S56P17 – Ecclesiastical truths: wisdom’s true source

Ecc. 12:11-14

The words of the wise are like goads, and these collected sayings are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd. But beyond this my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive study and devotion to books is wearying to the body.  When all has been heard, the end of the matter is: fear God and keep His commandments, for this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, every hidden and secret thing, whether it is good or evil.

From a very young age he was fascinated by the power that words can have over time.  Whether reading the contemplations of Plato or the imaginings of Homer, being connected today to the ideas of someone who lived so long ago gave him a purpose to pursue.  He dedicated his life to leaving behind words that would endure beyond his lifetime and touch generations to follow.  Leaving a written legacy for others to enjoy and even envy drove his work ethic.  He thought that accomplishing what those great men of the past accomplished would give him some kind of immortality.  He would have been right but for the fact that this world will pass away just as we do.  The immortality he sought was no less finite than his mortal life.

God gives us the ability to create incredible works that show just a sliver of who and what He is.  So much of this work has stood the test of time and sits here today as a testament to the knowledge and wisdom that He has imparted to mankind.  Like so many other things in this world, that body of work is only for a time.  The greatest thoughts and the most incredible stories that have been born of the mind of man will all disappear one day.  Wonderful and incredible as they might be, they serve no purpose other than to point us toward the giver of those ideas. God does not make us bright so that we shine on ourselves; He makes us bright so that we draw attention to him.  The hope is that every brilliant thought would lead us to its true source, which is well beyond mankind.

There are many definitions of wisdom.  Ask a dozen people what it means to be wise, and you just might get a dozen different answers. Scripture, however, takes us to the root.  It tells us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.  The word is instructing us on how we come to be truly wise.  It does not come from following a man or his teachings.  It does not come from memorializing all of our great thoughts in writing.  Regardless of how wise we may appear by the world’s standards, the one who does not fear God is a mere fool.  There is no wisdom outside of Him.  Father, keep us from making idols out of the knowledge and the wisdom that You impart to us, and help us to use them to point others straight to you.