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13 November, 2013

Devotional and Practical Meditations on the Book of Ecclesiastes - The Fear of God

"The one who fears God shall escape them all." Ecclesiastes 7:18

"Escape" from what? Escape . . .

from dangerous extremes;
from snares on either hand;
from being over-righteous,
or being over-wicked.

There is wondrous depth in Solomon's experience. He always hits the nail upon the head; and Gospel light only confirms his sayings. Can it be otherwise? The same God, who spoke by Paul, or Paul, guided the pen of Solomon. Is it not true, my Christian friend? Are you not exposed to danger, on the right hand and the left — now tempted into carelessness, now led to hush your conscience wrongfully; one moment to neglect your duties — and the next to build too much upon them? How needful, then, the Preacher's warnings! How comforting his promise, that grace shall do its work from first to last!

By grace we are chosen; by grace we are called; by grace made willing in the day of power. (Psalm 90.) By grace we live. By grace we stand. By grace we are kept. By grace we persevere. By grace we enter glory. But for this grace — what could we do? No faith, no hope, no strength, no peace, were ours.

How could we battle with our sins?
How could we rise above temptation?
How could we flee from snares?
How could we overcome the enemy of souls?
How, but by grace?

In Solomon's day it was still the same. God called his chosen ones.
By grace He saved them;
by grace He sanctified them;
by grace He glorified them.

Without this grace, how could the promise stand? Man's strength is nothing; his perseverance nothing; his good intentions less than nothing. It is not man's "will". God's "shall" is that which does it. God says, "It shall be," "The one who fears God shallescape them all."

These promises are given, not to exalt us — but to humble us. Boasting is excluded. By what law? The only law that could exclude it — the law of faith and grace. (Romans 3:27.)

Tell man that HE can do it — and you only . . .
feed his pride,
deceive his soul, and
lead him further from God, and deeper into sin.

Tell him that God's GRACE must do it — and you humble him low in the dust of helplessness. My soul, God's grace has saved you, built you on Christ, and nourished your soul. It is God Himself who has laid the top-stone of your glory, while saints and angels shouted, "Grace, Grace unto it!" (Zech. 4:7.)
Oh, my soul, your only hope is this — that God is faithful; that, having loved His own, He loves them to the end. (John 13:1.) In life, in death, through all eternity, this will your glory be — that God's grace has done it all.