Wisdom is not seeing all the reasoning and mechanics of God’s sovereign world, but doing the right thing in the actual situation that presents itself. It’s not looking at the station platforms from the bird’s eye view of the signal box, but facing obstacle after obstacle behind the wheel on the road itself.


That is J.I. Packer’s explanation of Wisdom and Ecclesiastes in particular: all our work is to be judged ‘vanity and a striving after wind’ if we expect to find the divine purpose in everything. Murder and car-crash, cancer and tsunami; is a Sovereign God running this world? The prodigy dies young, the criminal gets the lucky lottery ticket. This is life. This is the real world – realise it, or “you will have no true wisdom till you do”.

I should not claim to understand the dealings of the world. Can I really see at once the reason for anything that may happen? I do not know all the ways of God in providence (11.5).

But I can be sure that God does all things well – that he knows what he is doing. I can trust him, and rejoice in him, even when the path is hidden by weeds. Wisdom is being able to confess he is wise; humbly, joyfully. The fruit of wisdom is Christlikeness, and the root of it is faith in Christ, the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1.24, 30).

Wisdom… humbly trusting; not neglecting faithfulness in searching for a kind of knowledge which is not available this side of the Great Day.