Fear Before God, Ecc 8:12-13

This lesson contrasts those who fear before God, Ecc 8:12, with those who don’t fear before God, Ecc 8:13.  The way that ‘before’ is used in these verses means “under the jurisdiction of”.

We are all under God’s jurisdiction.  That is, we are all subject to God’s judgment.  God is the judge of everybody and everything that everybody does.  Ps 58:11 “… he is a God that judgeth in the earth”.  Ecc 3:17 “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked”.

He will judge Christians at the judgement seat of Christ, Rom 14:10-12, 2 Cor 5:10.  He will judge Israel during the Tribulation, Rom 11:25-27.  God will judge the nations at the beginning of his millennial reign, Matt 25:31-46.  And he will judge the dead at the White Throne Judgment, Rev 20:11-15.

Everybody gets judged.  Even your secrets and your idle words will be judged.  Rom 2:16 “God shall judge the secrets of men”. Matt 12:36 “every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment”.

We must keep this truth in mind all the time.  Ecc 11:9 says, “… walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment”.

The other definition of ‘before’ that also applies in this passage is “in the presence of”.  We are all always in God’s presence.  Prov 15:3, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good”.  There is not a place in this universe where you can go and hide from God, Ps 139:7-12.  He is everywhere all the time.  He sees it all and he judges it all.

Because we are before God, we must fear before God.  Solomon wrote in Ecc 12:13-14, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep is commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil”.

Thus, as we see in this passage, “it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him”.  Moses wrote in Deut 4:40, “Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever”.

However, our text presents a problem.  The problem is that some sinners sin repeatedly and yet their days on earth are prolonged.  In this case, they may develop an attitude about their sin.

They may be inclined to continue sinning because there are no bad consequences to their sin.  Gal 6:7-8 shows us that we reap what we sow.  Yet, since they aren’t apparently reaping, they go right on sinning with total disregard for what God said.

They may also be inclined to disbelief, thinking that God’s words aren’t true.  In Ecc 8:13, God said, “”it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days”.  Yet, their days are, in some cases, seemingly better than “them that fear God”.  Asaph saw this in Ps 73:3-7, and he was envious.

These two attitudes can really present a challenge to young Christians.  They may become discouraged about living in the fear of God if they see no immediate benefit to themselves and no immediate consequence to those who are wicked.

This is why Solomon wrote this passage.  Regardless what you see going on in the life of “a sinner” that does “evil an hundred times”, “it shall not be well with the wicked”.  His days may “be prolonged”, meaning his life is not cut short like “bloody and deceitful men”, Ps 55:23.  Yet, “neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow”.  You’re only going to live so long down here, Job 14:1-2.  And you’re not going to extend them by sin.

Since he “feareth not before God”, the end result of his life, when he is judged by the God who sees and knows everything, will be the second death and an eternity in the lake of fire, Rev 21:8.

On the other hand, “it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him”.  You say, “How do you know”?  We know because God said so.

For one thing, your life down here is better.  Prov 19:23, “The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil”.  Prov 14:26-27 “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death”.  These are a few good reasons.

And for another thing, you prolong your days when you fear before God.  You fear his jurisdiction and you fear his presence.  When you get to the end of this life, unlike the wicked who “feareth not before God”, you keep on living.  You prolong your days to the point that they are never ending.

To study the previous lesson, see A Wise Man’s Heart Discerneth. To study the next lesson, see A Man Cannot Find Out The Work.