14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 - 8
ESV - 1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.
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I would say that "fear" with respect to a response to God does not necessarily denote sheer terror (although it can, depending on the context), but a reverential awe that is a very appropriate and rational reaction to a Being who is eternal and omnipotent, as well as omniscient and omnipresent. However, God also incarnated Himself in the person of Christ to relate to humans in a way that clearly shows His love for them -- to the point of being willing to undeservedly suffer and die so that those humans could spend eternity in God's presence (John 3:16). I would also note that God does not "compel" anyone to either fear or love Him. Humans have a power of choice with respect to their response to God. However, if that choice should result in eternal separation from God -- which is indeed a destiny to be feared -- the responsibility for that state rests with humans and not God.
This book is best understood by reading the end before the beginning. Ecclesiastes 12:13,14: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring everyday work into judgement, including every secret thing whether good or evil." Time and chance come to all. Life is vanity, a breath, a shadow. We are vapor, soon gone. Verse 1:14 says it is "like grasping for wind." Life is empty without God. He is the Everlasting One. We can spend eternity with Him, if we accept. John 1:1,2 reveals that God is the only one who knows the end before the beginning. I don't think that I can grasp that! Each day we struggle and may even say, what's the point? Time passes! The word "time" occurs in this book thirty times! Any breath could be our last! So I think the point is, judgment and death are before each one! See Ecclesiastes chapter 8. Revelation 14:7: "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgement has come and worship Him who made heaven and earth and sea and springs of water." Hebrews 13:8: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Psalm 147:11: "The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him. In those who hope in His mercy." John 14:2,3: "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." Respect, honor, and worship Him while you can. Only one thing in this world is absolute, God's words!
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