Friday, September 15, 2023

Go Ahead and Sin (Ecclesiastes 11:7-10)

"Walk in the ways of your heart" (Eccl. 11:9).

The Bible often uses sarcasm to emphasize a point. The Preacher employs such a technique in chapter 11. When he writes, “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth … walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes,” he is not advocating a profligate lifestyle. Rather, he is aiming at the contrary. A life of self-indulgence is foolish and vain because it brings no real happiness and it cannot save one from God’s judgment.

The message behind the sarcasm is “If you are determined to pursue the delights of your youthful desires, if you throw caution to the wind with no thought of eternity, then you deserve the judgment that awaits you. Go ahead, revel in your folly, bask in your sensuality, feed your desires, ignore the warnings of conscience and the authority of Scripture—but in the midst of your temporal indulgences consider the cost. Your youth will not last forever. Worldly happiness will quickly fade like the shadow it is. The light will soon grow dim and darkness will overwhelm you. What will you do then? What will you do as you face the judgment of God for the years, for the life, you wasted on trifles? ‘Know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.’ ”

This warning is given to the young man because so often he has no idea what temptation is. “He realizes no need of any special warning,” Bridges writes. “He fancies himself well able to be his own keeper. He has never allowed the thought that none but God is capable of knowing what he is, if he be left to himself. Let him take his Bible, and learn by it what he has yet to learn—the knowledge of himself. He will then realize something more distinctly awakening of the infinite peril of staying one moment on Satan’s ground, while conscience is speaking to him—that sin is much more easily resisted at the beginning than in the progress—that his true prosperity begins at the moment when he engages his heart to God—that sin and happiness can never be identified—that pleasure is for a moment only—there may be in the ways of sin, but happiness can never be.… Youth devoted to sin is the saddest, but youth consecrated to God, is the brightest object in a world of darkness and sorrow.”

Do you act on impulse instead of thinking about your actions? Why do you tend to go with your desires instead of reflecting on what you are about to say or do? Starting today, try to stop and think before you do or say anything. Ask yourself if God would be pleased with your words or actions.