THE WORD: Human wisdom has value but is limited

Public domain

The first six chapters of Ecclesiastes detail the teacher’s investigation into the meaning of life. While the author gives away his conclusion in the first chapter — everything is meaningless — the chapters that follow investigate all of the possible ways we might find meaning. In chapters seven and eight, the writer probes the limits of human wisdom and concludes that man cannot discover his own meaning or what he should be doing during life.

The teacher recalls righteous men who have perished and wicked men who have thrived. He also warns against four hinderances to wisdom: corruption, impatience, bitterness and nostalgia. His conclusion remains that everything that happens is the will of God, against which man has no power.

The teacher has but one solution to the human condition: take a long view of life, humanity and the earth. No adversity is long compared to eternity nor is any good time on earth.

Ecclesiastes 7:13-14

13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked? 14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.