Wisdom and Foolishness

Today’s Reading: Ecclesiastes 7:1-9:18, 2 Corinthians 7:8-16, Psalm 48:1-14, Proverbs 22:17-19

Solomon goes on a long monologue about wisdom and folly in Ecclesiastes 7. I particularly enjoyed these verse because I am driven “to understand the reason for things.” One of my good friends from high schools still talks about how I was always asking, “Why?” I guess Alan saw something in me that I did not yet recognize.

24 Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find. 25 I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness.

I frequently find myself resisting Solomon’s observations in this book. I just don’t want these things to be true. For example,

11 I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.

I am the slowest runner, so I always hope the fastest run does not win. At the same time, I don’t like the idea of the wise going hungry, the skillful facing poverty or the educated being unsuccessful. I particularly don’t care for the idea that everything is decided by chance, although I will readily admit to having been in the right place at the right time on more than one occasion. Perhaps Solomon was arguing with himself as he was writing.

Maybe the books of Job and Ecclesiastes are meant to be read as people arguing with themselves about the nature of God and about the nature of our relationship with God. Clearly there is not a simple answer. It feels like mental and emotional wrestling to me. But I will continue to wrestle.

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