When God Is Left Out

The Bible never disguises how dark things are when God is left out. – Alistair Begg
“Then I turned myself to consider wisdom and madness and folly; For what can the man do who succeeds the king?— only what he has already done. Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. Yet I myself perceived that the same event happens to them all. So I said in my heart, “As it happens to the fool, it also happens to me, And why was I then more wise?” Then I said in my heart, “This also is vanity.” For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool! Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.” ~ Ecclesiastes 2:12-17

wisdom

I feel like I should crack a joke or something right about now. Heh. Ya’ll, this book is heavy on life. But as much as my optimistic self is challenged by the tone in much of Ecclesiastes, this God-inspired circular conversation on how to find satisfaction in this fleeting world is eerily all too familiar and demands our attention.

It’s a conversation without reference to God, and it’s happening all around us.

From the workplace to the latest political debate – and in the confines of our very own hearts and homes – we’re becoming increasingly restless and grasping for answers apart from God.

From Ecclesiastes 1:14-2:23, God is left out. And before we’re too hard on forgetful Solomon, it’s an epidemic that as Jesus-followers you and I are often just as guilty of…

We’re full of confident Jesus-talk at church on Sundays, but Monday through Saturday we barely mention His name.

We’ll stay up all night worrying about tomorrow, without ever a thought of taking it to the Lord in prayer.

We debate world news and politics with personal opinions and despair, but fail to reference our trust in a sovereign God.

We measure our worth by what the world says is successful and feel defeated when we fall short, instead of confidently standing in who we are in Christ.

When God is left out, our wisdom becomes worldly. It doesn’t take long, does it? The longer we spend time away from God’s Word – especially in times of doubt – the more we let the world’s words and ways take over in our hearts and minds instead of Truth. Beloved, the world’s wisdom never, ever satisfies. But wisdom from God is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. – James 3:17

When God is left out, our witness suffers. Our lives are constantly telling a story – pointing others either to or away from Christ. When we leave God out of our answers to this life, we are not only contributing to our own futility; we also miss the opportunity to speak hope and truth to a dying world. God has called us to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Matthew 28:19). How can we preach the gospel to the lost if we can’t even preach it to ourselves? 

When God is left out, our souls are left longing. Augustine summarized it best: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they can find rest in You.” Even when Solomon acknowledged that wisdom is better than folly, his heart was still restless at the thought of death that comes to all. Similarly, our tendency towards gospel-amnesia takes our focus off of the fact that for the believer, death is not the end… and that whatever we acquire in this world can never compare to a relationship with God and eternity in heaven with Him.

Let’s Talk: Where in the details of your life have you left God out of the equation? 

The good news is that in Chapter 2 verse 24 God’s name is mentioned once again. Trust me, you’ll hear the difference. His name exceeds anything that this world could ever offer. Our hearts don’t have to be restless anymore. Let’s put God back into our conversations and fully live in and proclaim this sure hope to the world!

At His feet,

{Week 2} Video:

If you cannot see this video, you can view it here.

{Week 2} Challenge:  When you interact with others and find that suffering is present, hope is lacking, and worldly wisdom is prevalent, purpose to intentionally bring God into the conversation… speaking truth, hope, and the love of Christ to those around you.

{Week 2} Reading Plan:Wk2RP

{Week 2} Memory Verse:

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