Do you ever wonder why you are here, and what the purpose of your life is? I fought for years with that concept. What am I supposed to do God? What should I take in college? Should I take time off from school? How much time? When are things supposed to click? I think my mom really felt for me there for a while.
What if God spelled it out? What if He said, “Here’s the main point of how I want you to live your life”? That would be an epiphanic epiphany, now wouldn’t it? Fireworks across the sky, a divine revelation! But the almighty God has actually already tipped us off. Let me share it with you:
Ecclesiastes 12:13 – Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.
Something to note first off is that God deals first of all in broad strokes. He starts with the big decisions, and then trickles down into the smaller ones. See if it makes sense this way: shouldn’t the almighty, all-powerful, all knowing, etc. God be the center of what we do? Once God is established as reality for us (whether through scripture, divine revelation, philosophy, science, or all the above) it makes world-shaking sense to have Him at the center of what we do. We should honor Him in what we do.
Beyond that it is reasonable to do what he says. More than that, God’s commandments affect how we interact with other people. They affect how we operate in society. They affect our relationships, and our inmost attitudes, motives, and thoughts.
Isn’t it interesting that the 10 commandments are set up in a similar way to this verse? The first four deal with our interactions with God, and the last six deal with human relations.
There is a very similar verse in the book of Acts. Peter goes (is sent) to visit a group of ethnically different people. He’s not sure about that, but then the main point of everything dawns on him:
Acts 10:35 – But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.
The final purpose jumps out in this verse like it’s bolded: “is accepted by Him.” It sounds to me like the whole duty of man (Ecclesiastes KJV phrasing) has been successfully accomplished. Also note the following equation from the two verses: Keeping commandments = Working righteousness.
I found another verse today that reflects this whole concept:
Nehemiah 1:5 – And I said: “I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments.
This verse is so interesting. It has the same two-part statement. It has the same ultimate reality context (keeping covenant and mercy) as the other two verses. What is really cool about this verse is that: fearing God = loving Him. The corollary is in the first half of the verse this time. For those who have had a hard time understanding how to relate to God, or wondering what it means to fear him, this has the answer.
What is the main purpose of everything? What is the whole duty of man? What helps us to know how to live life in the most fundamental, broad strokes kind of way?
Fear God by loving Him and work righteousness by keeping His commandments.
For this is man’s all.