5. In awe of him.
I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it. God works so that people will be in awe of Him.
Ecclesiastes 3: 14, HCSB
Solomon surely understood the complexities of life. His work of wisdom, Ecclesiastes, is a confessional treatise about the meaninglessness of life without God. Even those of us with little biblical background know of his wisdom, wealth, architectural success, rule of Israel, and assessments of life under the sun. Ecclesiastes depicts his personal regret in the human values of time, fortune, fame, position, power, and relationships. His conclusion that all is vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2) portrayed a sense of futility that he viewed as the end result of most human pursuits. Notable in his assessment are references to the many life solutions he thought would give him a sense of genuine worth but ended resulting in little. After wrestling with perplexing dilemmas he formulated a brilliant conclusive thought---
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for
this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every
secret thing, whether good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14, ESV
Still, there were glimpses of spiritual truth in his explorations, ah-ha moments of discovery. The theme verse above is one of them, a recitation of what was revealed to him early in his thoughtful reflection. He truly was aware of God working in his life. The tripping point for him, however, was that the outcomes of God's working had been ascribed to him and not to God. The nation of Israel revered their king, the son of David. He had rebuilt the Jewish temple in Jerusalem and many of the cities that had been destroyed in warfare. Solomon restored the Levitical and priestly systems to enable worship, and had amassed enormous armies and military equipment. 2 Chronicles 8-9 provide listings of the many things that brought him fame. These things, however grandiose, frustrated Solomon because they were ascribed to him and not to God. And, his standing among men had brought him little peace and security. One summation of his reflection was the concluding phrase of the theme verse---God works so that people will be in awe of Him.
Things happen in history that can only be ascribed to God. Our historians make note of them, even describe some of them as miraculous, but typically give those honors to the humans involved. Over the last generation our shallow secular culture has co-opted the ideal of awesomeness to describe just about anything pleasurable or even decent. Originating in the late 1500's awesome referenced reverential awe, a worshipful response to something amazing. In the 1960's it morphed downward, describing the California surf, teenage adventures, and later the valley girl types popularized in cinema. Today everything is awesome---your favorite burger, computer games, your automobile, your small group, and last nights sleep. Meaning that the most important things have been de-valued by our word games. An awesome 49 cent ball point pen? Give me a break!
In 2004 I was diagnosed with an advanced stage transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. It had penetrated my bladder lining and had traveled my lymph system into organs I didn't know I had. A urological surgeon performed a ten-hour orthotopic neobladder substitution surgery. After several months of chemotherapy I was pronounced in remission. Five years later they pronounced me cured. When I recovered people would look at me and say "awesome". Or, they would describe the surgical and oncology teams as awesome. Others lauded Harriet's care of me as awesome. One day many months later, my surgeon brought all of the awesomeness to a head. During a routine examination he reminded me that God had engineered the revolutionary new surgical procedure and medical treatments. The surgeon told the preacher that God was the awesome one. In study later, I discovered the above listed Theme Verse in the Holman Christian Study Bible version. It rang my bell.
You see, God is always working his pleasure for the good of those who love him and pursue his purpose. He will bring that work to completion when we stand in his presence at the finish line of all things. And, we will be in awe of him.
Like we should be now.