Disaster pursues sinners, but good rewards the righteous.—Proverbs 13:21
Solomon’s comments in Ecclesiastes 11:9 are aimed at the young: “Let your heart be glad in the days of your youth.” Enjoy your days one by one, he is saying, because before you know it, you will be an adult.
The words that come next have sent some Christians into apoplexy: “And walk in the ways of your heart and in the sight of your eyes.” I remember a youth leader in a church I pastored who set out to teach the Book of Ecclesiastes to the young people. But he deliberately left out these words. When I asked him why, he said: “That’s bad advice for young people. They are inclined that way already so I thought it best not to draw attention to it.” I drew his attention to the words that follow: “but know that for all of these things God will bring you to judgment.” This is what Solomon is really saying: “Relax and have a super time when you are young. There will be many impulses and many things that appeal to your eyes. Follow them, but keep in mind there will be a day of accountability. So don’t let your impulses go wild.”
Some believe that warning takes the joy out of living, but it shouldn’t. If we ignore the God to whom we must all answer, then we leave ourselves open to experiencing not life but unrestricted liberty. And that kind of freedom is bad for us. So banish all worries, Solomon tells the young, and avoid those things that bring pain to your body. Young person, you are only young once. Stay close to God and you’ll get the most out of it.
O God my Father, while I am thankful for all the books that help me learn of You and know about You, help me never to put these ahead of Your Word, the Bible, but always behind it. Make me a person of the Book. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Jos 1:1-8; 2Kg 22:1-20
What was God’s command to Joshua?
Why did the king tear his robes?