walk in the word
9What gain has the worker from his toil? 10I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. —Ecclesiastes 3:9-11
Three thousand years ago, a man named Solomon, the wisest and richest man of all time, chronicled his own futile search for fulfillment in the timeless scripture of Ecclesiastes. If a human ever strolled down each conceivable avenue of potential satisfaction without finding it, that person was Solomon, the ancient king of Israel. Ecclesiastes details Solomon’s experimentation with every pleasure, from constructing a palace so opulent it staggered world leaders, to accumulating jewels and possessions that became innumerable. Solomon pursued advanced academic studies and sex with a different woman every day. He explored in-depth every possible iteration of the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Yet his tears of frustration are easily heard in the words “So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:17). Solomon discovered what so many fail to realize: that history is a repetitive loop of personal futility and that every imaginable experience of the horizontal promises a fulfillment it never truly gives. In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon turned his expression of frustration on the God who made him, concluding that God has “put eternity into man’s heart.”
Like Solomon, we cannot fashion happiness for ourselves either. I was aware of Ecclesiastes 3:11 for many years before the second part of the verse caught my full attention: “He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” If you’re looking for an answer to the mystery of human misery, X marks the spot—Ecclesiastes 3:11b. The implications of Solomon’s statement are staggering: people are looking for the eternity God created them to long for, but they can’t find it on their own. Like a hungry man outside a locked gourmet restaurant, we know satisfaction is near but can’t get to the food; like a blind man on the edge of the Grand Canyon, we feel the awesomeness close at hand with no capacity to take it in ourselves. Searching for eternity does not lead to finding until God Himself intercepts our wandering pursuit.
Prayer – Father, thank You for placing in me an insatiable longing for You and then answering that longing with Yourself. Thank You for the almost daily lessons in how often eternity touches my life, and how amazing it is to have my hope rest in You rather than in anything in me. Thank You that in having Your Son, Jesus, as my Lord and Savior, I have eternal life, to anticipate now and enjoy later! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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