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Before the Final Awakening

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
April 20, 2021 12:00 am

Before the Final Awakening

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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April 20, 2021 12:00 am

King Solomon issues a warning: Death is not the final slumbering, death is the final awakening! Since life is short, with just a breath between you and death, it's vital to remember your Creator! Remembering your Creator means you won’t become misguided in your youth – you'll walk with Him. Remembering your Creator means you won’t become miserable in your old age – you'll trust Him. And remembering your Creator means you won’t be mistaken at your death – you believe in Him.

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Old age is arriving with diverse problems, but can I just add that old age is also arriving with divine promises.

Like this one from Isaiah the prophet, God says this, you have been carried by me from birth. Even to your old age I will be the same. Even to your graying years I will carry you.

I have done it, I will bear you and I will carry you and I will save you. If you feel like you're getting up there in years, King Solomon has a message for you today. But don't turn this off if you're young, because he has a message for you as well. All of us are moving toward death and life seems awfully short. But God wants us to live wisely, no matter how much time we have left on this earth. Death is not final. Death is actually an awakening for the believer. In light of that fact, we should live well and live with eternity in mind.

We're going to explore this today here on Wisdom for the Heart. Stephen Davey has a message for you called, Before the Final Awake Me. Let's turn to the last chapter as Solomon begins to write his closing comments. And for the sake of our exposition, I've divided his inspired comments into a three-fold warning. We'll cover eight verses today and the remaining in our next session. The first warning is especially for young people. He sort of carries it over from chapter 11 if you were with us.

Here it is. Remember your creator so that you don't become misguided in your youth. Remember your creator so that you don't become misguided in your youth. I'm reading from Ecclesiastes chapter 12 and verse 1. Remember also your creator in the days of your youth before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, I have no pleasure in them.

Now again, Solomon, as he's been doing throughout his private journal, sort of dips his quill into the ink of realism. He's going to lay out the truth for us today. And the truth is the older you get, the more difficult life becomes as clouds just kind of come in.

And we'll describe a little bit further what he means. You have added responsibilities. You have added challenges. You have aches and pains and constraints and bills and limitations. I mean, there's a lot about getting old that takes courage.

And again, not one amen from this audience either, lest we be identified as the elderly. One author I've enjoyed reading must have been writing his commentary around Christmas time and he'd evidently seen one too many department stores Santa Claus. And he wrote with humor that it occurred to him that life comes in four stages. In the first stage, you believe there is a Santa Claus. In the second stage, you don't believe there is a Santa Claus. In the third stage, you realize that you are Santa Claus. And in the fourth stage, you start looking like Santa Claus. And a young person would say, that'll never happen to me. I'll never look like you old geezers. Well, thank you very much.

It's going to happen. But you have the world in front of them. And by the way, Solomon isn't necessarily emphasizing that here anyway. He's not stressing to the youth. Remember the fact that you're going to get old.

No. What does he say? Remember your creator. It will never be easy for you to remember your creator in a world that suppresses the truth of him, that doesn't want to hear his word, that doesn't want to hear about him, that comes up with all sorts of theories of origins to do away with him, that persistently refuses to give him honor and thanks for having created all that he did. Romans chapter one, verse 21. I mean, think about the fact that the apostle Paul said, mankind will suppress the truth of creation. And he wrote that 1900 years ago.

There's no wonder. I mean, if the knowledge of a creator is foundational in the life of a young person is just beginning, no wonder the enemy of God would want to pummel our youth with the propaganda of evolution. There is no creator. You have no creator. The universe is a result of random chance. You're just a highly skilled animal. Your life is the result of gene mutations, probably seeded by aliens.

There's no creator. Your life then is unaccountable. Do what the animals do. Your life is all up to whatever you want to make of it, which is the worst advice possible. You see, the last thing Satan and the world system would ever want you or anyone to hear is the words of God, the sun, without me, you can do nothing, which is of lasting value. Remember your creator so that you don't become misguided in your youth.

Here's another warning. Remember your creator so that you don't become miserable in your old age. Lay the foundation so that now is an old man. Solomon is a realist. He's repented.

