Ecclesiastes: Wisdom

Ecclesiastes 1:16-19

I said in my heart, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind. For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

When it came to wisdom, Solomon had a corner on the market. The last verses of 1 Kings 4 tell us that God “gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore” (1 Kings 4:29). He wrote 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs. People from all the nations came to hear him lecture on trees, plants, animals, birds, reptiles, and fish. He “was wiser than all other men…” (1 Kings 4:31). Yet Solomon found that wisdom, learning, and expertise could not fill an empty heart. 

Thank God for smart people! Solomon’s insight strengthened Israel. He developed trade agreements with other countries. He built a strong professional army. Under Solomon’s leadership, Israel entered a period of very successful sea trade (2 Chron. 8:17-18). God continues to give wisdom and insight that enables men and women to enact peace agreements, feed the hungry, help the poor, make medical advancements, and provide technology for every facet of life. But wisdom cannot fill an empty soul. 

Wisdom is an excellent tool for human progress but not the answer to the human problem. Sin has separated us from God and left a significant hole in our inner being. Wisdom allows us to live longer and more comfortably but cannot fill the God-shaped void deep within. Solomon found that trying to fix our hearts with wisdom is like “striving after the wind,” an illusive endeavor. At the end of the day, the only true wisdom is finding Jesus and trusting in him as Lord and Savior. He offers meaning and purpose today and a plan for eternity. The wisdom and work of Jesus never disappoint.

Father, thank you for the wisdom of government leaders that provide strength and safety for our country. Thank you for the wisdom in the medical field that provides lifesaving surgeries and treatments. Thank you for advances in technology that impact every area of our lives. But most of all, thank you for loving us so much that you sent your Son to remedy our eternal problem. Thank you for Jesus. In his name, we pray. Amen.    


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