“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.”
Explanation and Commentary of Ecclesiastes 11:5
Scientists have been given a mind by God for the sake of being his image-bearers on earth and have solved thousands of what once were mysteries and myths. They know things about what causes wind, and they know even more about how a fetus is formed in the womb, they still don’t know all of it, and they especially don’t know the mystery of origin. This is the work of God, who ordains all our knowledge of the intricate details of how things work.
God has revealed himself to a great degree in Scripture. He has given us the keys of the knowledge of God in his Word, and in the illumination of it by his Holy Spirit. Jesus came to bring light into the world that we would know even more about the Father by looking at his Son, who is the exact imprint of his image (Heb 1:3). Even in heaven, those who dwell there don’t seem to know everything that there is about God (Rev 6:10). It will be one of the glorious privileges of the saints in eternity to continue to discover God and learn about him as we live in relationship to him. We should not wait until then to begin to know him. Those we love, we want to know more and more, because with beings that are good, to know them more is to love them more. With a being that is infinitely good, there is no limit to this process.
It also means that there will likely always be some aspects of God’s ways that are higher than our ways (Isa 55:8). It is right to trust in him, leaning not on our own understanding (Prov 3:5), even as we seek to understand. One’s attitude should be to start with a basic understanding that God is perfectly good. That much is clear from Scripture. So everything he does must be perfectly good. We then should seek to understand what can be understood while trusting completely in his goodness, that even if some things remain mysteries, we can continue to love, trust, and worship him.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Ecclesiastes 11:5
#1 “As you do not know the path of the wind,”
Jesus said to Nicodemus, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:8). By this, he seemed to mean that the Holy Spirit of regeneration seems to have a mind of his own, as God has a mind of his own. He goes where he wants.
#2 “or how the body is formed in the mother’s womb,”
For as much as we do know about this, it is still the truest thing to say that the body is formed by God, who has created the processes that scientists have discovered about how it is formed. The Bible says that God knows us before he forms us in the womb (Jer 1:5).
#3 “so you cannot understand the work of God,”
We can understand what God has revealed in Scripture and what he has made available to the eye of science, but the God we worship will always remain mysterious on some level. Seek to know what can be known, praise him and trust him for the things that cannot.
#4 “the Maker of all things.”
We know how babies are made, and we know God makes them. We know how rain is made, and we know that God makes it. We know much about the natural processes of God’s creation, but all of it was, and is, made by God. Even the good things that are made by the genius of man, were made by the genius of God who made man for the very purpose of creating and producing, for the glory of God and the good of the world.
Bible Study on Ecclesiastes 11:5
Expert Overview of Ecclesiastes
Biblical Translations of Ecclesiastes 11:5
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.
Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.
As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.