The Meaning of Life – October 13, 2023

“What is the meaning of life? Why do I exist? What is my purpose?” These questions must be answered. As we’ve studied Ecclesiastes, Solomon has clearly shown us the vanity of this world. The things of this world will never satisfy your soul or give you purpose. Money, pleasure, fun, knowledge, experiences, and success can’t provide what our souls desperately crave. Ultimately, these things are vanity because they can’t fix our problem with death, and they don’t last. So then what is the meaning of life? In Ecclesiastes 12:9-14, Solomon gives the answer by addressing two final questions:

The first question is, “How did we get here?” (Eccl. 12:9-12) These verses recap Solomon’s quest. He has diligently studied the matter. He tested everything this world has to offer. Solomon carefully and thoughtfully wrote this book to give us his research and conclusion. He wanted to use his wisdom to teach others. He didn’t just hoard his wealth of understanding, but wanted to help others understand the truth about God and life in this world. Solomon has written the truth. It hasn’t always been pleasant or nice, but he gave us the cold hard facts. As he recaps his journey, he’s demonstrating the gravity of this question and the importance of the answer.

In verses 11-12, we see that Solomon is certain about his conclusion. There is no other answer. Solomon reveals that the Source of wisdom is God, the Good Shepherd. God gave Solomon wisdom and led him to this conclusion. This didn’t come from him or some philosopher. This book and this answer came from God. In fact, he’s so sure of the answer that he warns against any other conclusion. People will continue to study, research, and write about the meaning of life. Mankind is constantly theorizing and writing about our origin and purpose. Solomon says none of these theories will satisfy and they’ll just prove to be false. So don’t look for the answer anywhere else. If someone offers a different conclusion, then they’re wrong. Solomon is certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the purpose of human life.

The second question is, “What is the meaning of life?” (Eccl. 12:13-14) Listen to Solomon’s conclusion, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” What is your purpose in life? Your purpose is to fear God and to keep His commandments. That word “fear” has the idea of loyal submission. To fear God, we must surrender our lives to God and commit to serving Him. Remember Ecclesiastes 3:14 said that all God’s actions are to bring people to fear Him. In chapter 5, we learned that to fear God means to worship Him in humility, honor Him in prayer, and obey Him with haste. This fear is a reverential awe and respect of God’s power and holiness. It is the proper response to God. We should bow our lives in reverence before the King.

This is why God hates arrogance and pride. Proverbs 6:16-17a – “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes.” Proverbs 8:13 – “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” James 4:6 – “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” God hates the arrogance of mankind. So it’s wise to humble ourselves and fear God.

This humble respect of God should cause us to “keep His commandments.” We find His commands in His Word. God has revealed Himself in the Bible. So if we truly fear Him (as we should) then we’ll do what He says. That means we should seek to please Him with our lives. It’s similar to a marriage relationship. If I say I love my wife, but never do what she asks and don’t listen to her, that makes me a liar and terrible husband. Because if I truly love her and respect her, then I’ll do what she asks. My actions prove my words. It’s the same way with the fear of the Lord. If we fear God, then we’ll do what He says. We’ll trust His Word. Keeping His commandments is proof that we fear Him.

Solomon says, “for this is the whole duty of man.” That is, “this is the purpose of mankind.” God created you so that you would fear and obey Him. He created you for Himself. Your life belongs to God. So your purpose is to worship and serve God. Now some might think- “We’ll that’s too bad. This is my life. I’ll do whatever I want.” Verse 14 is for you. Solomon warns, “For God will bring every deed into judgment.” Anticipating pushback Solomon assures the skeptic- “God will judge you.” Everything you do on this earth will be judged by the Creator.

Solomon says whether it’s done in secret or in the open, whether it’s evil or good, it will all be judged by God. Why should you fear God and keep His commandments? Because He’s the Final Judge. Ecclesiastes 5:12-13 promised that those who fear God won’t have to worry on judgment day. It says, “it will be well with those who fear God.” But the wicked, those that reject God and live for themselves, will face His eternal wrath. You can reject God, but you can’t escape Him.

As we’ve said all along, the meaning of life must be eternal. Who is eternal? God is. The meaning of life must be universal. God offers His grace to everyone. The meaning of life must be personal. Through Jesus Christ, God reconciles us to Himself, adopts us into His family, and indwells us by His Spirit. God is a personal God. He loves us and cares about us. He wants us as His own. And finally, the meaning of life must fix our problem with death. Who conquered death once and for all? Jesus Christ conquered death by His death and resurrection. Only He can give us eternal life. So the meaning of life is only found in God!

That’s the conclusion. Why do you exist? What is the purpose of your life? To fear God and keep His commandments. You exist for God. So the question is: Will you submit to God or will you reject Him? To those that submit- God offers eternal life and joy forevermore. To those that reject God- as you waste your life on the vanity of this world and race towards judgment day, please remember that God’s grace is for you. Repent and trust in Christ for salvation and He’ll forgive your sin and grant you eternal life.