Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 26, 2017

“Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. … But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; … That I may tell of all Your works.”

Today’s devotion comes from Ecclesiastes 2:1-11.

“I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure.  So enjoy yourself.”  And behold, it too was futility.  I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?”  I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives.  I enlarged my works:  I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself;  I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees;  I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees.  I bought male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves.  Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem.  Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces.  I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines.

Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me.  All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor.  Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 2:1-11.

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Neither wisdom nor work nor pleasures satisfy (give profit and peace).

In the preceding chapter, we have seen that wisdom does not satisfy.

“And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly;  I realized that this also is striving after wind.  Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.”  Ecclesiastes 1:17-18.

In the preceding chapter, we have also seen that work does not satisfy.

“What advantage does man have in all his work
Which he does under the sun?”  Ecclesiastes 1:3.

And, in today’s Scripture, we have seen that pleasures do not satisfy.

“I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure.  So enjoy yourself.”  And behold, it too was futility.  I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?”  Verses 1-2.

In summary, “All things are wearisome;  …”.  Ecclesiastes 1:8.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“Vanity of vanities!  All is vanity.”  Ecclesiastes 1:2.  (“Vanity is defined in part by Dictionary.com as “excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc.; …)

But, there is hope!

Reformed Doctrine teaches that man is satisfied by seeking and glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.  

“Q. 1.  What is the chief and highest end of man?

A.  Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.”  Westminster Larger Catechism.

“25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.”  Psalm 73:25-28.

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