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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

July 26, 2021

Daily Reading: Ecclesiastes 9-12


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.


This is my life verse. It’s a simple verse to quote, memorize, and to remember. Even its reference is as easy as 123. But living it…not so simple.


It’s a challenge. The goal is perfection, the reality is sprinkled with failure. Fear God and keep his commandments. I can do that our mind says, but the flesh fights. This is the whole duty of man. What a comfort to know that which He expects. But this duty is not one of comfort, rest, or ease. It is a duty station filled with battles, failed strategies, hardships, and difficulties. For the enemy to all that is Holy fights, is rebuffed, regroups, fights again, is defeated, yet returns to fight again another day. The goal of doing this whole duty of man is never fully reached for it is unobtainable. The best we can do is continually strive for its lofty fulfillment. Like our enemy, defeat will come wherein we slink away, only to regroup, revive, and replenish to return and fight another day.


Often when failure to live up to this verse occurs, the words of Proverbs 24:16 echo in the mind. For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. All one can do is once again rise up and try again to fulfill the twofold duty of man as given in today’s verse. If a person is just and falls, they will get up and willingly get back into the battle. For the only other option is to turn to wickedness which yields the fruit of falling into mischief.


Today’s verse is the second to last in the book of Ecclesiastes and it concludes the entirety. It is the conclusion of the whole matter. With all the meanderings, tributaries of thoughts, and wanderings of the book it is summed up succinctly. The whole matter is put into perspective in a tidy package that has challenged hundreds of generations of faithful men and women. So unable to word it better, let the devotions for this book be summed up with Solomon’s advice.


Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.


Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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