THE LIMITS OF HUMAN WISDOM
ECCLESIASTES: A WORD TO THE WISE
LESSON SEVEN: THE LIMITS OF HUMAN WISDOM
Text for This Study: Ecclesiastes 9:13 – 11:6
1. How would you distinguish between knowledge and wisdom? Which is more valuable? What does The Teacher say about the value of human wisdom? Its limitations?
2. Which of the proverbs Qohelet has laid out in this section of text seems most relevant to your own life right now? Is there one you see that stands out as questionable or contrary to the teachings of the Bible?
3. In biblical literature, a “fool” (cf. Psa 14:1; 53:1) is not an ignorant or uneducated person. It is the man or woman who – regardless of intellect or knowledge – rejects the spiritual and ethical guidance God provides for one’s life. How does this fit the recurring motif in Ecclesiastes about the nature of life “under the sun”? Does this help you understand why today’s video began with a quick glimpse at James 3:13-18?
4. Ecclesiastes 10:19 was not commented on in the video. Read it aloud. Does that sound like “revelation from God”? Or does it sound like the take on life of a fallen soul in a fallen world? Here is more evidence that The Teacher is summarizing what James would classify as the “earthly, unspiritual, demonic” wisdom (?) of people who leave God out of their lives.
5. Ecclesiastes 11:5 almost seems to set up Lesson Eight for next week. People who do not know the Covenant God of Israel who has come in history now as Jesus of Nazareth despair to understand God! They view God as capricious, unpredictable, and frightening – “so you cannot understand the work of God the Maker of all things.” Peek ahead to see how 12:13-14 will answer and refute this view of God and his will.
“Up to now man derived his coherence from his Creator. But from the moment that he consecrates his rupture with Him, he finds himself delivered over to the fleeting moment, the passing days, and to wasted sensibility.” This quotation is from the atheist Albert Camus’ “The Rebel.” It seems something of an alternate way of stating the thesis of Qohelet that life “under the sun” is filled with questions and offers no satisfying answers to them – because God has been banished from one’s worldview.