is the end of the matter; all has been heard: We are to fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.”
Solomon says that we are to fear God and worship Him and show Him respect and reverence. We also need to hold Him in high esteem, with great regard, and with great appreciation.
In addition to the fear of God, we are also told to keep the commandments. That is to Love God, and to love our fellow man, for this is the whole duty of man.
I want to wrap up by saying, Ecclesiastes chapter 12 is a book of wisdom that gives us tremendous hope and meaning. Solomon’s accomplishment may have been great, but we know that someone greater than Solomon is here.
We all know that THE God of heaven will set up His kingdom that shall never be destroyed. Of the increase of His government and peace, there will be no end. We are also told NOT to lay for ourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust will corrupt it, where thieves break through and steal, but instead, we are encouraged to lay for ourselves treasures in heaven.
In the grand scheme of things, we live such short and temporary lives. Ecclesiastes 12 encourages us to remember NOW our Creator NOT only in the days of our youth, but also in our teen years, and as young adults, in our middle-age years, as well as in our golden years … because difficult days are ahead of us.
By Ulysses Ronquillo