Today’s Reading — Ecclesiastes 2:7-11 — 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.
Why do you work so hard? Why are you striving to increase your holdings? What motivates your efforts? Solomon reflected on these questions and came to this conclusion — for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. He was working to please his heart by enjoying what he figured was the rightful fruit of all his efforts. He had sown a desire for material things and pleasures of the flesh, and he reaped them in greater proportions than we can imagine. Ultimately he found his heart empty. He had tried to fill his heart with what his flesh wanted. He gave his flesh everything it wanted, but his heart was still hungry for more.
What is your heart hungry for? It is easy to satisfy flesh hunger for food, drink, drugs or physical pleasure, but hunger quickly returns. Poor people in rich marriages are happier than wealthy people in poor marriages. Heart happiness trumps flesh happiness. Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. (Deuteronomy 30:6) When we invite the Holy Spirit to indwell our hearts and commit our lives to Christ, He begins circumcising our hearts, cutting away fleshy desire after fleshy desire until a life lived for Him, with Him, is the dominant passion remaining. The Lord is a gentle surgeon, offering first the opportunity to move away from whatever has comported our heart, and turn back toward Him. If we cling to our path, or attempt to walk with one foot on His path and one foot on any other path, He will perform increasingly radical sin surgery to remove our sin. Some of us require a radical sinectomy or we will die.
God gave Solomon wisdom, but let Him choose to apply or reject it in his own life. We suffer under that same free will to engage or reject sin. It can be very difficult. Most of us have experienced a time when we made a very conscious decision to reject a particularly tempting sin, asked God to help us win our battle with it, and then sinned anyway. Paradoxically, God offers power over sin, but leaves us to choose to apply it. Even in His Holiness, He prefers hearts struggling to apply His Grace in a fallen world over heaven powered automatons. Don’t mistake my words, God hates sin, but He revels seeing his children battle it, even though we occasionally fail. His Grace is in no way a license to sin, but when we fail, His Grace is sufficient. Never allow the devil’s shouts when you have sinned that you are less than a real Christian because you have sinned diminish the finished work of Christ on the cross. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)
Solomon gave his heart to sin. He reveled in sin. He determined to sin more and feed his pleasures more than any man ever had. He attempted again and again to fill a heart that was built for relationship with God with pleasure instead, and found himself unsatisfied — 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.
What are you feeding your heart? Where are you striving after the wind? Behold, what is your vanity?
Copyright 2008 © Stephen Faulkner and Mission of the Master Ministries, Inc. OnemanofGod88@aol.com