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Ralph's Daily Devotional - Wednesday, April 11

Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 continues in its lament on the vanity and burden of life when approached purely from an analytical and humanistic perspective.  To seek wisdom simply for wisdom's sake is to find one's self in a pedantic cycle of never-ending questioning and searching. 

Recently we studied the book of Proverbs. There, we concluded from Solomon's own words that wisdom was to be cherished.  We were exhorted to seek wisdom and apply it.  But here it appears that to do so would only end with a sense of futility and frustration.  How do we reconcile this conundrum?

I believe that the answer is given in the final chapter (12:13).  As people created in God's image, we have been given an unimaginable capacity to literally reach for the stars.  However, the more we discover, the more questions we have.  Further, often in our search for knowledge and empowerment, we also have the issues of moral consequences and the temptations to exploit our knowledge for purposes that at times have led us into disaster and enslavement.  Having "conquered" the atom, the atom can now also conquer us!  In other words, wisdom and discovery are not enough to free us into a self-made utopia.

Perhaps this is why God in Genesis warns Adam to refrain from taking upon himself the knowledge of good and evil and to trust God to lead.  This goes against our grain and pride.  The full meaning of life and ourselves lies not within our own grasp but in the hands of the one who created us.

As such, it is not the search for wisdom nor its application that is at issue here.  All this is necessary, and wisdom in and of itself is neither good nor evil.  It is how we use it that is at stake.  What is at issue is to avoid trusting solely in human wisdom that precludes God.  This is Paul's view in 1 Corinthians 3:19.

Life is hard enough with God.  Without Him there really is no life, just futility and emptiness no matter how smart we are.

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