Have you ever been semi-listening in on someone’s conversation? (Not intentionally, of course.) Maybe you were in a restaurant and you heard those magic words at the table next to you: “I am going to tell you a secret right now. … ” So what do you do? You listen more carefully.
We all love to hear secrets. We want to know the inside story, even if it is about a complete stranger.
I have news for you. God has a secret He wants to share with you. The Bible tells us, “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him …” (Psalm 25:14). In many ways, this isn’t really a secret, because it is plainly declared in Scripture. It is a secret that can help you avoid untold misery and heartache. You might say it is the secret of living, that is, of living life to its fullest and having the guaranteed hope that when you die, you will live forever in the presence of God in heaven.
We find this secret in the book of Ecclesiastes, in which the writer, Solomon, essentially shares what he has learned from life the hard way. Solomon was someone who decided to go hog wild into sin. He decided to try everything this world had to offer. With unlimited resources and a lot of time on his hands, he was able to do what some people only dream about. This was a man who literally tried it all.
Solomon was highly educated, yet he went on unbelievable drinking binges. He chased after women like there was no tomorrow. He was an architectural genius and built incredible structures. He was worth billions of dollars. Yet he abandoned God in his search for meaning in life.
At the end of it all, here was the conclusion he came to: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (12:13 NKJV). That is profound. Solomon was saying, “Listen to a seasoned pro. I know what I am talking about here. If you leave God out of the picture, then your life is going to be empty, meaningless and futile. But if you want to live a life that is full, a life with purpose, then here it is: Fear God and keep His commandments.” That is what it all comes down to.
However, a lot of us don’t like commandments. We see them as restrictive. But if you want to live a life that is full, then you have to recognize there are parameters. And there are absolutes.
It would be like someone saying, “I don’t like traffic lights. I am not into those. They really bug me. I am not going to live by the rules. I am going to drive wherever I want to and go whenever I want to go. I want my freedom.” But those traffic lights are there for your protection.
Yes, the Bible says we should not do certain things. But it is for our own good.
Someone may look at the commandments of God and say, “These are restrictive and they ruining my life.” But His commandments are not there to make your life miserable. They are barriers of protection. That is what Solomon was saying: Fear God and keep His commandments.
Of course, there are many who disagree. They are determined to live by their own rules. I guarantee that one day they will come to the same conclusion Solomon did: It is empty to break God’s commands and try to live without them.
When the Bible tells us to “fear” God, this word could also be translated “reverence.” We are to reverence God. Honor God. Respect God. It means that we don’t take His offer of forgiveness through Jesus Christ for granted.
God is saying to you that you are not going to find the answers in success. You are not even going to find the answers in a good education, in a career, in a big house, in a marriage, in a relationship with a guy or a girl, in drinking and partying, or in whatever else it is you might be pursuing right now. You are only going to find what you are looking for in a relationship with God.
That was the conclusion of Solomon. You can either discover this the hard way, or you can take God’s word for it. I would suggest the latter. The choice is up to you.