1I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure;” but surely, this also was vanity.
The words “I said in my heart” are one of the key expressions in the book of Ecclesiastes. It is the story of the effort of a man to find the supreme good apart from divine revelation. He looks into his own heart, follows its dictates, and after trying all that earth has to offer finds all is vanity or emptiness. Worldly folly never satisfied anyone who sought it. Frivolity may captivate the senses for a moment, but it leaves regret behind. How many a devotee of pleasure has exclaimed at last, “Life is not worth living!” Solomon tried to find solace in the pleasures of the wine cup, though determined not to act the part of a fool and allow himself to become a drunkard. He would drink in moderation, hoping in this to find “what was good for the sons of men.” His book tells how vain was the effort to find lasting enjoyment in self-indulgence of any kind. He had almost unlimited wealth, and he determined not to deny himself anything that his eyes desired or his heart craved. He gave himself, for a time at least, wholly to the pursuit of self-gratification, hoping in this to find perfect happiness. But as he looked back upon wasted years and blighted hopes he realized that the selfish life is the empty life. All was emptiness and a pursuit of the wind. Nothing under the sun can satisfy a man made for eternity.
To walk with God, O fellowship divine!
Man’s highest state on earth—Lord be it mine!
With Thee, may I a close communion hold;
To Thee, the deep recesses of my heart unfold:
Yes, tell Thee all—each weary care and grief
Into Thy bosom pour—till there I find relief.
O let me walk with Thee, Thou Mighty One;
Lean on Thine arm, and trust Thy love alone;
With Thee hold converse sweet where’er I go;
Thy smile of love my highest bliss below!
—J. J. P.
H. A. Ironside, The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1994), 107.