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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Ecclesiastes 12

 

 

Verse 1

A MEMORY EXERCISE FOR THE YOUNG

‘Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.’

Ecclesiastes 12:1

I. What is it to remember God?—It is, in the figurative language of the Old Testament Scriptures, to walk with God; to set the Lord always before our face; to dwell in the secret place of the Most High; to abide under the shadow of the Almighty. It is to have the thought of God constantly present to us, keeping us watchful, humble, contented, diligent, pure, peaceable.

II. Why should we thus remember God?—‘Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.’ The service to which we are called is a reasonable service. He Who made us has a right to us. And let us be quite sure that in resisting His call, in fighting against the demands of our Creator, we must be on the losing side; it must be our ruin; it must be our misery.

III. ‘Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth.’—We can discern the main reasons for this urgency. (1) First, because the days of youth are happy days. As yet you have something to offer which will do God honour; and if you wait till youth is gone, you withhold from Him that acceptable sacrifice. (2) The days of thy youth are vigorous days. The work of remembering God is easier in early than in later life. If you waste this precious time, soon will the evil days come: days of unceasing toil; days of dissipating pleasure; days of bitter disappointment; days of overpowering temptation; days of rooted habits, of deep spiritual slumber. Remember then thy Creator now, while the evil days come not.

—Dean Vaughan.

Illustrations

(1) ‘Sit down by yourself each day, and think steadily and quietly about God, His claims, His love, His words of truth and grace. It is recorded of one of the Egyptian kings that he was accustomed to spend a certain amount of time each day in a room which was furnished with the utmost simplicity as a shepherd’s hut. He loved to be reminded of the circumstances of his early years; he said that they enabled him to think more truly of himself, and of the responsibilities of his government.’

(2) ‘The poem of old age contained in the first seven verses of the last chapter of Ecclesiastes is one of the most beautiful of all the beautiful poems of the Bible. The writer represents intellect by the sun, memory by the moon, and the senses by the stars. The clouds, returning after the rain, symbolise the oft-recurring tears of the aged. Death is shown by the Eastern symbol of a silver cord and golden bowl pertaining to a lamp suspended from the ceiling, which burns for a long time, and then suddenly snaps and falls to the ground. “When the lamp is broken, the light in the dust lies dead.” Religion is one of the deepest pleasures of life, and ought to be tasted in “life’s gay morn,” before age has impaired the faculties. Good old people do not take a gloomy view of old age. They look to the rising, not to the setting sun. Religion is a splendid thing to die with, but it is a still better thing to live with.’

 


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Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 12:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/ecclesiastes-12.html. 1876.

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