Eternity in Their Hearts
King Solomon expresses in Ecclesiastes 3.11 mankind’s never ending search for something that will bring satisfaction: “God has put eternity in their hearts.” John MacArthur comments: “God made men for his eternal purpose, and nothing in post-fall time can bring them complete satisfaction” (MacArthur Study Bible). The continuation of Solomon’s statement gives his understanding that God is infinite in past and future. Consider, then, man’s life-long discovery through His encouragement in Jeremiah 9.23-24: “understand and know Me”.
Ecclesiastes records Solomon’s search and is an illustration of Jeremiah 13.10. The continual stream of new apps for smartphones, entrepreneurial disruption of established products, and the migration of people from established Christian churches into nonaffiliated individual relationships with God illustrate Solomon’s observation about man’s unending search for satisfaction. (Austrian-born American economist and Harvard professor, Joseph Schumpeter, name such displacement of old with new “creative destruction”.) But, Solomon’s conclusion in Ecclesiastes 12.13-14 is where everyone should arrive, a reversal of the trend of Jeremiah 13.10, although some may remain lost in their imaginations for long times, as Paul criticizes in Acts 17.22-31 (especially verse 27) and in Galatians 1.4.
A. Even the earliest records, before Solomon, express mankind’s search and conclusion.
- Adam’s son is referenced as searching for a relationship with God; see Genesis 4.26. Why did this occur at the birth of Enosh?
- For instance, Job 19.25-27. Note the actualities Job confidently declares: God lives (how did he know?), man will stand before Him in the flesh (accountability for his ‘Earth-suit’?), his eyes will see God (John 4.24), and his heart ‘yearns’ (NJKV) for God! Does yours? How did Job come to such understandings? Jeremiah 9.23-24?
- Paul declares similarly about Abraham in Hebrews 11.9-10; see Genesis 13.3-4. This was Paul’s search, too, as he states in Hebrews 13.14 and describes in Hebrews 12.22-24.
- Ezekiel (43.6-7a) envisions being before the “Judge” (Hebrews 12.23) and hearing Him speak words of comfort.
- Psalmist King David expresses the same in Psalm 17.15 (“awake in Your likeness”?), 13-14 and 110.1 (even acknowledging the Savior, Son of God!). How did David know these details?
- Jesus confirmed the same Good News in Matthew 5.8.
- Eternity was in their hearts and remains in ours. How aware are you of this search for God?
B. Jesus reassured His apostles and disciples of the reliability of these statements.
8. In John 14.1-4, Jesus comforts hearts troubled by His earlier declarations that He would soon be leaving Earth for Heaven; see Matthew 16.21-28, Mark 8.31-9.1, Luke 9.22-27, 17.12, 22-23, 20.17-19. Jesus repeats the same message of betrayal, suffering, death, and resurrection. What ‘comfort’ did He offer?
9. In John 13.36, Jesus assured Peter, and us, that he would follow Him later. (How does the ESV rendering of John 14.2 a question (“’If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”’) change the meaning from the rendering of the verse as a declarative statement in the NKJV and NASB?)
11. In John 16.5, Jesus seems to be surprised that the disciples had not asked where He was going. Why do you think He expressed this? Didn’t they understand or did they?
12. This leads, then, to the question, what is the proper mix of sadness and joyousness when a Christian passes away? What does each recognize? Upon which should we dwell?
13. How does Jesus’ only other comment about Heaven, in Luke 23.43, reflect this? How should Galatians 1.4 impact our consideration?
14. The Lamb’s Book of Life/Book of Life includes the names of all who have received the truth (John 1.12) of John 14.6. This Book is mentioned in Revelation 3.5 and 20.12-15 of the New Testament and, I believe, in Psalm 69.28 and Exodus 32.32-33 of the Old Testament, although some scholars his (OT) means this earthly life.
C. What about you?
- Are you willing to put up with the inconvenience of this world because you long for the next, where God dwells? Or, have philosophies and bangles come to entrap you; Galatians 1.4? How do you know? Matthew 6.21.
- The unholy cannot occupy the holy residence of God; 1 Corinthians 15.50-58.
- Man will never be satisfied with his imaginations; for, he longs for the One Whose breath still fills the lungs of each new generation. satan only distracts with temporary satisfaction (2 Corinthians 4.3-4); not long term, because he is incapable of fulfilling man.
- Only God can; Jeremiah 13.10 and John 14.2. Does your heart ‘yearn’ like Job’s (27, NKJV)?
Praise God!!! Copyright (C) by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com 170423