He's come back to God. He realizes that with age comes a boatload of difficulties and challenges and limitations. In fact, what he's going to do now for the next several verses, it's actually one sentence in the Hebrew language. One sentence, he's going to poetically describe what it means to get old.

He's going to dip his quill back in, the ink of realism, and he's going to describe it. Go to verse 2. He writes, before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain. In other words, remember your creator before the lights start to go out. In this context, it seems to indicate perhaps a sad countenance, some believe, that you can overcome an old person. It's just sort of so the clouds come in.

The clouds move in. Enough of life bears down. There's a struggle. The idea of the sun, the light, reflecting stars, scholars believe is a reference to clarity. That light bulb that to us even to this day represents the mind, well, it starts to dim. With that, of course, comes the muddling of the mind and the memory. The memory is fading. One author wrote with some humor about the loss of memory. He said, you know, about the time your complexion finally clears up, your memory begins to go. That's so good. Maybe you're there right now, but you can't remember if you are or not.

Just stay with me. I recently read one of the authors I was researching told this story about some 35 year old college friends. They'd been in college and maintained a friendship. They decided to reunite every 15 years to just stay in touch.

They all lived in the same town. And for their first reunion, when they met in one of their homes, they decided to go eat at the glowing embers restaurant because it was conveniently located and they all agreed. 15 years later, at the age of 50, they met and discussed where to go eat. They decided to go to the glowing embers restaurant because they liked the menu and they all agreed. 15 years later at 65 years of age, they met and discussed where to go eat. They decided the glowing embers restaurant because it was quiet and relaxing. They all agreed.

15 years later, at the age of 80, they met and discussed where to go eat and they decided to eat at the glowing embers restaurant because they had never eaten there before. And they all agreed. Solomon writes that old age can be metaphorically described here. Look at verse three. In the day when the keepers of the house tremble and the strong men are bent. The keepers of the house are reference to the hands that now shake and tremble.

The hands and arms that used to defend the house are beginning to bend and tremble. He writes further in verse three, all the grinders cease because they are are few. Grinders are your teeth of course. Even with the best of dental care your original teeth are now few and far between. You've come a long way from your childhood where you used to get so excited about losing a tooth.

In fact you usually got money under your pillow because of that and now you're paying dearly yourself. He writes here about looking through dimmed windows. This reference poetically to a blurred vision. You just can't see clearly anymore right? I can remember at the age of 40 stepping into the pulpit and introducing myself in a brand new way because I had to bring for the first time with me a pair of glasses.

And I told the congregation that now having turned 40 I was in need and I told them then. It's funny to me now but I remember I just couldn't read as well as I used to be able to read. I knew there was a problem.

It had to be a problem. I'm 39 and a half and almost 40 and so I went to the optometrist, the doctor and he told me, Stephen you don't have a problem. You're just getting old. So I changed doctors.

I got a pair of glasses and then you have that moment perhaps when the doctor says you need bifocals, trifocals. Solomon writes again with realism though poetically in verse 4, and the doors on the street are shut when the sound of the grinding is low. More than likely a reference to hearing problems. The ears pictured as doors are shutting as if they were gates to a city and the sounds of that loud grinding mill, that lumberman, that's just a low hum.

That's clearly heard. There's another description of old age verse 4 of the latter part, and one rises up at the sound of a bird. When the daughters of song, he writes, are brought low. Daughters, perhaps a reference to all of those things that work together to allow you to sing from vocal chords to lungs to diaphragm. All that used to work together to allow you to sing and now it just kind of quivers and quakes and you can't get a strong enough breath to hold that note. You don't sing then as loudly as you used to. You probably shouldn't sing as loudly as you used to.

I don't like it. I can hear myself. Do you hear yourself? You used to be able to hold that note and now you're just kind of all over it as you hang on to it.

That's what he's talking about here. All that conspired to allow you to sing begins to conspire against you. Verse 5, they are afraid of what is high and terrors are in the way. Bones are brittle.

