For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. ESV
The Book of Ecclesiastes is written from a twin perspective: Life is a vapor and God is a Joy-Giver.
When I first read the Book as a seventeen-year-old seeker, I was initially depressed of its message of vanity, meaningless purpose, and nothing to be gain remarks. Yet some twenty years later, the rest of the story became more apparent.
Yes, from birth to death you come into the world with physically nothing and you shall leave with nothing, but in between is the Godly experience which shall shape you for eternity.
The Book reminds us that God is the giver of good gifts for our enjoyment. Whereas most people today seek after the fleeting ideal of happiness, real joy awaits them in the presence of the living God. However, until one acknowledges the Source, one shall always climb the ladder on the wrong wall and find disappointment.
God is the most enjoyable Being in the universe. He has created us to have a personal relationship with HIM. When we evade HIS presence and shy away from HIS goodness, we only harm ourselves. But when we learn to share life with HIM, HE openly shares HIS life with us.
Joy is HIS natural character. The fruit of HIS Spirit includes joy. He can’t help being joyful. And HE has created us in HIS image. Joy awaits us, but without HIM our pursuit is continually empty. When you and I learn to dance with HIM on HIS dance floor of planet earth, we align ourselves with HIS rhythm, HIS purpose, and HIS values, and begin to experience a deeper relationship with HIM; joy becomes the by-product of the with-God life.
Yes, this physical life is temporary. Time moves quickly and life is a vapor, as our physical self is here like a blade of grass, and then no more. But God has greater plans in store for us. Today HE wants you and I to experience the richness of a Godly life. He allows us to compare the temporary physical highs with the permanent reality of HIS character as a foretaste of what we may expect through eternity and beyond. So, if you haven’t yet done business with the Almighty, you are missing out and time is growing short. How about taking a moment and discover the difference between the temporary sensation of happiness with the permanent high of joyful living? HE awaits your decision. And for those of you who already know the difference, isn’t HE an awesome JOY-GIVER!
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