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The Search for Satisfaction (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
July 6, 2022 4:00 am

The Search for Satisfaction (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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July 6, 2022 4:00 am

Consumers eagerly anticipate the “next best thing”—those things we feel we must have or must do. So why is satisfaction so fleeting and disappointing once we’ve fulfilled those longings? Hear the answer when you listen to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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As consumers we often find ourselves thinking about the next best thing. The things we simply have to have for the things we must do so. Why is satisfaction so fleeting once we get the things we been waiting for, find out today on Truth for Life.

Alastair Meg is teaching a message titled, the search for satisfaction from the Bible in the Old Testament in Ecclesiastes chapter 2 Ecclesiastes chapter 2 in verse one, I thought in my heart, now I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.

That also proved to be meaningless laughter.

I said is foolish and what does pleasure accomplish.

Try cheering myself with wine and embracing falling, my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives. I undertook great project to build houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and that other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herons in flux than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I am asked silver and gold for myself and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and I hated him as well the delights of the heart of man became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me in all of this.

My wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing. My eyes desired I refuse my heart. No pleasure, my heart, to delight in all my work and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve.

Everything was meaningless or chasing after the wind. Nothing was gained under the sun. Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom and also madness and folly. What more can a king successor Drew than what has already been done. I saw that wisdom is better than folly. Just as light is better than darkness. The wise man. His eyes in his head while the fool walks in the darkness, but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both. Then I thought in my heart the fate of the fool will overtake me. Also, what then do I gain by being wise I said in my heart. This too is meaningless for the wise men like the fool will not be long remembered in days to come.

Both will be forgotten like a fool.

The wise men to must die so I hated life because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless or chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I toiled for under the sun because I must leave them to the one who comes after me and who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool yet evil of control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun.

This too is meaningless.

So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun for a man may do his work with wisdom and knowledge and skill and that he must leave all he owns to someone who is not work for this too is meaningless in the great misfortune.

What does a man get for all the toil and anxious driving with which he labors under the sun all his days. His work is pain and grief even at night. His mind does not rest.

This too is meaningless. A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This June I see is from the hand of God.

For without him who can eat or find enjoyment to the man who pleases him.

God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God.

This too is meaningless. Chasing after the wind although we thank you for your love and for your grace, not least of all that's found in the wisdom of your word and in the way that it introduces us to Christ.

We pray in the study of the Bible know that you will show as ourselves and show as our Savior in Christ and make the boatlift to us, for we pray in his name on them. If you have read ahead as some of you will have done. You will perhaps have been struck by how compellingly relevant the words of this ancient book proved to be that although this was written some 3000 years ago when you read it, it would appear that the man had been reading Time magazine in Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report USA Today and the New York Times all in the past week to be able to write as he did, of course, speaks to us of the compelling wonder and wisdom of the inspiration of the Bible we noted last time and I remind us of this fact so that we would have a grasp of how the writer is coming at his material that he's sitting before the reader the emptiness of life that is a life that is lived with out a practical faith in God is what he saying using if you take practical faith in God and set it aside if you seek to live life go through all of your experiences of life, whatever they may be way ignoring, denying the existence of God. This claim upon your life and you going to find certain things to be true, and the way in which he illustrates this. At least in the early part of the book is to walk down a number of dead-end streets and as he comes to the end of these avenues. He said I want you to consider the reality is that are conveyed in what I'm writing. And I wonder the same time simply to ask you how you learn to cope with this.

No one who is a thinking person is going to be able to deny what it is he says. Therefore, if we are agreeing that this is a circumstance of our human existence, and it is legitimate for the writer to ask have you learned how to cope with this. Or better still. Do you have an answer for this in the debate of the bar when staying in the South of England in that small hotel. The proprietor his name was Mark proclaimed in the course of our conversation and interest in and benefit that he received from the works of Stephen Hawking Hawking, of course, from England is one of the most brilliant cosmologists and astrophysicists not only of our age, but really of any age at all. His most famous book which is found on the coffee tables of a great number of people who have never read it is called a brief history of time and in that of course he seeks to substantiate his thesis as it relates to the origins and significance of the universe. He is honest enough to recognize that his own arguments.

