Ecclesiastes 6: Nothing Satisfies
Read: Ecclesiastes 6
Some tough words come from the Preacher concerning life. He has spent the previous five chapters of the book speaking for various matters, and here the preacher sums them all up with an overarching conclusion: everyone dies, so no one person is better off than the other when it comes to whatever one has obtained or been given otherwise. The list would include all sorts of things: friends, family, wealth, wisdom, work, status, and pleasures. The Preacher also sees a grievous evil when one has much and is unable to enjoy it. What the Preacher is calling “evil” should not be understood to be evil in the sense of things gone wrong, but rather the inopportunity therein. The “evil” is not necessarily because God is playing tricks on man because the reason is not given. All that can be said is something apparently right about this, and is, in the judgment of man, evil. It is coupled with meaninglessness – that which is empty and leads nowhere. These sorts of pursuits are the kind of pursuits that man chases after for some other reason than the fear of the Lord. In all things, these pursuits do not satisfy, leaving one longing for more.
Blaise Pascal (for whom I’m named) once said,
What is it then that this desire and this inability proclaim to us, but that there was once in man a true happiness of which there now remain to him only the mark and empty trace, which he in vain tries to fill from all his surroundings, seeking from things absent the help he does not obtain in things present? But these are all inadequate, because the infinite abyss can only be filled by an infinite and immutable object, that is to say, only by God Himself (Pensees #425).
These words resonate with what the Preacher had already made a case for concerning the thing that man has his heart set on: eternity (Ecclesiastes 3:9-15). Man desires things he himself cannot obtain. That which is eternal cannot be grasped by that which is finite by any stretch. God work endures and cannot be undone or added to. For this reason, only God cannot satisfy the longings of man, whose hearts long for eternity.
In the end, there will be no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears (Revelation 21:4). All that stands in contrast to what men desire from eternity will be satisfied in Jesus. When Jesus says he came to that men may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10). God has set the hearts of man on eternity to that they would fear him – that is trust him. The provision that God made to satisfy this is Jesus, who was God in the flesh. There can be no greater satisfaction than that which comes from the maker of the universe! The Preacher lamented many things because all these things were pursuits that one has to leave when one departs this world. But for those who have faith and pursue him with their lives will be satisfied!
Lord, you and only you can satisfy my longing heart!