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The works of God defy our understanding

Columbia Biblical Studies: Monday, May 19
Columbia Biblical Studies: Monday, May 19
Lynn Greyling

Today’s bible study is Ecclesiastes 11:5: As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.

We do not know the path of the wind; we can only enjoy the cooling breezes. We know the biological science that forms a child within the womb, but cannot understand the divine role of the Holy Spirit in the process of conception and birth. So, if we are unable to fully understand things that are a daily part of our lives, how are we ever to understand the work of God? If God truly is the maker of all things, is there any limit to His power or His ability to create? How very insignificant this verse makes us feel when we become painfully aware of our own paltry understanding.

To understand this verse, it is interesting to learn a bit more about the author and the approximate date of the writing of Ecclesiastes. The autobiographical profile or the book’s writer unmistakable points to Solomon. Evidence abounds, such as: the titles fit Solomon, the author’s moral odyssey chronicles Solomon’s life and the role of the one who taught the people knowledge and wrote many proverbs corresponds to his accomplishments. All these features point to Solomon, the son of David, as the author.

Once Solomon is accepted as the author, the date and occasion become clear. Solomon was writing probably in his later years, no later than around 931 B.C., primarily to warn the young people of his kingdom, without omitting others. He warned then to avoid walking through life on the path of human wisdom; and he exhorted them to live by the revealed wisdom of God.

In our verse today, we are reminded that the world is full of things over which we has no control, including the purposes of God. There is no virtue in wishful wondering, but there is hope for those who get busy and do their work.

O gracious and loving Lord, help us to get busy and to do our work according to your holy will. May we accept that there is much we cannot understand and can only glory in the mystery of your divine ways. Lead us ever closer to God and away from skepticism as we walk our spiritual paths through life. We ask this in the name of Your son, out Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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