Solomon was determined to figure out life (Ecc. 1:12-18). He viewed the pursuit of wisdom about life as burdensome (1:13, 14). It was a never-ending task. God made it this way. He does not implant all wisdom into us at birth, but requires us to learn it. It is a process that requires diligent effort. None have achieved it to the same level as Solomon – “all the works that are done under the sun.” Hence, when we read about his experience and findings on figuring out life, we all have something to learn and need to take it to heart.
Solomon states a frustrating truth, “What is crooked cannot be made straight” (Ecc. 1:15a). As we seek wisdom and try to figure out life, there are some things we wish to change, but cannot. There are natural disasters, murderous rampages by maniacs, cancer in adults and children, accidents, and much more. These are events in life we have little or no power to alter even with our best efforts and most advanced technology. Our ability to affect change is limited. Thus, to cope we must turn to a Higher Power; to One with all power.
Another difficulty is “what is lacking cannot be numbered” (Ecc. 1:15b). We cannot know what we do not know. We cannot make something from nothing. There may come a point when we learn a truth or reality, but before we do, we simply do not know it – it is lacking. It is often a lack of knowledge that gives us trouble. Yet, God has made it this way. How do we deal with it? In anger, bitterness, despair or with faith, confidence, and trust in God?
Solomon’s approach to gain knowledge and wisdom about life was to investigate and get practical experience (Ecc. 1:16-18). Whether by study or living, the pursuit of wisdom was futile in the end. He sought to know madness and folly, along with wisdom, but found grief and sorrow.
- The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.
- Greater wisdom brings to light greater folly.
- The more right you know, the more wrong you see.
- Greater wisdom brings more responsibility.
While life can be great, it is often a burden – especially when we pursue that which is vanity and grasping for the wind. Our focus, therefore, must be to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecc. 12:13).