The Scriptorium

What Do You Know?

Or perhaps better, whom? Ecclesiastes 11.5

Ecclesiastes 11 (3)

Pray Psalm 139.5, 6.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Read Ecclesiastes 11.5.

1. What is Solomon’s point in this verse?

2. We can’t know all the works of God, but that’s OK. Why?


Rehoboam may have been acting like a bit of a know-it-all: “I know what I’m doin’, Dad. I don’t need all this advice.” But, of course, he didn’t know it all. He couldn’t. No one can. Life is filled with mysteries that even the brightest minds can’t fathom.

And yet Rehoboam considered himself wiser than his father when it came to knowing what was best for his life. Solomon had “been there, done that.” A wise son would have listened to his father’s counsel, reflected on his ways, and sought the life of wisdom over the way of folly (Prov. 3.1, 2; 5.1, 2). Life is filled with so much uncertainty, so many unforeseeable events, that we need to trust ourselves to God and rest in His sovereign care. But if we won’t do that with the everyday details of our lives, we’re not likely to do it when push comes to shove in the hard patches that must surely come.

We don’t like to be told that we aren’t as smart as we think. The atheist who insists that he knows there is no God is simply a fool. Does he know everything? If not, would he be willing to allow that, within that vast universe of things he doesn’t know, there might be a God? If he’s not willing to allow that, then he doesn’t know the limits of his knowledge.

A little further questioning can reveal to such a person that there are plenty of mysteries in life that he will never be able to understand, and yet he accepts them by faith. Faith in what? Chance? His own experience? Mere human authorities? These are shaky foundations on which to try to build a life of security and happiness.

And what about us? We act like we know better than God how much of Him, His Word, and communion with Him is needed in our lives. But have we consulted Him on the matter? Or are we satisfied that our own advice, feelings, ideas, and thoughts about so crucial a question are good enough?

1. If we can’t know everything, can we know anything? Explain.  

2. Life is full of uncertainties and changing circumstances, which is why it is so important to know Him Who knows everything. Explain.

3. Do we ever know Jesus well enough? Why not?

Yet his work is not known, because even those who preach him venerate his impenetrable judgments. They therefore both know him whom they preach, and yet do not know his works: because they know by grace him by whom they were made, but cannot comprehend his judgments that are wrought by him above their understanding.
Gregory the Great (540-604), Morals on the Book of Job 5.27.6

I don’t know everything, but I do know You, Lord, and knowing You makes my life…

Pray Psalm 139.15-18.
Thank God for all the mysteries about your life that you can never understand, but that He knows fully.

Sing Psalm 139.15-18.
Psalm 139.15-18 (Ripley: Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah, O My Soul)
All my unformed frame You witnessed
when You destined all my days.
Precious to me, Lord, Your precepts;
all Your wondrous Word I praise.
More than sand, Your thoughts to me, Lord,
far too vast their sum for me!
When the morning breaks upon me,
in Your presence I shall be.

T. M. Moore

Where does the book of Ecclesiastes fit in the overall flow of Scripture? Our series of studies, God’s Covenant, can show you, and help you discover the great beauty of the unity and diversity of Scripture, and how it all points to Christ. To order your copy of this important workbook, click here.

You can download all the studies in this series on Ecclesiastes by clicking here. If you value Scriptorium as a free resource for your walk with the Lord, please consider supporting our work with your gifts and offerings. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button  at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore