The Final Word

Douglas VanBronkhorst

READ : Ecclesiastes 12:8-14

Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments . . . (12:13, niv)

“‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Everything is meaningless!’” (v. 8). The Teacher repeats this refrain as a reminder of the high stakes in his dramatic little book. What is life’s purpose? He asked this question out of concern (v. 9), thought long and hard, and told the truth (vv. 9-10). Ecclesiastes is like a sliver imbedded in our skin, warning us to do something about our need for meaning. From bitter experience the Teacher tells us what will not work.

Human wisdom, earthly pleasure, and satisfying work, as good as these things are, still are not enough to give life ultimate meaning and purpose. The troubles of life—especially life’s unfairness, pain, and broken relationships—rob us of joy. And in the end we all die. So if that’s all there is, everything is meaningless. Search all you want. You won’t come to any more profound result than the Teacher’s conclusion.

The only way to find lasting meaning in life is through faith in God. We can’t understand everything, but we can believe God’s revealed truth and look forward to someday seeing his perfect plan. Meaning in life rests on certain knowledge of, and wholehearted trust in, God’s Word.


Lord, thank you for patience with our questions, and the wisdom of your Word. Help us to fear and obey you. Amen.