Escape from Vanity
We can be free not to live our lives vainly controlled by the fear of man.
Today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 10-12; 2 Corinthians 11:16-32
13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves! 20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face. 21 To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that! 2 Corinthians 11:19-21
The book of Ecclesiastes closes with a final overarching statement about man’s duty. Fear God and keep His commandments because you will face Him in judgment. It seems to contradict the oft-repeated phrase, “All is vanity.” All does seem to be vain, at times. But all is not really vanity, because, while your hard work may not be fully rewarded and crime may pay in the short run, God is going to judge every deed, not only those which are easily observable but the secret ones, too. Justice will be done, when we meet God after this life is over.
Paul continues to admonish the Corinthians about their gullible trust in fools, those phony apostles who were doing Satan’s work. He stoops to their level, in a sense, by defending himself and showing that his suffering demonstrates the authenticity of his calling by God.
The main reason people “gladly bear with fools” is that they desire to please them. They fear being rejected by others, even those whose opinion clearly is of no consequence. They do not fear God, but fear man so they are easily manipulated, coerced, and led to foolishness. Proverbs 29:25 shows that the way to freedom from this malady is by replacing it with the trust in God.
Do you suffer fools gladly? Turn away from this through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died for this sin and gives His forgiven, Spirit-empowered disciples a proper fear of God. This is the duty we owe to Him, our Creator and Judge. Those who fear God may suffer for it in this world, but in the end they will be approved by God, the only One whose opinion matters. Your life will not be lived in vain.