After preaching this past Sunday, one idea that I keep finding myself thinking about is the idea of acceptance. One of Solomon’s main goals in Ecclesiastes is to get us to accept life for what it is rather than what we want it to be. Only when we gratefully accept our lot, our assigned portion, in this life can we live wisely, gratefully, and righteously.
As we saw in Ecclesiastes 1:12-18, this attitude of acceptance is necessary when it comes to knowledge. We must accept that there is no secret out there in the world that will totally undo death, futility, and sin (though the gospel of the kingdom will overturn those realities one day, Romans 8:18-24). We must also accept that no amount of study will make us total masters of the world or of our own lives. Even when we study and make wise choices—and we are called to do so—there are no guarantees that we will be able to protect our health, avoid financial ruin, or do whatever else we hope to accomplish. We must accept that an “H-factor,” a hevel factor, will always be there to remind us that our knowledge is incomplete and the results of any endeavor are uncertain.
This necessary acceptance can either drive us to despair or drive us to depend on God and live thankfully under his sovereign hand. As long as we insist that knowledge can make us masters, we will be frustrated, but when we accept God’s wise mastery even through the trouble and uncertainty, then we can be happy.
Ecclesiastes 2:13-14, And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both.
Questions to Consider
1. Why do people not want to accept the limitations of wisdom?
2. What kind of acceptance of one’s situation is actually foolish and ungodly?
3. Where in your life is your over-reliance on knowledge affecting your contentment in God?