When the wisest man in the world reflects on the nature of wisdom in his book “Ecclesiastes” he makes several profound observations. Putting them in my own words they are things like “it takes wisdom to want 22 out of reachwisdom,” or “it takes wisdom to search for wisdom,” but ultimately no matter how much you desire, or how hard you search, man’s abilities are extremely limited. He writes in Ecclesiastes 7:23, “All this I have tested by wisdom. I said, ‘I will be wise,’ but it was far from me.” Many writers have observed that Solomon wrote the Song of Solomon as a young man in love for the first time. He wrote the book of Proverbs in middle age as he reflected and searched for true wisdom for living life. He wrote Ecclesiastes at the end of his life searching for deeper meaning to it all. Thus, the wiser he become, the more he realized how much he didn’t understand. Isn’t this true with all of us as we grow older?

Solomon admitted that the deeper wisdom was far from him. It was totally out of his reach. Commenting on this verse, Smith says, “When he sought to comprehend the grand scheme of the universe and God’s government thereof he was seeking to reach out to the unattainable. Practical rules of life he had mastered; but essential, absolute wisdom was beyond mortal grasp. Man’s knowledge and capacity for knowledge are limited.” It appears to me that Solomon has finally grasped the wisdom of Job who says in Job 11:7, “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?” The framework of these questions demands a negative answer. Another translation of this passage says, “Can man, by searching, find God?” The expected answer is “of course not!” Smith goes on to make two observations, “First, the final answers to the great questions of life are ‘far off,’ i.e., either in the remote past, even the great past beyond creation; or in the unattainable heavens beyond. One would have to have been present before the world began to see how all the elements which make up experience in this world relate to one another. Second, even when that wisdom seems to be within his grasp he finds it to be …utterly mysterious and beyond the grasp of the mind of man. Man is helpless before the infinite greatness of the universe.”

Thus, even the wisest man in the world got wiser as he got older. We all say things that are true in our youth that we ignore as we live our day to day lives. Even though Solomon knew and expressed the truth that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7), the experiences of life increasingly pressed this truth into his very being. The limits of our wisdom and the vastness of God’s greatness, direct us to live by faith rather than by sight.