What if Nothing is Wrong is Wrong?
(Ecclesiastes 12:12 – “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.”)
In summing up his lifelong quest for knowledge and understanding, Solomon’s final conclusion was, “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” I think my son figured that one out in college! Solomon was the wisest man to have ever lived. Scripture says, “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand of the seashore.” (1 Kings 4:29). That’s a whole lot of wisdom! But even though Solomon might have known something about everything, he still didn’t know everything about all things. Only God can make that boast, although there are some people out there today who seem to think they can as well. After a lifetime of pursuing knowledge and understanding, weary from much study, Solomon, the wisest man in the world, leaves us with these final words of wisdom, “Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:11). Doesn’t take a PhD to understand that one. After much study, contemplation, and questioning of the accuracy of God’s word, many scholars today have reached the conclusion that nothing is wrong concerning certain issues that are said to be wrong in God’s word. In a world that is desperately trying to convince itself that nothing is wrong anymore, maybe the question we should be asking ourselves is; what if nothing is wrong, is wrong?
Not much has changed since Solomon’s day in relation to the making of many books. There is no end to the making of them today as well. We are bombarded with endless opinions and philosophies being written about life and how we should live it, but there still remains only one authority. My sister and I once tried to get our dad to read a book that we felt would give him more insight into the Bible. He looked at us and said, “If this book says what the Bible says, don’t you just need to read the Bible?” Wisdom shut the mouths of fools that day. Everything we need to know is in God’s word. All other sources of insight into truth are derived from it, and any insight not derived from it is probably not truth. It really is that simple. No amount of human knowledge or philosophical reasoning will ever surpass the wisdom of God’s written word. Period. I concede that there are many books out there that do aid in giving greater insight and understanding of scripture and I am in no way dismissing their value. My concern is that the interpretation or explanation given by man of the scriptures, are being elevated above the authority of scripture itself. Unfortunately, that is what we are seeing in the “making of many books” today. In Corinthians 3:18, Paul warns, “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a fool so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this age is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again ‘The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” Man, with all his education, intellect and philosophical contemplations, will never out-smart or out-think God. Paul, himself, was a gifted philosopher, yet he warned against any philosophy of life based only on human ideas and experiences. In Colossians 1:8, he warns, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Paul, much like Solomon, after considering all that he had accomplished in life, considered it all to be “rubbish” when compared with knowing Christ. He writes, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” (Philippians 3:7).
Solomon further warned, “The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails – driven in by one Shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them.” (Ecclesiastes 12:11). Solomon, with all his wisdom, knew better than to add or take away anything from the wisdom of God’s word. Wisdom will sometimes goad you. A goad was a sharp metal tip attached to a handle that was used to keep oxen or cattle moving. The NIV Life Application Study Bible commentary says, “Like a goad, a wise word or important truth might be unpleasant when first applied, but it will keep us moving in God’s direction.” The embedded truth of God’s word, driven into our hearts by Jesus, our Shepherd, will keep us moving in God’s direction. Solomon was not the only one to warn of taking away or adding to God’s word. Moses in Deuteronomy warned, “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it but keep the commands of the Lord our God that I give you.” In Revelation 22:18, John further cautions, “I warn everyone who hears the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” Jesus, himself, said, “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Last time I looked, heaven and earth had not yet disappeared. II Timothy 3:16 tells us, “All scripture is God-breathed.” That means the smallest letter to the least stroke of a pen is inspired by God. To presume to make changes in God’s word is to assume a position of authority over God, himself. To be sure, of making many books there is no end, so we had better be sure the ones we choose to write and to read line up with the infallible truth of God’s word.
When people lose the ability to distinguish between what is true from what they wish was true, they lose their ability to tell the difference between truth and lies and become victims of their own self-deception. And when people exalt their intellect above God’s wisdom, they become victims of their own puffed up knowledge and deluded pride. In Colossians 2:18, Paul, in speaking of this type of person, says, “Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.” Paul attributes the fundamental reason for this puffed up knowledge as being an “unspiritual mind” due to being disconnected from the Head. He writes, “He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.” The NIV Study Bible makes the observation that “the fundamental problem with the false teachers was that they were not connected to Christ, the Head of the body of believers. If they had been joined to him, they could not have taught false doctrine or lived immorally.” It further advises, “Anyone who teaches about God without being connected to him by faith should not be trusted.” Not everyone who teaches about God, knows the God about whom they teach. You can’t teach about God by just studying about God. In 1 Corinthians 1:18, God has something to say to the philosophers and scholars of our day who would have the audacity to take away or add to his word. “For it is written: “‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”‘
Although we are living in a constantly changing world, God’s word remains unchanged. It’s truth will not change to accommodate what we wish was true. Because it is God’s word, it can only speak what is true. I may not have a PhD, but I know you must start at the beginning of a matter before you can reach the conclusion of it. As Solomon concluded, in the end it all goes back to the beginning. “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” For all you scholars and philosophers and wise men out there who think you’ve got it all figured out, you might want to consider the words of the wisest man to have ever lived and go back to the beginning. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 111:10). No amount of human knowledge and reasoning will ever surpass or change the wisdom of God’s word. Take it from Solomon, in the end you will only weary yourself trying.
PHILOSOPHY & WISDOM
Philosophy and wisdom set out one day
Into the world to run and play
Wisdom said, “Just follow me and pay attention to my lead”
To which Philosophy replied, “I think I’ll let reason be my guide”
So Wisdom humbly stepped aside
They played together throughout the day
Each one going his own way
Everything seemed to be just grand
With Philosophy and Wisdom joined hand-in-hand
But soon it all came to a tragic end
For calamity lay just around the bend
They came upon a busy street
Where truth and reasoning were destined to meet
Philosophy carefully studied the situation
Deep in thought and contemplation
While Wisdom stopped to consider the loss
That crossing at the wrong time would cost
Wisdom once again made the plea, “Please take my hand and follow me”
But Philosophy stubbornly refused
To be led by Wisdom’s rules
Thinking his reasoning to be true
He thought, “Surely the traffic will stop for you”
And after much thought and pontification
Stepped into the street without hesitation
But Wisdom could have told him had he only asked
“Those cars are going much too fast!”
And Wisdom would have gladly shown him the way
To safely get across the street that day
If only he’d consented to do it Wisdom’s way
Philosophy and Wisdom set out to play
But only Wisdom made it home that day
(Proverbs 1:20-26 – “Wisdom calls aloud in the street …. At the head of the noisy streets she cries out. But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed to my outstretched hand, since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you.”)