The Pain of Pleasure - Ecclesiastes 2:1
January 12, 2023, 8:25 AM

Eccl 2:1 I thought in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good." But that also proved to be meaningless.

Of course, few people do not discover the pain of pleasure until later. How many times have people been warned of drug and alcoholic abuse and it falls on deaf ears? How often have people shared the pain of premarital sex and living situations only to see young and old continuing to face sexual disease and heartache? A shopping spree may be pleasurable until the bill comes due. It is hard to take the testimony of others and few listen.

A lot of people seek pleasure as an escape from the void of the real need in their lives. Many are afraid of stopping their busy pursuit because then they might hear the voice of God speak to them. When Solomon stopped the merry-go-round of pleasure, he felt empty and unfulfilled. He discovered the hard way the effects of sin and the futility of pleasure. Solomon had a limitless supply of money and no sense of accountability. When it was all said and done, he concluded "What an empty, futile trip."

I certainly have nothing against having pleasurable activities, but Solomon can save us years of heartache if we will only heed what he says. This comes from the wisest and richest man who ever lived and he is telling us truth about living for pleasure. Worldly pleasures do not last long.

A pleasure-seeking culture will also fall in time. The Roman civilization began with high moral standards, the sanctity of home, and a passion for justice and honesty, but the empire fell into debauchery and decline. Their extravagant prosperity moved their morality to immorality. Their pleasure of games turned into more violent and sexual exploits that cost people their lives. Their entertainment became pleasures with sadistic behavior as they watched other human beings inflict punishment, suffering and death in the coliseums. Rome fell into ruins, but, in reality, it had fallen a longtime earlier.

Solomon wrote a few chapters later, "Laughter is like the cracking of burning thorns (7:6) they blaze forth with great promise but last only a moment, giving off little heat and leaving nothing but ashes." Solomon discovered the snare of pleasure - it promises far more than it produces. It is satisfying only during the time, but it leaves us thirsty for the next and with unsatisfied urges afterwards.

Our society today is in economic chaos as the search for the pleasurable life now and the opulent lifestyles proves empty. Peace is not found in more money, larger houses, and wild parties. Pain is felt and many are hurt in the process when pleasure becomes our god.

Even the richest, wisest, most accomplished of us all recognized the pain of pleasure. It resulted in emptiness.

Application: I John 2:15, 17 says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world for anyone who loves the world the love of the Father is not in Him."

Prayer:  Oh Lord, guard my heart against the pleasures of this world. Help me to find my pleasure in You and enjoy all the blessings You send our way.