As we conclude our study of the book of Proverbs today, it is a bitter/sweet moment. The book is an encouraging message about following Wisdom and discerning when to apply situational proverbs. Ecclesiastes 12:9-14 seems fitting as a concluding thought to our study. The wise teacher analyzes his entire life and all the wisdom given to him by God and realizes that in the end, all that matters is whether we fear and obey God. The term “fear” is not only a shuttering terror of him, but the concept of respect and acknowledgement of who God is. We began our series with this section and close with it forming an inclusion. It provides the framework of the writing of Proverbs.
In the latter part of verse 13 we are told that “fearing” God and keeping his commandments are “the entire duty of man.” It’s interesting how often we find other things to occupy our time in our life and God’s community. We often focus our efforts on debates, building large buildings, obtaining wealth, or making power plays for a better position. At the end of the day, God desires none of these things. Rather, God desires us to fear Him and obey Him. Regardless of our attempts to worship Him and know His Word, if we are not fearing and obeying Him throughout life (remember, in Proverbs wisdom has to do with putting what we know in action) the former is meaningless. We are only useful to God when we apply and act upon His revelation to us. It is then that we are keeping in step with the Holy Spirit of God!
What do you need to practice in order to be in step with God’s Spirit? What have you integrated into your actions since we began a study of Proverbs? How are you being held accountable to that integration?