Vanity of Vanities!

by meganlebo

I never realized that you could gain so much knowledge and still have so little understanding.

Years ago I, like Solomon, asked God for wisdom and discernment.  My desire to distinguish between the wisdom of God and the foolishness of man was strong and I wanted to always be able to know what was right and to have the ability to choose.  While certainly nowhere even close to the wisdom of King Solomon, who God endowed with wisdom that no man on earth apart from Jesus would ever match, I do believe that God blessed me with a certain amount of wisdom and discernment as I had asked of him.

But there is a difference between possessing wisdom and understanding it.

With the gift of knowledge and wisdom comes an insatiable desire to unwrap the intricacies and meaning of every circumstance in life.  For knowledge demands reason.  But reason cannot comprehend or traverse the muddy waters that is a life of faith.  For faith denies reason, that is, the reason that demands understanding.

Faith by definition is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things unseen.  (Hebrews 11:1)

But reason is ruled by the senses.  To see, to touch, to hear, to smell, to taste.  Faith, you see, is not confined to the five senses that so dominate how we perceive the world around us.  Faith demands that sixth sense which we have been told by the world cannot exist.

And so engaged, is a life of faith, in a bitter battle with reason.

I believe this battle that rages between our faith and our reason has everything to do with the act of dying to self as Jesus commands us to do in Luke 9:23.

To know, to understand, is a desire deep within our being that is rooted in the desire to be the god of our own lives.  It’s a possessive emotion that stands before God and says “You are not enough!  I have to have more.  More knowledge, more understanding, more control, more power.”  In essence it is our desire to be God.  It is telling Him that our ways should be higher and that our understanding should be greater.

That lust for greatness and power was the driving force that preceded the fall of heaven’s most glorious being, and ultimately what drove Adam and Eve in the garden to fall from perfection into a life of destruction.

So by Solomon’s side I cry Vanity of Vanities!  All is vanity.  Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.  For in the end, when all has been heard, we are to simply fear God and keep his commandments, because this applies to every person.  For everything which is hidden, whether good or evil, God will ultimately bring to judgment.  (Ecclesiastes 1:2,18; 12:13-14)