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Mar 29, 2020

Scripture Reading: Ecclesiastes 2:1-11

If there was ever a Bible passage tailor-made for 21st century America, it is Ecclesiastes 2:1-11.  Our culture is decidedly hedonistic because we are so bent (one might say 'hell-bent') on pleasure.  In this passage Solomon relates how he sought pleasure in his search for meaning and order in life's struggles.

Solomon wrote, "All that my eyes desired, I did not refuse them" (Ecc 2:10).  His conclusion, drawn from his plunge into hedonism?  "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" (Ecc 2:11).

Pleasure does not answer the basic questions of life … Why are we here?  Why is there evil in a world created by a good God?  How does one cope with life's struggles?  The fleeting joys of the physical world are utterly bankrupt to provide structure and meaning when it comes to the most important questions of life and death.

Solomon's resolution to his frustration is multi-layered, but at least one layer might surprise us.  Repeatedly in Ecclesiastes Solomon calls on his readers to 'eat, drink and be merry' (cf. Ecc 2:24,25; 3:12,13; 5:18-20; 8:15; 9:7-10).  The pleasures of life, although not designed to provide answers to life's most difficult questions, are gifts from God's hand.  They are given to display His goodness and beauty and are to be enjoyed with gratitude (Ecc 3:12,13).  They are designed to draw us to God (Ecc 2:24,25).  They are to be enjoyed with a view toward our accountability to God, the Giver of pleasures (Ecc 11:8,9).