Ecclesiastes 2 … Consider Him Who Endows Us With Enjoyment

There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him? (2:24-25).

Have you ever known anyone who seemed to live in a constant state of dissatisfaction? Someone who seemed to be on a perpetual quest for the next bigger and better something… job, car, house, spouse? It’s a wretched existence. But it is the existence of those who do not view all of life as a gift from the hand of God Who Endows Us With Enjoyment.

Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God, (2:24 NKJV).

There are a few repeated themes the Preacher emphasizes in his assessment regarding the human condition: 1) life is short; 2) “he who dies with the most toys wins,” is a total fabrication and detrimental delusion; 3) apart from God, life has no meaning, value or true pleasure.

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…16 For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die!  17 So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind, (2:11, 16-17).

Consider Him Who Endows Us With Enjoyment

For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him? (2:25).

  • He Endows Us With Enjoyment in His Word.
    • But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
      And in His law he meditates day and night,
      (Psalm 1:2).
  • He Endows Us With Enjoyment in His Presence.
    • You will make known to me the path of life;
      In Your presence is fullness of joy;
      In Your right hand there are pleasures forever,
      (Psalm 16:11).
  • He Endows Us With Enjoyment in His Salvation.
    • And my soul shall rejoice in the Lord;
      It shall exult in His salvation, (Psalm 35:9).
  • He Endows Us With Enjoyment in Trusting Him.
    • Trust in the Lord and do good;
      Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
      Delight yourself in the Lord;
      And He will give you the desires of your heart,
      (Psalm 37:4).
  • He Endows Us With Enjoyment in Worship and Praise.
    • Then I will go to the altar of God,
      To God my exceeding joy;
      And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God,
      (Psalm 43:4).

How do we respond to Him Who Endows Us With Enjoyment?

There is some disagreement about the author of Ecclesiastes, but most scholars agree it was King Solomon, and was more than likely written towards the end of his life. Solomon had in fact amassed many possessions, including his 700 wives and 300 concubines, as well as wealth beyond measure.

He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned his heart away. For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been, (1 Kings 11:3-4).

So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom, (2 Chronicles 9:22).

And perhaps, in his later years, he remembered back to his days as a young and tender child, back to the days before he accumulated the possessions that had so taken hold of his life, back to the days when he was taught to hold fast to the commandments of Him Who Endows Us With Enjoyment, so that he would have true purpose and meaning in life.

When I was a son to my father,
Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,
Then he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live;
(Proverbs 4:3-4).

Because the horribly sad indictment on human nature is, we often don’t know or appreciate what we have until it’s gone. And perhaps, this is what happened to Solomon. Somehow, he forgot his beginnings as king, when his desperate desire was for God’s wisdom, not for pleasures and possessions.

In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, “Ask what you wish Me to give you.”… “Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in…“So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 Kings 3:5, 7, 9).

And somehow, he forgot that all his wealth and blessings were only because of Him Who Endows Us With Enjoyment, as He answered the young king’s request beyond anything he might have even dared to imagine.

It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. 11 God said to him, “Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, 12 behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. 13 I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days,” (1 Kings 3:1-13).

And somewhere along the way, his focus was averted away from the true purpose and meaning of life, to the unsatisfying temporal pursuits dangled before him. And once again, I stop and realize, if it can happen to Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived… well, there but for the grace of God, go I.

But if we will take this truth to heart: He is the Omniscient, Sovereign, Almighty God Who Endows Us With Enjoyment; and because He is God, He knows exactly what is needed for us to truly Enjoy life in Him, then we would stop pursuing vanity so that we would not be hindered in pursuing Him.

Ecclesiastes 2 wraps up with a description of the true Joy that is Endowed by Him. It is in knowing Jesus Christ, in Whom we are Endowed With all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind. (2:26).

…Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (Colossians 2:2-3).

When we find all Our Enjoyment in His Endowment, He gives us an abundance of His precious treasures of wisdom and knowledge. However, to those who refuse His Endowment and choose to remain in their rebellion and sin, all their effort in this life will prove to be nothing but vanity, for we cannot take anything from this life with us.

“For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away, (Matthew 25:29).

Oh let us seek Him Who Endows Us with Enjoyment in His Word, His Presence, His Salvation, in Trusting Him and in Worship and Praise. Let us ask God to grow in us a heart like Paul’s, so that no matter what the world may dangle before us as the path to enjoyment, we would see everything in light of Him Who Endows Us With Enjoyment.

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, (Philippians 3:7-8).

Let’s Grow Together!

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