An Expert Problem

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18, Ecclesiastes 12:12–14, John 7:37–49

One of the biggest indicators of future is a good education. Especially in this day and age, education is not a luxury, nor is it just the trappings of the well-to-do. Education is a necessity.

The “Teacher” of Ecclesiastes is often assumed to be Solomon, however, based on content within Ecclesiastes the “son of David” and “King of Israel” are more symbolic, rather than actual. Within teaching, this is not abnormal. It is quite possible that based on the experiences shared that the person was part of the upper echelon of society. It could also merely be a collection of others’ observations and quips gathered into one work.

Regardless, Ecclesiastes is a symbol of the human desire to learn and understand. The burn in many people’s hearts to not just gain knowledge, but to also gain deep understanding continues to drive people to sciences, philosophy, and religion. However, what often also occurs with such a drive is a perception that human knowledge is the end. This is where the concluding words of the Teacher become so important.

One can easily understand human arrogance in the realms of science and philosophy, but arrogance in knowledge of religion seems peculiar. The supposed subject of religion would generally be an entity beyond human comprehension. Even the later era Greek and Roman gods, while having human istics, had that beyond human nature. Yet, humanity still births and gestates this arrogance.

This arrogance is on display as the Pharisees justify their unbelief with their “fact” that the rulers (depends on how one defines rulers) or Pharisees (at least publicly) didn’t believe or follow Jesus. They relied on the behaviors of others and their learning. There wasn’t a hint of, “maybe we’re wrong.” At that is the other piece of arrogance. It becomes a trap. Because of their arrogance, many people must follow their original line of thinking (for they were right), even when they learn something to the contrary. Of course, the greatest danger is when God brings the teaching, and the arrogant do not learn.

1) Our world revolves around experts, from weather to politics to religion. Why do you think people always turn to experts? How is that good? How is that bad?

2) Arrogance is often a tactic of self-defense. How so? How does it play into your life?

3) Humility is the opposite of arrogance. How does that play into your life?