Day 2

The Limitations of Wisdom

from the Ecclesiastes reading plan


Ecclesiastes 1:12-18, Genesis 2:15-17, Genesis 3:1-7, James 3:13-17

It was one of those moments you dread as a parent. It happened so quickly. While releasing our youngest from his car seat and being distracted by my oldest’s parade of questions about Christmas, I didn’t see my middle child begin advancing his way down the parking lot. Cars were weaving in and out, and visibility was low due to the onset of twilight. Jude, for his part, strutted with the greatest of two-year-old confidence right down the middle of the lot without a care in the world.

When I realized the Oreo creme in my kid cookie was missing, I stretched and scanned in every direction. In an instant, I spotted him, and with the force of a hurricane in my lungs, I shouted, “Jude! Freeze right there!” Thankfully, he stopped. Scooping my one-year-old under my arm and grabbing my five-year-old’s hand, I sprinted to Jude’s frozen spot. I hugged all three of my boys at once, tighter than usual.

Jude didn’t understand the danger of what could happen if a car had turned down the aisle, its driver distracted for a moment. Or what if he had gotten lost? Or worse? He was oblivious. Those thoughts never entered his mind. He was just happy to be out with Dad and his brothers.

Ignorance is bliss, they say. That’s true whether you’re two or eighty-two. The more you know, the more you know this world is broken. “For with much wisdom is much sorrow; as knowledge increases, grief increases” (Ecclesiastes 1:18). Solomon discovered this for himself as he undertook the project that is recorded for us in the book of Ecclesiastes: “I applied my mind to examine and explore through wisdom all that is done under heaven” (v.13). What he discovered is grim. Everything was, as he put it, “a pursuit of the wind” (v.17).

Human knowledge and wisdom can only take us so far. In that, they are a dead end. Science and philosophy cannot deliver all the answers, because “no one can discover the work God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The task is simply too big, and our incomplete knowledge leaves us with a front-row, full-zoom view of all that has gone wrong in our universe, devoid of consolation. When I remember this, I am thankful that God did not simply leave us to our study; He spoke to us. He entered into our world. He inspired the Bible. He did all of this so that we might have hope beyond our despair, to give us a glimpse into the work He is doing.

After sojourning for a while in this life, many of us want to return to the innocence of childhood, before the cracks in this world began to show—to be like my son Jude, strolling through a dangerous parking lot without a thought of concern or fear. But the hope we have in Christ is so much better. He doesn’t take us back to ignorance. Instead, He brings us to a place where there actually will be no fear, where the cracks will be gone, and where every broken thing will be made new (Revelation 21:5).

Written by John Greco

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