Today’s Reading — Ecclesiastes 2:1-3 — 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.
Great Godly destinies are fulfilled or lives are destroyed with thoughts beginning — I said to myself….. We have a lot of self conversation. Solomon shares with us here his inner fantasies, as he decided to test whether pleasurable things of the world could increase his inner peace. Most of us have at some point performed a similar experiment, and while our memories have also kept the record of the failures of those attempts at applied happiness, we still occasionally repeat the test hoping for a better result.
The great prophet Isaiah wrote — It will be as when a hungry man dreams– And behold, he is eating; But when he awakens, his hunger is not satisfied, Or as when a thirsty man dreams– And behold, he is drinking, But when he awakens, behold, he is faint And his thirst is not quenched. (Isaiah 29:8a) When we allow our fantastic hopes to rest on fantastic illusions, we are never satisfied. When we let our minds apply the salves our flesh demands, we never get the result we were promised, and like Isaiah we’ll conclude — Thus the multitude of all the nations will be Who wage war against Mount Zion. (Isaiah 29:8b) Our attempts at self satisfaction through the demands of our flesh declare war against God. We can fall in a moment from steadfast committment to total rebellion. Our imagination fast forwards and dreams that we will be satisfied, but eventually we will wake up hungry.
Even among Christians (including Christian leaders), the demands of our flesh can outshout the still small voice of our God and Savior. Sexual fantasy, self medication with alcohol or drugs (even ones with an Rx), self satisfaction with gluttony, the prideful satisfaction of being right, or security building with accumulation of material things can each divert our eyes from Zion’s hill, and its Lord of Glory, Jesus. Compare Solomon’s futile attempts to self satisfy with Paul’s submission to God as he battled against his own flesh — Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:26,27) Many of us have shadow boxed to avoid the real battle; we have run toward what leads us from Jesus, but denied that we are on the wrong path. We have run to carnal hopes and pleasures while we are missing our spiritual destiny.
Jesus referred to Solomon’s folly in words recorded by Luke saying — Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? (Luke 12: 26, 27a) Jesus is reminding us that man’s best can’t equal God’s least.
In the end, we have to choose. We can pursue Solomon’s glory or Jesus’ Glory, but not both. Where are you shopping? Are you clothed in Christ and by Christ? Are you dreaming designer fantasies but waking up naked? Are you dreaming constantly of your skilled financial planning and waking up lacking? Jesus said — Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life… (Luke 21:34) Learn from Solomon’s error. Avoid the imaginary easy path. Climb steadily up Zion’s hill. Walk in steady steps toward the Lord. Guard your heart from the myths of happiness your flesh continuously whispers, And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:7)
Copyright 2008 © Stephen Faulkner and Mission of the Master Ministries, Inc. OnemanofGod88@aol.com