Today I begin with the ending of our reading, “No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it” (Ecclesiastes 8:17).
In college I read the book Pilgrim on Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. This book is essentially the author journaling while watching nature by a creek side. Dillard noted how one could see peace and serenity in nature, like dew on a leaf or the calm ripples of a river. At the same time, chaos abounds in nature. Consider the hawk devouring a mouse, or heavy rainfalls leading to mudslides. Dillard’s point is that by watching nature, you would note design and chaos. Thus, the interplay between design and chaos makes airtight interpretations through observation about the purpose or nature of creation impossible.
I think Solomon is saying something similar here. The idea is that apart from God’s revelation, even the most observant cannot gain certain enlightenment on the nature or purpose of things. We need more than just wisdom and insight to perceive the truth. We need God. May our wisdom be always grounded in the truth God alone gives.