Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | January 25, 2017

“always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Today’s devotion comes from Ecclesiastes 1:12-18.

“I, the Preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.  And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven.  It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.  I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.  What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.

I said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me;  and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.”  And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly;  I realized that this also is striving after wind.  Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.”  Ecclesiastes 1:12-18.


Now calling himself “the Preacher”, Solomon in his old age is not maintaining that spiritual wisdom is vanity;  this is not a change of his position on the value of wisdom emphasized by him throughout the whole preceding book of Proverbs.

Rather, Solomon is maintaining that there is a pursuit and accumulation of knowledge of just earthly facts and “madness and folly” that is “vanity”, a “striving after wind”. Solomon would probably label our entertainment today as also “madness and folly”.

There are those who are always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  2 Timothy 3:7.

We see it today through all the explosion of knowledge of earthly facts and entertainment that comes through the internet and TV.

We also see it through all the self-improvement knowledge that is available through books and magazines and even through some other doctrine taught in churches.

But, there is hope!

Reformed Doctrine preaches and teaches about God and His great work from which comes “knowledge of the Holy One” and “understanding” and the “fear of the LORD” and “wisdom”.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”  Proverbs 9:10.

And, in sharp contrast to “much grief” and “increasing pain” which comes from the pursuit and accumulation of knowledge of just earthly facts and “madness and folly”, “peace” and “pleasant ways” comes from the pursuit and accumulation of such spiritual wisdom.

“Her ways are pleasant ways
And all her paths are peace.”  Proverbs 3:17.

“13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom
And the man who gains understanding.
14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver
And her gain better than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels;
And nothing you desire compares with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
In her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways
And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who hold her fast.”  Proverbs 3:13-18.


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