Force him in the end to lament the ultimately unsatisfactory nature of science when it comes to answering ultimate questions and so he writes even if there is only one positive unifying theory. It is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equation and makes our universe for them to describe the usual scientific approach of constituting a mathematical model cannot answer the question of why there should be a universe for the model to describe why does the universe go to all the bother of existing progress is as we can construct the mathematical models we can put the rules together and within the framework of our astrophysical research were able to make certain extrapolations, but we put what we cannot answer is where the fire comes from the breathes life into this what we cannot answer as wide as the universe bother to exist at all is a very helpful quote because it serves to simply substantiate the way in which the preacher here the pundit is making clear statements concerning the dead-end in education or if you like intellectualism and from verses 12 to 18 of chapter 1, we mentioned that last time, albeit briefly not the writer, nor we are seeking to debunk education. I know that many of you have never read this book, although your education is incomplete without it by the book entitled how the Scots invented the modern world will will will tell you there in amongst many other wonderful truths that the first nation in the Western world to establish elementary education for its citizens was Scotland that is the very first place where society said children must go to school, so it would be absolutely fatuous for anybody to say well the idea that down there at the at the end of the road. Mark intellectualism or education will find a group of people say away with all of that stuff you know where we are believers in God. Therefore we are, we neglect education, not for a moment know that Christian faith has always been at the forefront of education and every parent wants the best of educations, both for themselves and also for their children. But what the writer is pointing out is simply this, that it is a serious mistake to think that intellectualism or education holds the answer to the quest for meaning elders were were confronted with this all the time that is constantly coming out so you know it we could do the drug problem. If only people have more information revealed the smoking problem people are only better educated review of premarital sex on the base of education and so on is patently not the case, but it doesn't stop us from continuing to believe the mistaken notion that education holds the answer and doesn't where to find gang rape.

First of all in the highest echelons of our military academies where young men who are the brightest and the best to have been hand-picked and educated and discipline to the max are planning testimony to the fact that if education held the answer than they would not be involved in the standards of so Einstein said I discover than the men who know the most are the most gloomy information into the mind cannot, in and of itself satisfy the needs of the heart, nor is it capable of taming the unwillingness of the soul. Well then, if the way of wisdom at the end of chapter 1 doesn't hold the answer.

Let's go down. He says the path of pleasure. Let the good times roll. See what happens down here. Let's see if this is actually the answer to the puzzle of life, hedonism verse one. I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good this morning a little embarrassed to be here. If a flight we were honest reason you're embarrassed to be here is because you don't want any of your friends from your work environment finding out that you've been slipping into a two-part site. Reason being, a human same for quite a considerable time that as far as you're concerned our Christian faith is the ultimate escapism and you been quite forceful about it and so consequently if the word gets out that you're actually here. Opening the door even just a tiny bit to the possibility of the reality of faith and of course, is going to make it difficult when you get back to the off I want to encourage you in this way I want to ask you to think about the possibility that the real escapism is represented in a make-believe rose-colored self focused life that leaves God completely out of the equation. Now it's on this route that the preacher says something about laughter for a minute. Laughter. Laughter is medicine for the soul and says somewhere. Doesn't I like to laugh, don't you laughing is good. I saw Tracy home and now the other evening. You may, nor the English actress and she was being interviewed biographical channel and I'm really what it came down to the end of the day is a master question about this aggressive alleged as it that's all is I left my husband makes me laugh my kid made me laugh. Everything makes me laugh. Isaac is good. I like the meter just sitting last for a while. It would be good but look at what he says laughter is foolish. Laughter is what is that mean what it means is simply this, that if everything's funny nothings funny that if everything is worth laughing about nothing is worth laughing about. Think about it when you choose your entertainment if you go to see a comedy as you go to see her tragedy, which one has the most lingering benefit to your honesty must answer the tragedy because the company is light its fleeting and superficial are a bunch of jokes you can remember the half of the tragedy. By contrast, is weighty is lingering and is capable of producing an emotional catharsis in your search that may last, not only through the remainder of the evening, but perhaps even for a lifetime. You may find yourself saying I'll never forget when I saw Anthony and Cleopatra. I'll never forget that evening walking out of this place after I saw Troilus and Cressida.

I will never forget those thing we forgotten all the others, the laughing ones. Billy Graham tells a story in a book that was written years ago of a disturbed patient who consulted a psychiatrist for help man was deeply depressed. Nothing to the doctor tried to say to them was able to relieve him of the burden that he felt and is the time ticked up to the hour and the psychiatrist realized he had nothing really to help the men with heat said to him almost as a as a last gasp, he said, by the way, I know I have been a great deal of help to you, but I do want you to know that there is a terrific show in the local theater, and there is a comedian in there that is got everybody rolling in the aisles and I think it would be excellent therapy for you if you just went in there and a couple of hours and is laughter well forget your troubles, why don't you go. Thank you.

So the man as he stood up to leave.

Then he turned back and he said I am not comedian Peter Sellers. The pink panther's biographies called the mask behind the mass trying find this funny man and you'll discover that he knows that laughter is ultimately foolish.

Let's go to a show's empty let's go to the bar. Nobody says I try to you myself with wine and this is a comment on the merits or demerits of abstinence from alcohol. This isn't the writer despising those who drink wine, as though to do so. Where ungodly it's not that mean people may do that with this passage, but clearly that's nobody sitting he's actually refitting to an approach to wine which is used in an endeavor to lift a man or a woman out of their sense of depressing emptiness is an attempt to use this mechanism in such a way to get whatever I can from it. If you like to squeeze the juice out of it to my own benefit. But in actual fact it ends up working as a kind of anesthetic depressant. So off the man goes with his friends.

