Summary: This message examines the gift of satisfaction that God gives his children
* “Gifts You Won’t Find Under the Tree” series
* Rolling Stones hit, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
* Satisfaction is something that all desire, but few really achieve
* From a Christianity Today article written by Carolyn Arends (Dec. 2010): “We drink liquids that dehydrate us. We buy objects that require us to buy more objects. We make money, ratchet up our lifestyle in response, and find we need more income to sustain us. The harder we work, the more work there is to do. And the harder we play, the more elusive the fun. Ask anyone working in Hollywood special effects, or in extreme sports, or in the sex trade industry, and all will tell you the same thing: Yesterday’s thrill is today’s old news. We always need more.”
* Two view of satisfaction:
(1) Human: “I’m satisfied when things are going well and when I’m getting what I want.”
(2) Biblical: “I’m satisfied when I allow God to fill my life and enrich my life with his presence.”
* Biblical satisfaction is not a natural or easy experience. It doesn’t occur unless we receive it from God. (see Philippians 4:12 - “the secret of being content”)
* Solomon explains a few principles that, when we apply them to our lives, will enable us to experience God’s gift of satisfaction...
1. Satisfaction occurs when we rely on the sovereignty of God (v. 1-8).
- Sovereignty of God = God is the source of all creation and all things come from him and depend upon him; God is all and over all
- God’s sovereignty means that God is in control, not us.
- Satisfaction will not arrive until we allow God to have complete control of our lives.
- The 7 pairings in verses 2-8 are polar opposites; the pair that opens and closes the section (born/die and war/peace) are events that man has no control over.
- If we base satisfaction on what we can control, we’ll only be satisfied when we have control. However, we’ll miss satisfaction when we encounter situations that are beyond our control (many and varied).
- The satisfaction God gives is based on HIS control...his sovereignty.
- Our task: cede control of our lives to God and allow him to be in charge of our lives
2. Satisfaction occurs when we rest in the providence of God (v. 9-11a).
- Verse 11: “He has made everything beautiful [appropriate; proper] in its time.”
- God’s providence: he controls the properness of the events in our lives
- Providence: God’s faithful and effective care and guidance of everything he has made toward the end which he has chosen
- The providence of God means that God will take care of his people, even in unsettling and difficult circumstances
- Satisfaction occurs when we believe that, no matter what happens, God is going to take care of us and guide us through life.
- Human satisfaction is based on circumstances; biblical satisfaction is based on the nature of God
3. Satisfaction occurs when we seek eternal significance (v. 11b).
- “set eternity in the hearts of men” = a desire to do something that has an eternal impact (a theme of Ecclesiastes)
- Satisfaction occurs when we give our lives to a purpose/cause that will outlive us and make a difference in eternity.
- The only thing that makes such a difference? The Gospel
4. Satisfaction occurs when we trust the plan of God (v. 11c).
- The plans we devise are often different from the plans of God = Isaiah 55:8-9
- At times the plan of God doesn’t make sense to us. When that occurs, we have two options: (1) ignore, avoid, or rebel against God’s plan [no satisfaction], or (2) trust God’s plan [satisfaction]
- The people in Scripture who enjoyed the gift of satisfaction all trusted God’s plan, even if it didn’t make sense (i.e., Noah; Moses; David; Gideon; Job; Mary/Joseph; Jesus)
5. Satisfaction occurs when we join the work of God (v. 14-15).
- The work of God: redemption
- The work of God is different from all other kinds of work...
* The work of God is eternal (v. 14a)
* The work of God is perfect (v. 14b)
* The work of God is constant (v. 15)
- Our task is to simply join God in his work