Ecclesiastes 12:1-14


Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return with the rain; in the day when the guards of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the women who grind cease working because they are few, and those who look through the windows see dimly; when the doors on the street are shut, and the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low; when one is afraid of heights, and terrors are in the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along and desire fails; because all must go to their eternal home, and the mourners will go about the streets; before the silver cord is snapped, and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher; all is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 12:1-8
Outline Points:
Drink in the meaning of your own end (v.1-8)
Talking Points:
  • Qohelet uses a lot of vivid pictures here: what do you see, hear, and feel as you imagine them?
  • What do you think Qohelet is trying to make you come to grips with? Do you want to face the reality he's describing?
  • Be really honest: do you think about your own death like it's actually a reality, or do you keep it far from mind, far from a reality in your own life? Why do you think that is?
  • What good is there in coming to grips with the reality that everything breaks down, wears out, and ceases to exist?
Besides being wise, the Teacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs. The Teacher sought to find pleasing words, and he wrote words of truth plainly. The sayings of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings that are given by one shepherd. Of anything beyond these, my child, beware. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:9-14
Outline Points:
Be driven by his words to a new way of living (vv. 9-14)
  • The conclusions are less important (vv.9-12)
  • Your response is most important (vv.13-14)
Talking Points:
  • Qohelet does not give up on life or give us a completely bleak outlook. Instead, he gives us plenty to set our mind on. What does he drive us to consider and do?
  • Remember that Qohelet has written this book as a quest for answers and conclusions on why life is the way it is and how to live the best life we can. How significant is his conclusion here (vv.9-12 and 13-14)?
  • How challenging is the thought that the explanations of "why things are the way they are" matters a lot less than whether we do what God requires? What do you tend to require of God before you'll obey Him?
Outline Points:
Bottom Line: Fear God and keep His commands

  1. Write your own obituary.
  2. Start living an unhidden life.

Gospel Connection: The Gospel nails our shame to the cross.
Talking Points:
  • Qohelet seems less interested in his search for answers and even more resolved that the number one concern of any human is to please God. If your life was boiled down to only this, what would be different about you? What would be the same?
  • To come to grips with the reality of vv.1-8 and to consider how you might respond best (vv.13-14), write your own obituary. Consider sharing this with your Band-mates, Group, or a family members. What does your obituary reveal about your desires? Does your obituary read accurately to your life or is it more aspirational than reality?
    • The real gold will come when you share your obituary with your group or others and ask them to answer these questions! If you cringe at the idea of this, consider it a tangible practice of living an unhidden life! Recall the Gospel Connection and take the plunge into a new way of walking together in the light.
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