Thursday, August 17, 2023

Chasing Shadows (Ecclesiastes 2:17-26)

"… for without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment?" (Eccl. 2:25).

The Preacher reaches the conclusion that even the essentials of life cannot be enjoyed outside the presence of God. Eating, drinking, working—everything that is basic to human existence provides no lasting sustenance when God is absent. “We may possess the creature; but never shall we enjoy it, till God is on the throne above it,” Bridges writes. “There will be no cleaving to God, till the vanity of all, in comparison with Him, has been experimentally acknowledged.” Until you admit that nothing else will give you peace and fulfillment except a restored relationship with God, you will continue to wander aimlessly through a world of shadows and trifles. You will never embrace the substantive reality of life, which can only be found in God Himself. This is not to say that the things of the world are not real, but it is to say that they cannot fulfill the needs of our souls. Mankind was made to dwell in the presence of God. In Him, we find life. Without Him, there is only emptiness and death.

Tragically, some people never realize that nothing in this world can give them lasting enjoyment. Others, like Solomon, spend a portion of their lives sampling the broken cisterns of the world before finally discovering that nothing fills their empty hearts except Jesus Christ.

“For God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give it to him who is good before God” (Eccl. 2:26). Only those who have faith in Christ and are obedient to His will, only those who love Christ for the beauty and excellency of His being, will find happiness and true wisdom. But those who continue to live as enemies of Christ, who fill up their lives with pleasure, worldly entertainment, work, and false religion, will lose everything they have gained. They will eventually despise the things of this world just as they despise God. After they have drained the bottle of earthly wine, they will sling it aside, angry that it did not meet their needs as they expected. And as if to mock the mocker, God will take their worldly treasures and give them to His own, who will use them for His glory.

In the past few studies, we have said a lot about finding fulfillment in God, living for Him, resting in Him, finding satisfaction in Him. What does it mean to find fulfillment in God alone? How do you find satisfaction in Him? Why is He the only one who can meet the needs of your heart and give you lasting peace?