After all, he had the idea everything was coming out and saying you know is far better down the bar. That's what people tell me all the time. You know you go to church a bunch of boring people going on the bar. Everybody's nice on the bar. That's why go down the bar were fine. Thanks for sharing.

Others okay what tell me more. I learned on their play the piano. They seen the old songs saying we saw the piano man you're the piano and the sharing a drink is called loneliness, but is better than drinking alone know you see what he's refitting to hear this is Jimmy Buffett's orders affected. This is wasting away in Margaritaville. That's what he's doing here looking for his lost shaker of salt. I tried it on the laughter. I went to a comedy club.

He left me empty.

I went down the bar did the exact same thing is talking about lying here not as a good thing that is been granted to people in the living of their lives. But as a drug to mask the unsatisfied longing of his soul. While he said let's just move on and try projects verse four I undertook great projects as I build houses for myself so long I don't. I just had a jolly good go at the whole business. I think what I'll try and do is at an extension and they'll extend my extension. I know what I'll do.

I think I may build a new house may not my house down and build another one on the simplest, whatever it is I try these projects and I built parts and I planted vineyards and I had all these wonderful fruit trees and I had reservoirs. The wars of the roles of the flourishing trees. I set up the router admit is not your average great homes of Ohio inherently misses.

This takes it up a couple notches from the back of the universe rebelling times of the Sun Valley new spirit of the jolly thing. It but it did nothing. His influence was insignificant. I bought male and female slaves and I had other slaves who were born in my house are regular not a number of people working for me.

Yes I have the this group and that group in the next room and so on. Big deal and Scott's boy do I have stuff verse eight silver, gold, myself treasures of the Kings, and promises to music. I've got all kinds of music men singers women singers and I hear them as well. I've got all the delights of the heart of man.

I've become greater than anyone else in Jerusalem before me is give himself over the wanton indulgence of his senses. This is what people say. If only I could get there. That would be it. Presumably, verse 10, I denied myself nothing. My eyes desired I refuse my heart. No pleasure, nothing resisted. That might be outwardly entertaining or that might be inwardly satisfying. There was some satisfaction in the activity. But as soon as the activity was over soon as the goal had been reached. We just empty again to whatever degree that we live our life, you know, whatever it may be nothing from as small as moving from my three wheeler to two wheeler bicycle in the progression of life today, here it is most trivial terms as a child you going along and this little trundling three wheeler operation and you see the people further down the journey of life on the two wheeler's hearsay on the two wheeler must be wearing this and finally you make the transition to the do we and then when you're on the two wheeler paddling like crazy comes flying past the scooter. The lemongrass are you know all if only had a scooter of Yunnan. So it goes on there is no there's no end. I haven't moved in these circles. A great deal but I moved in them a little I remember and think of a man right now, you would know his name another to tell you what his name is we spend the day as a family at his home last home and in the afternoon he took me out into his gardens and as we walked around all of this, trees like in a botanical garden were marked with signs with Latin names on the here ponds and groves and all manner of things. We walked all around in the course of it all he said to me, do you believe in the resurrection said yes I do. None of when he had was satisfying to the great longings of his life is Robert Burns.

The poison pleasures are like poppies spread you sees the flowers bloom and shed like a snowfalls in the river a moment white and melts.

Whatever are like the rainbow's lovely form vanishing amid the storm reaching out for it and it's not there. Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet was well respected amongst the intelligentsia of Edinburg, but he was notorious as a womanizer and is a drunk. Go to the grass marking in Edinburgh you know that this plowman from here.

Sure who wrote these amazing versus had been down this avenue, and he knew that it was a dead end street.

Eventually you see the Marianne Frenette syndrome takes over, and men and women are forced to acknowledge the fact that nothing tastes. If we live longer we begin to realize our search for satisfaction most often leaves us on the satisfied listing to Alistair Begg on Truth for Life and will hear the conclusion of this message tomorrow where learning about the search for happiness in our study of the book of Ecclesiastes from Alistair Begg, and though the author of Ecclesiastes indulged in all the world had to offer. He still experienced a deep sense of emptiness. Many of us can relate to that.

That's what we want to recommend a book titled living life backward a book that goes along with this study because we can easily become overly focused on the here and now things in our daily lives can quickly consume us can take on way too much importance or homes. Our cars are bank accounts. These can all become diversions that we lavish our affections on and we hold onto to tightly show how we free ourselves from this. As you read the book, living life backward, you'll discover how death can teach us how to truly live request the book living life backward how Ecclesiastes teaches us to live in like a BM when you give a donation, visit us online at if you rather mail your donation along with your request for the book right to truth for like the PO Box 39. The 8000 Cleveland, OH 44139.

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Thanks for joining us today in our study of Ecclesiastes were learning how the popular pursuits of education work, pleasure and materialism are ultimately dead-end streets.

Join us tomorrow to find out where we can discover solid joy and lasting pressure the Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life. Learning is for Living

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