“When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth (even though one should never sleep day or night), and I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, ‘I know,’ he cannot discover.”
Men throughout the centuries have given themselves to the task of discovering the meaning of life, the works and ways of God, and the events of the future. There is a restless yearning within man to know why and how and when and if. The great and wise King Solomon gave himself to the pursuit of discovering every “work of God” and “the work which has been done under the sun.” Solomon came to the following conclusions.
First, if a man could devote twenty-four hours a day to the task of discerning such knowledge he would be unable to comprehend everything that God has done. If a man could devote a thousand sleepless years to the task he would still be unable to comprehend it all. Our finite human minds do not have the capacity to process such volumes of information.
Second, if all the wise men in the world devoted themselves to thousands of sleepless years of research and employed millions of scribes to record their insights they would be unable to comprehend everything that God has done or that has been done under the sun. Even the combined intelligence of the greatest minds would fail at the task.
Third, don’t believe any man who says he’s got it all figured out. He is lying, not to mention presumptuous. It is not possible for any man to succeed at the task of discovering and comprehending every “work of God” and “the work which has been done under the sun.” Any man making such a claim would be unable to answer God’s questions about His works, should he be given the opportunity for such an interview. Job can certainly attest to that.
So, does this mean that men should not seek to explore and discover and learn? Absolutely not! Solomon simply reminds us that God is bigger than us. He reminds us that God’s ways, works, and thoughts are higher than ours. He reminds us that while we may acquire much knowledge in our earthly pilgrimage, we will never know more than God nor will we be able to reduce God and His workings to the pages of our journals.
Frederick Lehman, a hymn writer, said it best. He noted that if we were to explore the dimensions of God’s love alone, and could employ every man to dip his pen into an ocean of ink and write on a parchment stretched across the heavens … they would drain the ocean dry and run out of parchment and still leave the project uncompleted. The task of discovering and comprehending every “work of God” and “the work which has been done under the sun” is indeed an impossible assignment.