Tag: pleasure

Why Am I Here (On Earth)? The Vanity of Entertainment and, perhaps, Sexual Pleasure (Eccl. 2:8b)

8b I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds. (Eccl. 2:8b)

Entertainment didn’t cut it for Solomon either. While typically reserved for feasts and banquets, he had for himself male and female singers. If you’re impressed with iTunes or Spotify, imagine what it would be like if you could have live performances at your disposal whenever you wanted. Before you marvel too long at Solomon’s entertainment options, you’d do well to consider how he might have marveled if he knew what would be available to the average Westerner in the 21st century. Who could have imagined screens of all different sizes providing seemingly instant access to music, movies, news, and just about any piece of information one could want? You probably don’t need either Solomon or I to tell you – trying to find fulfillment in the transient distraction of entertainment is vanity (cf. Eccl. 2:11). Sure, Nabal’s feast was festive (1 Sam. 25:36) until his heart died within him and he became like a stone (vs.37). Sure, Herodias’ illicit dancing pleased Herod (Mt. 14:6); in fact, Herod even found John’s preaching entertaining (cf. Mk. 6:20); and this man was so addicted to amusement that when he had the Son of God in front of him he didn’t worship Him; rather, he wanted a miracle to be done by Him (Lk. 23:8).

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Why Am I Here (On Earth)? The Vanity of Pleasure Seeking

1 “I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” 3 I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives. (Eccl. 2:1-3)

The opening verse of chapter two is a telling one. Solomon spoke to his heart saying, “I will test you with mirth [i.e. gladness]; therefore, enjoy pleasure” (2:1a). He was in essence doing an investigation trying to find out what could bring lasting fulfillment and lasting happiness. But… it didn’t work out. He said, “This also was vanity” (vs.1b). Pursuing laughter and the constant ecstasy of frivolity was seen to be madness (vs.2a).

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