Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

The Journey Of Futility

ECCLESIASTES 2:24-25 – There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?

THEME OF THE DAY. THE JOURNEY OF FUTILITY. There is one word which rightly defines sin – insanity. And one manifestation of the insanity in sin is human attempts to find satisfaction, contentment, meaning, pleasure and purpose in anyone or anything other than God. To abandon Him and seek what only He can provide is the height of human folly and deception. God has made it known there will never be lasting satisfaction, contentment, meaning, enjoyment, and purpose in anything or anyone other than Himself. This truth should be enough to cause us not to waste time, energy, money, even life itself, on trying to find in creation what is only found in the Creator. Yet, we do, even as Christians. We would call this foolishness “worldliness”.

In today’s scripture, King Solomon has been around the block. Go back and read the all that has been written by him in the book of Ecclesiastes leading up to what we are reading now. What we will find is a man who did what paragraph one of today’s nugget warns against. Solomon sought for the meaning of life, pleasure and contentment in everything but God. Pay attention to where his journey took him.

First, he sought to figure out the meaning of life apart from God – I, the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied by heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under the heaven. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind (Ecclesiastes 1:12-14). The application? There is no meaning to life apart from God. To try and find it without Him will lead to despair and disappointment.

Next, the King decided to go after a life of pleasure without God – I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:1). The application? Don’t let our obsessed with pleasure culture deceive us to think contentment in life is found in a life of pleasure. It isn’t. And if we are “pleasure possessed” we will soon experience deep dissatisfaction for all earthly pleasures are fleeing. We will have to find something new, someone new, or some new experience to satisfy carnal pleasure.

The King wasn’t done on his journey of futility to find pleasure, meaning and contentment in life apart from God. He went to the extreme – So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after the wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:9-11). Application? Here is the strongest warning and greatest lesson we may learn from Solomon. He let go all self-control and restrain. He dove into worldliness in all areas; sexuality, materialism, acquiring status, achieving educational goals, and giving all effort to satisfy his human passions and desires. And it led to his ruin. Friends, we live in a culture of no restraint. There is an immoral revolution unfolding before our eyes that is driven by sinful lust, passions, and desires that promise pleasure and only deliver life-altering pain. This will always be true when human beings seek fulfillment in anything or anyone but God.

Let Solomon be a warning to us. If we could sit down with him right now, he would say, “Don’t go there. Don’t try to find meaning, purpose, pleasure, contentment and satisfaction in any human being, any human achievement, or any material thing. It will disappoint you every time. I know. I tried it. Go to the Lord to get what only He can give. Don’t follow me, listen to me. You will save yourself a ton of heartache and regret.”

PRAYER: “Father, help me to see the futility of trying to find meaning, contentment and purpose in life apart from You.”

QUOTE: “Don’t waste time, energy, even money, on trying to find in creation what is only found in the Creator.”