"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13

     As no other man in the record of scripture, Solomon explored every decadent corner of human thinking and conduct. When read carefully, the book of Ecclesiastes records his backward, disenchanted glance at all that had been tried and found to be "vanity and vexation of spirit." King of Israel, judge of disputes for an entire nation, and revered philosopher, the opportunity to indulge every carnal appetite (Ecclesiastes 1:16, 17, 2:3, 10). Solomon had it all. Or did he? In the midst of all that prestige and plenty, in the midst of limitless pursuits of wisdom and pleasure, he sounds for it all like a bitter, disenchanted, tired old man.

     In Ecclesiastes, chapter 11, he encourages the young to seek the Lord, their Creator, in their youth before the evil days of disillusioned bitterness consume the life blood. It sounds like a "Don't do as I did, do as I say," speech. Finally, after twelve long chapters of grief and vanity, he burns away the chaff of human ego and philosophical junkets to see if there is anything worth living for. Thank God, he found the jewel he was seeking, truly a gem worth its price.

     After having read through a description of the complexities of all that takes place "under the sun," we are refreshingly directed to the final simplicity of the "whole matter" of life, "Fear God, and keep his commandments." For many today it would take a battery of CPAs with high-speed computers to keep track of all the duties and obligations of Christianity, along with an inventory of how each person is measuring up to that list. This sounds more like the vanity of man's work "under the sun" than the simple reality of the conclusion which is quoted here.

     The final issue to be decided, the ultimate test of any decision, is reduced to this simple measure, "Fear God, and keep his commandments." In the eleventh chapter of II Corinthians and the Apostle Paul revealed one of his deepest fears, that the minds of the Corinthian Christians would be corrupted from "the simplicity that is in Christ." Our age is marked by so many who refuse any substantial religious thought or discussion on the basis that "It is all so complicated, and so many sincere, well educated Christian scholars can't agree on what the Bible teaches. Why should I try at all to understand it? I'll let them work it out." This attitude is a lively witness that the simplicity that is in Christ has been lost by those influential "Christian scholars."

     A leading interpretation of the word Nicolaitanes, Revelation 2:6, 15, is "Victory over the laity, or non-clergy Christian." According to these two verses, God hates both the doctrine and the deeds of the Nicolaitanes. To teach that preachers, priests, or theologians have some mystical inside track on Bible truth over the common Christian appears to be the very idea which God is here said to hate. Remember that in the midst of philosophy and learing, God inspired his New Testament to be written in "koine" Greek, the common language spoken by the man in the fields and shops of the civilized world. That's why the Reformers almost to a man cried out for a Bible in the common language. Wycliffe is said to have originated the saying that a Bible in the common language, reverenced and read by the common man was the only real assurance of "A givernment of the people, by the people, and for the people."

     It doesn't take a graduate theologian to understand or to explain "Fear God, and keep his commandments." The ministry of New Testament Christianity is engraved in such Bible terms as "Helpers of your joy," feeders of sheep. In fact the very word ministry is translated from the same word as deacon and defines one whose duty is to serve tables. We need more preachers today who fit this description, and we need more church members who are willing to take up their Bibles and read daily to gain a personal understanding and conviction about what the Bible really teaches, for only the Bible is our authority in matters related to God!

     "Fear God and keep his commandments" can be expanded into the entire teaching of scripture, but this teaching must always appear in simple understandable ideas, or it has violated the spirit of this final message of Solomon. He had his fill of complexity, he was looking for the simple truth of man's duty to God. May we remember that same theme in our daily lives.

Oh, for a faith that will not shrink, tho' pressed by every foe;
That will nor tremble on the brink of earthly woe.
That will not murmur or complain, beneath the chastening rod;
But in the hour of grief and pain, will lean upon its God.
A faith that shines more bright and clear when tempest rage without;
That when in danger knows no fear, in darkness feels no doubt.
Lord, give us each such faith as this, and then, whate'er may come,
We'll taste e'en here, the hallowed bliss of an eternal home.

- - W. H. Bathurst

Elder Joe Holder
Little Zion Primitive Baptist Church
16434 Woodruff
Bellflower, California

Fear: Part 6 - Biblical Fear - Glorious Simplicity
Gospel Gleanings
Volume 2, Number 2
January 11, 1987

Submitted by Sister Martha Pitney
Of Friendship PBC in Denver

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