Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return. Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie. Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. – Ecclesiastes 11:1-5
This is another passage that really sounds like it could have been written or inspired by King Solomon. The focus on investment and trade is very much the focus of King Solomon’s life and energy…”ship your grain across the sea”. Solomon did this very thing back in 2 Chronicles 2:12-18 where he traded grain for lumber and gold. He placed his trust in things (bronze basins and such) rather than the creator of those things.
“If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth.”. The author acknowledges that we will experience challenges and calamities here on earth, “God’s rain” but he has difficulty identifying and trusting the Father of the rain, God.
As we go about our lives things will happen that are beyond our control, like whether a “tree falls to the south or to the north,”. What are we to think of these things? Should we ponder the loving deeds of the Lord or rely on our own wisdom and understanding?
The author, perhaps king Solomon, concludes that “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” In other words he does not think we should rely on God’s spirit (the wind), or look to God (the clouds) for help when it comes to planting and reaping. I disagree. The logic behind this conclusion is a bit contorted and convoluted in my opinion.
“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” Instead of standing in awe and wonder at the creativity of the Creator the author questions whether the Maker of all things can be trusted with the details of our lives (planting and reaping).
This has been the persistent theme in Ecclesiastes….”everything is meaningless” When faced with perplexing people or the pounding waves of life the author would rather conclude that “life is meaningless, a chasing after the wind” than seek after the God who has offered to carry us like a son or daughter.
I choose to chase after “the wind” — seek after God, even though I do not have a complete understanding of the works of God and this seeking sometimes feels like playing tag with God. He has demonstrated His love for us on the cross, now it is my turn to “watch the wind” and “look to the cloud”.
Prayer: God help me to rely on You rather than my own skills, knowledge, and understanding.