Old age heals slower. The fear of breaking something is now much more important to God. You're going to avoid the heights. You're afraid of what is high. You're not going to climb a tall ladder. You shouldn't. You're going to be careful at a set of stairs going up or down. You're going to watch out for curves. For us in this generation, it would be driving at night. Terrors are in the way.

It's just more and more difficult. Getting old, as I said, takes courage. Verse 5, the almond tree blossoms. The almond tree blossoms in the late winter.

Begins with a reddish color and then it turns white. It's a clear, beautiful, poetic reference to that auburn hair turning gray in the winter of life. He writes to the grasshopper here, drags itself along. It loses that youthful ability to hop.

Somewhere along the line you realize, you know, I don't really jump anymore. It's as if we have a burden on our backs. He refers here to the loss of desire.

So Solomon here is colorfully and realistically describing the winding down of the body. So remember your creator all the way back there in the days of your youth. In other words, start building that foundation of truth and trust in him because he wants you to enjoy not only your youth but all your years as you build on that foundation of truth and trust in his creative plan for your life. But how life changes.

Old age is arriving with diverse problems. But can I just add before we go any further that old age is also arriving with divine promises. Like this one from Isaiah the prophet.

God is speaking to the nation Israel but he delivers the same truth to every believer. God says this, you have been carried by me from birth and have been carried from the womb. Even to your old age I will be the same. Don't you like that? Even to your graying years I will carry you.

I have done it. I will bear you and I will carry you and I will save you. Man, that's a great promise. Just as we sang earlier, oh God of the ages, let me hide myself in you. With that surrender comes fulfillment and peace and security and joy. No matter where you are in your years, God is in control.

Make the most out of your youth and make the most out of your old age. The way you do that is to remember your Creator. Don't forget your Creator. God's Word tells you your Creator isn't going to forget you. Solomon now shifts to the final scenes of life.

I want to get a couple other verses here under our belt. He describes a funeral procession in the last part of verse 5. He says man is going to his eternal home and the mourners go about the streets. Mourners were professionals. That was an occupation. This tells us the funeral's taken place.

They're out in the streets. They're lamenting the death of the individual he's been describing. Now what Solomon does is provide some poetic descriptions of that final moment, that sudden moment.

Even though you know it's just been kind of creeping along, it happens suddenly. He says in verse 6, before, remember your Creator is the context, before the silver cord is snapped or the golden bowl is broken, here the golden bowl is a lamp hanging from the ceiling by a silver chain. The chain suddenly breaks and the light of life is broken. By the way, Solomon is describing a rather expensive lamp, perhaps to hint that death is no respecter of persons.

Doesn't matter if you got a little light bulb or a golden lamp, it's coming. Notice further the water pitcher, it's filled with water but it's shattered. The fountain, the wheel that pulls up the water breaks. Water in the Old Testament is a picture of life. You're full of life but suddenly your heart stops pumping, the wheel stops working and suddenly the picture of life is shattered and death suddenly arrives. What happens at death?

Well now no more metaphors by the way, no more poetry, just the raw truth. Verse 7, and the dust returns to the earth as it was and the Spirit returns to God who gave it, who created it. God told Adam and Eve as they're being exiled from the garden, having sinned against him, he fulfilled for them that promises they begin to die and he tells them eventually you are dust and to dust you shall return.

Genesis 3 19. Solomon underscores the fact that that isn't the end. When that picture is shattered, when the heart stops pumping there is an immediate separation of body and spirit, temporal, eternal, material and that immaterial part of you which is the real you, you've just been carried around by this temporal thing called a body and the Spirit wings its way to God. That's for believers, 2nd Corinthians chapter 5.

For those who are unbelievers, Luke 16 tells us the Spirit immediately goes to a place of torment where the unbeliever will await that final judgment call before the great white throne of God. So Solomon essentially issues another warning here by way of review, remember your Creator so that you won't become misguided in your youth, remember your Creator so that you don't become miserable in your old age and now this remember your Creator so that you aren't mistaken at your death. Life is fleeting, it's just a breath. James chapter 4 verse 14 says life appears for a little while but it's just a vapor, it vanishes away. Solomon is saying the same thing summarizing the brevity of our lives and no longer how long we've lived verse 8 says vanity of anities says the preacher all is vanities.

