A Man Cannot Find Out The Work, Ecc 8:16-17

In Ecc 8:16-17, Solomon applied his heart to know wisdom and to see the business under the sun.  In the process, he thought he might find out the work of God under the sun.

You can see some of the business he did in Ecc 2:3-10.  He made great works (he built the temple and his house, and cities throughout the country), vineyards, gardens, trees, pools of water for irrigation, cattle, silver, gold, peculiar treasure of kings, musicians, and musical instruments.

In his pursuit of wisdom, he knew more than anyone else before or since he lived, 1 Ki 3:12; 4:29-31.

In all this business, he saw that there are people who stay up day and night working.  Jacob lost sleep keeping Laban’s cattle.  Paul lost sleep in the ministry 2 Cor 11:27.  Ahasuerus didn’t sleep one night during which he commanded that they bring the book of records of the chronicles to be read.  My brother, at 75, still has sleepless nights working.  On one occasion, working in his law practice, he was up through two straight nights.  Doctors in residence hardly sleep.

Today there is so much business to know, one man will never know it all.  Medicine (cardiovascular, metabolic, oncologic, neurologic, etc) engineering (civil, structural, electrical,  aerospace, mechanical, etc), law (civil, criminal, contract, labor, wills and estates, etc), social sciences, psychology, farming, ranching, biology, literature, languages, architecture, business, manufacturing, finance, banking, accounting, etc.  You can learn a lot if you will apply yourself to the business like Solomon did.  He labored in the work.

In the process of doing this “research” Solomon beheld the work of God.  And he concluded that you’re not going to find it out by labour and you’re not going to find it out by thinking about.  Neither with your mind nor your muscle will you find out God.

You’re not going to figure God out.  You can labor to find out all the work of God and not find it.  A wise man may think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.

You may receive an education in college that will help you get a good job and you may do a good job at what you do.  But you are going to be limited.  You can prolong life, but you can’t cure death.  They have found a way to make money off of dying people.  And so they have made health into a profitable business.  But men still only live to a maximum age of 120.

You’re not going to find out creation.

The college classes that address the work that only God does are hopeless to explain it or change it.  They haven’t been able to find out how God made all of this stuff in the universe that you see, Heb 11:3.  They boast of their scientific theories to explain the work of God and they can’t.  They are determined to be able to solve the mystery of our existence and they will never come to the right conclusion.  They don’t believe what he said and they are determined to explain it by “scientific” means.

You’re not going to find out God’s ways.

Rom 11:33-34, his ways are past finding out.  Who hath known the mind of the Lord?  Is 40:28 there is no searching of his understanding.

The thing that really troubles men is why God does what he does.  He has mercy on whom he will have mercy and whom he will he hardeneth, Rom 9:18.

Why did John the Baptist, the greatest prophet that ever lived, get his head cut of for preaching at the request of a dancer and her adulterous mother?  Why did Job, a perfect, God-fearing, evil-eschewing, upright man have to go through such a vehement attack by the devil?  All this was allowed by the God of Ps 86:15.

You’re not going to find out God’s international plans.

Wyatt asked about any fulfilled prophecy concerning Israel’s war with Hamas.  I said, “I don’t know”.

War could be simply the result of man’s lust for power and possessions Jas 4:1-2.

Or it could be God.  God stirred up the spirit of Pul 1 Chr 5:26.  The Lord sent against Jehoiakim the Chaldeans, bands of the Syrians, Moabites, Ammon, 2 Ki 24:2.  Nebuchadnezzar was God’s servant.  By Naaman, God had given deliverance to Syria, 2 Ki 5:1.  All of these were enemies against God’s chosen people.

Or it could be the Lord working the opposite way.  2 Chr 20, when Moab, Ammon, and the children of Seir attacked Judah, the battle was God’s.  In other words, the Lord sent them, not to correct Judah, but to destroy those armies.  When Sennacherib was sent by God to Hezekiah, the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian mighty men of valour, 2 Chr 32:21.  The Lord sent them down there to destroy the Assyrians.

God will gather all nations together against Jerusalem to destroy “them”, Zeph 3:8, Zech 14:1-3.  Unless you are a prophet and the Lord tells you what he’s doing, you’re not going to find it out.

All attempts to make the world a better place to live will fail.  All attempts at world peace will fail.  This we know because of what God said.  If you don’t believe him, you’re doomed to repeat the same history.  The world will not have peace until the Prince of peace shows up and ends the wars himself.  It makes you wonder why God hasn’t already stepped in to fix it.

You’re not going to find out why God does what he does.

God can do anything he wants to.  Ps 115:3 our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.  Who can say, “What doest thou”? Dan 4:35.

How could God allow the Jews to kill all those Amorites… men women and children.  Elisha sent a she bear to kill 42 children.  Israel reduced Benjamin to 600 men.  Explain the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia.  Wayne Sehmish said, “I don’t know”.

Why did the Lord leave the devil after his fall if he was going to do what he’s been doing to men?  You cannot answer this to the satisfaction of a person who wants to find it out.  Jesus saves us from hell, protects us from the devil, and gives us victory.  But this doesn’t mean that you won’t go through some of what Job went through.  See 1 Pet 5:9.

You can’t tell whether a thing is from God, or the devil, or of men.  The only explanation the disciples had for the man born blind in John 9, is that either he sinned or his parents sinned.  Without the explanation from Jesus they were hopeless to figure it out.

And for this reason, men become frustrated with God.  They use the fact that they can’t understand God as a reason to condemn him.  Job did this and held himself to be more righteous than God.  God doesn’t owe us an explanation.  You can’t justify yourself simply because you can’t figure him out.

God may show you what he’s doing, but you’re not going to find out.  Matt 11:25-26 says it has to be revealed.  Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.  You have to believe him.  And you have to know that he hath done all things well, Mk 7:37.

I feel that I must reconcile problem texts partly because I want to “justify” God.  But he doesn’t need me to do that.  We simply must believe that what he said is true and that he is right in what he does.  Any attempt to use our intellect to figure God out is a waste of time.  We cannot do it.

To study the previous lesson, see Fear Before God. To study the next lesson, see The Hand of God.