Today we read the final chapter of Ecclesiastes which begins with wise advice, “Remember … your Creator in the days of your youth”. The Hebrew for “remember” is sometimes translated as “mindful” e.g. Psalm 8:4 – that God is “mindful” of human beings. How “full” are our minds of our Creator in our youth? Solomon sees this as vital when we are young, so this surely advice especially applies when we are teenagers. Some unwisely have a philosophy of sowing a few ‘wild oats’ before committing to God. Whatever we fill our minds with, whatever experiences, these will leave a stain in our minds.

Temptation comes in many forms. At the start they may not seem too bad, but it is never easy to get off the broad way once we have started along it. When we come to verse 11 we read, “The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one shepherd”.

Solomon sees himself as a shepherd, but Jesus is the ultimate shepherd. Their wise words only become goads if we have firmly fixed them in our minds. We will soon read in Acts the point Paul made to the Ephesian elders, “for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (20:27). Are we steadily absorbing the whole counsel of God day by day?

Solomon ends his thought-provoking and challenging book by writing, “The end of the matter: all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil”.

Paul before the Roman Governor Felix “reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment” and as a consequence, “Felix was alarmed …” (24:25). If we have made our minds full of our Creator “in the days of our youth” we will have no need to be alarmed.