Does that sound familiar? It's how he began a journal. Chapter 1 and verse 2, same words vanity of anities says the preacher all is vanity.

Vanity can can refer to fleeting, it can refer to futility, it can refer to frustration, depending on the context it can refer to brevity. That's his idea here, it's it's just a breath, it's just a vapor. No matter how long you live eventually you're confronted with the reality that life is fleeting away.

What's the answer? Solomon is warning us that life is short, it's just a breath or two between you and death so remember your Creator, that's the answer. He gave his life to you so that your life would have meaning. He came to earth so you could go to heaven.

He gives your life purpose and meaning to honor him, to introduce others to him, to serve him and and others to rejoice and all of his good gifts to enjoy the day as he brings it and to await that coming day when you see him face to face, when your spirit travels upward and onward and into the presence of your Creator God. Can you imagine that moment? Can you imagine, and I think of it often, that transition, those few seconds when your spirit arrives as a believer in heaven from mortal to immortality as it were, 1st Corinthians 15, but that moment when it dawns on you where you are, that moment when you say I'm here, I am safe eternally and secure and you hear the sounds of joy and conversation and laughter as I'm assuming it gets louder and louder and the music of the redeemed that's singing along with an angelic host and then you see the Lord upon his throne perhaps at your first sight in his dazzling brilliance and before his throne you fall.

But can you imagine the moment for the unbeliever? There really was judgment. There really was sin.

There really was accountability. The Gospel I heard was true. The conscience that made me feel guilty was warning me. The truth of creation that I rejected, it wasn't random accidents. It was divinely created. There really is a Creator. Solomon issues the warning.

Let me put it in this terminology. Death is not some final slumbering. Death is not some final sleeping. Death is the final awakening. Awakening. I have been at the bedside of individuals who've taken that last breath and have heard testimonies of those who've been with others.

But I've seen with my own eyes the most remarkable thing that occurs again and again. They're lying there, their eyes closed, unconscious. The machines are pumping away and suddenly their eyes open and they're gone. Their eyes open and they're gone.

What do they see? Remembering your Creator, my friends, means that you won't be misguided in your youth. Walk with Him.

Start now. Remembering your Creator means you won't become miserable in your old age as you trust Him, as He carries you along. Remembering your Creator means you won't be mistaken at your death.

Believe in Him. And to the unbeliever, the Bible promises, call upon the name of the Lord and you shall be saved. And that's all that will matter in that day. To the believer, the Bible says in 1st Corinthians 15, your labor is not in vain.

Guess what? Your life isn't meaningless. It isn't vanity. It's God's assignment and what you do is you glorify Him in the mundane and in the wonderful moments. It is not in vain in the Lord. So here's what you do before that final awakening. Remember your Creator because one day everyone will stand before Him, some to judgment.

I pray for you it will be forever lasting joy. As you listened to this admonition to remember your Creator, the best time to do that is right now. Live this day being mindful of your Creator God. Thanks for joining us today here on Wisdom for the Heart, the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey and you can learn more about us if you visit our website wisdomonline.org. Once you go there you'll be able to access the complete archive of Stephen's Bible teaching ministry. We also post each day's broadcast so if you ever miss one of these lessons you can go to our website to keep caught up with our daily Bible teaching ministry. In addition to equipping you with these daily Bible messages we also have a magazine that includes articles written by Stephen to help you dive deep into various topics related to the Christian life. The magazine also has a daily devotional guide that you can use to remain grounded in God's Word every day. The magazine is called Heart to Heart. We send Heart to Heart magazine to all of our wisdom partners, but we'd be happy to send you the next three issues if you'd like to see it for yourself. You can sign up for it on our website or you can call us today at 866-48-BIBLE. That's 866-482-8248. I hope you'll be with us next time as we conclude this series from Ecclesiastes here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-28 10:02:05 / 2023-11-28 10:12:04 / 10

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