Freed to live through the death of another.

The God Who Dissatisfies

In a similar vein with this post, kerux has begun a new series of sermons on the book of Ecclesiastes. This past Sunday evening he preached a preview of the book, and one verse in particular stuck out to me. It left me with this thought:

God has made us to be dissatisfied.

This seems to be a summary of grand biblical theme; I’ll just look at a few verses from the wisdom literature here.

  1. Ecclesiastes 2.24. This was the verse that got me thinking along these lines. It is literally translated roughly this way: “There is not a good inherent in man that he can eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.” In other words, God creates us so that we know we desire something… as we try to fulfil that desire in anything and everything we find, we discover that nothing can give us lasting enjoyment. We’re never satisfied.
  2. Ecclesiastes 3.11b. “Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” We know there’s purpose and order to all things; we know there’s something eternal for which our hearts always cry. This creates endless and unsatiable restlessness because we are created as finite beings which God has created to long for infinity.
  3. Psalm 107.25, 26, 28. “For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. … their courage melted away in their evil plight… . Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble…”. The story here is that some people have decided to try to find their fortunes in business. They take off in ships to see if they can attain wealth. The Lord raises up the waves, lifts them “up to heaven” and crashes them “down to the depths.” This is not random. The Lord blows apart their ships to show them something: Business, wealth, or pursuit of your desires will never lead to happiness. God shakes their whole world–everything they had rested their hopes for health and happiness on–to dissatisfy them.
  4. Proverbs 10.3. “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.” Those who don’t know the Lord long for many things: He thwarts all their cravings. They will never be able to obtain that for which they so desperately long.
But why? Why would God–who is love–dissatisfy people? The answer is simple: Because he loves us.

God created us for himself; he alone is eternal and eternally good. He created us to fit him. He created us with desires that perfectly match his character and beauty. The problem is that because of sin we think we know better. We think we want things that we don’t. Like doctors of yesteryear who drained sick people of their blood because they thought that the blood contained the sickness, we are hopelessly blind (in our sin) to know what exactly is wrong with us and what we need.

God will dissatisfy you (stir you up to discomfort and restlessness) in every place that you seek to find your life aside from him, if you are his. If you trust in your riches, he bankrupt you. If you trust in your home, he’ll flood your basement. Whatever it is that we allow to be our delight and our sufficiency instead of the person of Jesus Christ will not last. It’s God’s gracious way of showing us that we’re relying on something that can never last and is not worthy of our hope.

When the things we have and do don’t satisfy us, when we lose something in this life that we love dearly, we need not inquire if God is still good. Rather, we should praise him all the more for weaning our sinful hearts off of the temporal and on to the Eternal Good: Himself. He made us for himself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in him.

1 Comment

  1. DErifter

    Greg Boyd (I’m guessing you’re not one of his biggest fans?) also points out that we’re like a fish born in the desert: We know that we want water, that we NEED water, even though we have never seen water and have no way of knowing that any such thing exists.

    That is how he explains our longing for a God we can’t see, a life we don’t know. He’s placed that longing in us so that we hunger for him. Without it, we might be satisfied in this place that has only dust to offer.

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