The Pitfalls of Finding Satisfaction in Just Having Fun.

Finish this statement for yourself: "I would be happy if I had _________."

We know already from our study of this book that nothing created can satisfy the immaterial part of us, our souls, because we live in a fallen world. The Lord wants us to pursue knowledge of all kinds, although knowledge alone will not leave us ultimately fulfilled.

After describing his pursuit of knowledge, Solomon described his pursuit of pleasure in Ecclesiastes 2:1-11. Commentator Walter Kaiser describes this pursuit as follows:

The author Solomon had searched endlessly for everything in God's created world on a horizontal, terrestrial plane to satisfy him, and he could find nothing. The problem calls for a solution greater than the sum of all its parts. Even human wisdom when considered apart from the wisdom that comes from the fear of God can only increase grief instead of bringing relief to the question of profit. Proud human wisdom only dethrones God and deifies man, pretending to give him laws and regulations whereby he can make himself happy.

King Solomon pursued pleasures in many forms. Anything that delighted his senses, he enjoyed: food, architecture, humor, gardens, music, riches, possessions, leisure, and more. 1 Kings 4:20-28 describes how Solomon led the country in pursuing all the finer parts of living. 1 Kings 9-10 describe several of his building projects.

Because God created all these things, there is pleasure in them for a season, but they cannot satisfy our souls. Solomon did all this apart from God, and that's why he came up empty. While there is nothing innately wrong and sinful about any of these things, to pursue them on their own would be sinful.

James 4:13-17 restates the same principle in the New Testament. Pursuing good things while walking with God will bring satisfaction to the soul. There is nothing more evil than to pursue good pleasures apart from God. That would be living in practical atheism.

Application Points

  • Are you unsatisfied in your pursuit of pleasure, even of good things? Do you live in practical atheism? See if you are pursuing these things apart from God. Walk with Him first, and when you are satisfied in Him, temporal pleasures will produce their intended joy.
  • Truly satisfied people have surrendered their hearts to Jesus, and that is what makes all the difference.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Give Me Jesus"

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
All its joys are but a name;
But His love abideth ever,
Through eternal years the same.

Oh, the height and depth of mercy!
Oh, the length and breadth of love!
Oh, the fullness of redemption,
Pledge of endless life above!

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
Sweetest comfort of my soul;
With my Savior watching o’er me,
I can sing though billows roll.

Take the world, but give me Jesus,
Let me view His constant smile;
Then throughout my pilgrim journey
He will lead me all the while.

Take the world, but give me Jesus;
In His cross my trust shall be,
Till, with clearer, brighter vision,
Face to face my Lord I see.