The Restless Life
A daily devotion for February 3rd
8 All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.
9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
"Look! This is something new"?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
11 There is no remembrance of men of old,
and even those who are yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow.
12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
15 What is twisted cannot be straightened;
what is lacking cannot be counted.
16 I thought to myself, "Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge." 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.
18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.
All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing (Ecclesiastes 1:8).
Solomon's thesis here is,
All things are restless. He has observed that there is an inherent restlessness in everything. In fact, it is so widespread that no one can possibly describe all the restlessness of life.
He has two proofs for this. First, human desire is never satisfied:
The eye never has enough of seeing. When my wife's mother was ninety-five years old, she was just a shell of a person, but her mind was still sharp and clear. One day she was in our home, and somebody mentioned a far-off place. Immediately she said,
Oh, I wish I could see that. Despite her years, the eye was not tired of seeing; it longed yet to see other places, other realms, and other customs. The eye is never satisfied.
Nor is the ear ever satisfied with hearing. We are always alert to some new idea or something new that has happened. That is why news programs are always popular. Television, radio, and newspapers all cater to the ear's hunger to hear something. Some juicy gossip about a Hollywood star will sell thousands of magazines and newspapers. Some new way of making a profit always makes its appeal. The Searcher's argument is that the ear never tires because human desire is never satisfied; it is a consequence of the restlessness that is built into life.
But, second, he says, even though we long to see or hear something new, nothing new ever really shows up. Life is a rehash of what has happened before; it is the old played over and over again. This too is a result of the restlessness that is built into life. Although something looks new to us, actually,
There is nothing new under the sun.
So the question is raised,
Is this all life is about? Is it merely an empty pursuit of that which never satisfies? Can no breakthrough be made whereby something can be found that will continually meet the hunger of the human heart, to give an unending sense of delight, satisfaction, and joy? That is the search.
Lord, my heart is restless until it finds its rest in You. Thank You that in You all things are made new!
Life Application: Do we shop until we drop, always hoping to buy into the ultimate satisfaction? Is life simply an empty pursuit after things that never fully satisfy our deepest desires?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.