Sunday, September 10, 2023

Learning by Faith (Ecclesiastes 8:2-17)

"No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun" (Eccl. 8:17).

After making numerous observations under the instruction of God’s providence, the Preacher realizes that despite all his efforts he really understands little of God’s ways: “No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.”

When we encounter a difficult doctrine in the Word, let us not abandon it, but accept it on faith. We might not understand the sovereignty of God and how it relates to man’s free will, but we accept God’s testimony of His sovereign rule by faith. When we see the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer, let us have faith that God will bring judgment and reward in His own time. “The Almighty has cast ‘clouds and darkness round about Him,’ ” Bridges wrote, “for reasons and purposes of which we have not the least glimpse or conception. Light enough He has given to make faith rational, and to leave unbelief without excuse.” But we cannot fully comprehend the works of God. They are too profound for us to understand. We must, therefore, accept them in humility and faith.

“The mysteries of Holy Scripture are revealed to us only when we are seeking for nothing else, but for the way of reconciliation with God, and for help in our battle with selfishness and sin,” one eminent saint wrote. “All that we need for our happiness is given us; and were the curtain lifted further from holy mysteries, man would be lost in hopeless bewilderment.” As much light as we need to live holy and godly lives has been graciously given. “If the midday beams be withheld, let us thankfully walk in the twilight—improving diligently what is given—not murmuring at what is restrained,” Bridges wrote. ‘ “Perfect day’ would leave no room for the exercise of faith—the discipline of the present dispensation—wisely appointed to humble us in the sense of ignorance, and to wean us from self-conceit in the exercise of confidence in God. In this spirit we shall be humble, patient, diligent, intelligent learners, sitting at the feet of our Divine Teacher; not disputing, or learning unto our own understanding, but willing to be led in His own best way, on any ground, by any means that may seem good in His sight.”

List things God has revealed in His Word that you do not understand. Do you doubt God’s Word because you cannot reason them out in your mind? Turn these matters over to God, admit that His Word is not unreasonable, confess your inability to comprehend everything He has revealed, and accept His Word on faith.