Even good things, when they become ultimate things, satisfy not. Therefore, shouldn’t we come to the “Author of Life,” who has given his life, that we might have abundant life? He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is our Good Shepherd, and in him we find ourselves led, watered, fed, guarded, and satisfied. Jesus is the only one who delivers lasting contentment, and he encourages you forsake your idols and your hate-filled lovers as you jump into his loving arms. So, say “no” to idolatry and sin by saying “yes” to Jesus today.
When Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, it may have tasted fantastic going down, but in the end it left a bitter taste in her soul. That which promised satisfaction, and was pleasant for a moment, left her with terrible spiritual indigestion by the end of her day. Eve would tell us, sin does not satisfy.
We imagine Esau had the same experience. Oh, how he lusted for the chili that was fascinating to the eyes and enticing to the nose. There was a good chance Jacob was a “foodie” who had the art of cooking down to a science. Therefore, Esau was probably thrilled as he sat and dined in his brother’s presence. However, the second bowl could not have been as enjoyable a the first, and later, when he considered the price paid for his dinner, he surely struggled with buyer’s remorse. Esau’s sin did not satisfy for long.
Perhaps no story drives home the dissatisfaction of sin more than that of Amnon in 2 Samuel 13:
Now Absalom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David’s son, loved her. And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her. But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. And Jonadab was a very crafty man. And he said to him, “O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?” Amnon said to him, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand.’ ” So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. And when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.” Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Go to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare food for him.” So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, where he was lying down. And she took dough and kneaded it and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes. And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, “Send out everyone from me.” So everyone went out from him. Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing. As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!” But she said to him, “No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.” But he would not listen to her. He called the young man who served him and said, “Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her” (2 Samuel 13:1-17).
Amnon lusted, plotted, lied, tempted, and then abused his half-sister. He sinned greatly, and perhaps he even satisfied his perverted body and soul for a short time. However, when his moment of excitement came to an end, bitter was the taste that remained. Amnon verbally expressed his dissatisfaction as he booted the woman from his presence. Yes, Amnon was like Edmund in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” who partook of the Turkish Delight and found it disgusting in the end.
Such was the testimony of King Solomon. In Ecclesiastes, he expressed how he sought lasting comfort from money, servants, buildings, sex, food, drink, fame, and learning. Initial benefit came from all of these things, but none truly satisfied.
One can also see the dissatisfaction of sin in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Oh, he had his exciting days as a rich young playboy in South Beach. However, as his money ran out, he soon found himself languishing in dissatisfaction, loneliness, despair, and hopelessness.
Then there was Judas. Following his betrayal of Jesus, he was found richer in silver but poorer in spirit. Caiaphas’ new hero found himself a zero, and he was filled with remorse and regret.
Brothers and sisters, such is the promised end of all who dine with the devil. Scripture tells us that sin is pleasurable for a season, but in the end there is dissatisfaction followed by death. So, can we not call Satan’s bluff? Can we not see the “bait and switch” of the devil? Can we not learn from Scripture, from history, from others around us, and from our own experience that Satan is the “Father of Lies” and there is no lasting satisfaction in that which he sells?
Consider the sermon of Jeremiah:
The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the Lord.” Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless? They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?’ And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination. The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit. “Therefore I still contend with you, declares the Lord, and with your children’s children I will contend. For cross to the coasts of Cyprus and see, or send to Kedar and examine with care; see if there has been such a thing. Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water (Jeremiah 2:1-13).
Even good things, when they become ultimate things, satisfy not. Therefore, shouldn’t we come to the “Author of Life,” who has given his life, that we might have abundant life? He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is our Good Shepherd, and in him we find ourselves led, watered, fed, guarded, and satisfied. Jesus is the only one who delivers lasting contentment, and he encourages you forsake your idols and your hate-filled lovers as you jump into his loving arms. So, say “no” to idolatry and sin by saying “yes” to Jesus today. As you are tempted to do wrong, use that temptation as an opportunity to worship your Savior and thrill your soul. Throughout the day, spend much time in prayer and find your soul filled to overflowing. It was Jesus who said, “Come to me, all you who are burdened and I will give you rest.” He waits to satisfy you today, but you must repent and forsake all else as you experience and enjoy his satisfying embrace.
Joseph A. Franks IV is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina. This article first appeared on his blog, and is used with permission.