Ecclesiastes 1: 13– And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised.
He sets his heart to seek and search out by human reasoning all things that are done under heaven. He determines that he will give everything he has to this great pursuit of philosophy. This isn’t a student cramming for a test as he tries to remember who came first, Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle. This is someone who studied, and thought, studied and thought, and searched out all viewpoints, perceptions, speculations and opinions of all that is done in the hearts and minds of men under heaven.
He starts out by telling himself “I’m going to find meaning in thinking,” “I’m going to learn what can be learned and find my purpose.”
Since nothing is new under the sun, it isn’t surprising that we live in a culture that follows this model. We are trying to find meaning and purpose, hope and joy, apart from God. [see today’s post on Jeremiah 1-2]
We talk about good and bad, right and wrong, as if we have some basis for our words. Yet in a world void of God there is not such thing, no such standard, no such need for those words.
Yet in searching out these things God is not an option, He is a necessity, He is not possible, He is inevitable. A man searching for true truth, and for profound wisdom will eventually come to the living God, unless he is predisposed to the non-existence of God, or he is in rebellion much like Solomon. If we nix God from the equation, we find the same result as Solomon.
The result is that we are left with a burden that can’t be lifted, an angst that won’t be pacified, and an empty void that we can’t expect to be filled. This task is burdensome and was made this way by the same God who made you and I. This burden, or we should say curse, was pronounced by God upon Adam and Eve that desired to be autonomous from God and find wisdom in knowing good and evil apart from the very standard of good and evil.
We are each born sons of Adam. We are each born under the burdensome curse. We are perplexed, we are exercised, and we are confused about this life because apart from God the end goal is pointless. This burdensome curse demonstrates to you and I what rebellion and meaninglessness sounds, looks, and tastes like so that we are left unsatisfied until we are satisfied in Him.
We hear people say “life sucks and then you die.” Yep, it sure does apart from God. The only caveat I would add is this… “life sucks and then you die and stand in judgment before a perfect and holy God guilty of pursuing a life apart from Him as you disregard His clear commands.” Sounds even worse doesn’t it?