8:1-9:10 – ‘Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might…’ (9:10). ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…’ (Colossians 3:23-24). These two verses seem, at first, to be saying the same thing – until we read the rest of each verse! The first is describing life ‘under the sun’ (9:9): ‘in the grave where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom’. The second describes life in the Son: ‘you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward’. There is more to life than life under the sun. There is life in the Son. In everything we do, we must remember this: ‘It is the Lord Jesus Christ you are serving’. We are ‘working for the Lord, not for men’. ‘Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord… your labour in the Lord is not in vain’ (1 Corinthians 15:58).
9:11-10:20 – ‘Wisdom is better than weapons of war’ (9:18). We are to seek the better way, the way of wisdom, the way of peace: ‘The wisdom that comes from heaven is… peace-loving… Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness’ (James 3:18). We look back over the history of our world. We wish there had been more peace and less war. We pray for a better future – more peace, less war. We pray to ‘the God of peace’. We pray for ‘the peace of God’. We pray that God will fulfill His promise: ‘The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet’ (Philippians 4:9,7; Romans 15:33; 16:20). Let us look to ‘the Cross of Jesus’. Let us trust in ‘Christ, the Royal Master’. He leads us in His victory: ‘At the Name of Jesus, Satan’s legions flee; On then, Christian soldiers, On to victory!’ (Church Hymnary, 480).
11:1-12:14 – ‘Fear God, and keep His commandments’ (12:13). This is ‘the heart of the matter’. It’s ‘the matter of the heart’. How can we even begin to fear God and keep His commandments if our hearts are full of sin? How can our hearts be cleansed from sin? There’s only one way we can learn to ‘fear God, and keep His commandments’. We must begin by opening our hearts to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. We must look to Him for forgiveness – ‘I will cleanse you’. We must look to Him for a new beginning – ‘I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit in you’ (Ezekiel 36:26). Let our fear of the Lord be filled with the love of Jesus. Let our keeping of God’s commandments be filled with thanksgiving for Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Let us be devoted to Christ: ‘Take my heart – it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne’ (Church Hymnary, 462).