Living Apart From God
Many in our culture, in our society, live their lives apart from God. As government, public educational institutions, and families have pushed God out, the rise of hopelessness and the rise of nihilism in the minds and hearts of people, especially young people, has risen. If there is no God, and man is just a mutational mistake, then what is the purpose to any of life? If there is no God, and all we have in this life is “what we have,” then what is the point to anything?
However, if there really is a God, then that changes everything. That not only changes where I go when I die, but how I live my life every day. If there is a true and living God, then I can live a life of hope (a confident expectation based on Him and His promises), I can live a life of joy (an inner delight based on who He is and what He has promised), and I can live a life of peace (an inner calm based on who He is and what He has done in Christ).
Living apart from God is basically what Solomon did in a major portion of his life, and God recorded it for us in the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived (outside of Christ), in chapters 1-2 looked at life from what he could get from “under the sun,” (vv.3, 14); and “under heaven,” (v.13).
In chapter 1, Solomon opens with three observations: (1) nothing has really changed; (2) nothing is really new; and (3) nothing is really understood. What did Solomon base that on? He based it on looking at life apart from God.
In chapter 2 we see what Solomon tried to find meaning and purpose: (1) in vv.1-3, he tried pleasure (wine, women, music, and laughter); (2) in v.4a, he tried work (career); (3) in vv.4b-8, he tried great possessions (land, money, and business); and (4) he tried power.
Solomon arrived at the conclusion, when he left God out, and just looked at life from what he could only see and learn from this life, life was empty and meaningless, a vexation of spirit. He saw life as monotonous, wisdom as vanity, wealth as futile, and death as certain. Human life and goals, as ends in themselves, and apart from God, are empty and meaningless.
However, in chapters 3-10, Solomon reviewed his arguments and this time brought God into the picture. By reexamining what conclusions he came to without God, he realized when he included God, four major truths: (1) in chapters 4:1-5:9, Solomon sees that life is not monotonous, it is an “adventure” of faith that is anything but predictable and tedious. (2) In 11:1-6, he tells us that though death is certain, life is a gift from God and He wants us to enjoy it. (3) in 11:7-12:8, Solomon says there are questions we can’t answer in this life, and problems we can’t solve, but we don’t need to despair; God teaches us His truth as we advance in life, and He will give us wisdom enough to make good decisions. And number 4, in 12:9-12, Solomon teaches, as far as wealth is concerned, all of life is a stewardship from God, and one day He will call us to give account; therefore, “fear God, and keep His commandments.”
I close this blog with four practical principles we need to consider about all of this: (1) there are limits we have in this life; (2) the pursuit of anything apart from God is vanity and vexation of spirit; (3) if we substitute the things of this life for God, we will arrive at frustration; and (4) doing it God’s way works, doing it our way doesn’t.
February 16, 2018
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