Today: Sunday, August 25, 2019
 
 

God's wisdom    (10/5/2014 )


When you ask people which qualities they would like to be remembered for, probably few of them would mention ‘wisdom’. And yet, we can probably all think of someone we know and admire because they seem wise; perhaps because they’ve helped us when we needed it.

Wisdom isn’t the same thing as intelligence. You can have a very intelligent 8-year-old, but that doesn’t necessarily make them wise, and very bright adults can make bad decisions.

Wisdom is a mix of qualities. My dictionary says it’s “knowledge of what is true or right, coupled with good judgment as to action”. So I suppose you could say that it’s about having the right values and the right information, and using them to make the right decisions.

Perhaps we’re all conscious of turning to particular people when we’re in difficult situations, because we know they’re wise. We may not use the word, but we respect that person’s judgement. Often, we’ll turn to them even when we know we won’t like what they say, but deep down we know we need to hear it.

Wisdom is important to God. We know this because there are not only a lot of references to the word in the Bible, but because the Bible also dispenses a lot of it. There are even several books in the Bible called the ‘wisdom books’ (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs).

The fact that wisdom is so important to God does point to his being the source of it. In the Old Testament, Daniel (of the lions’ den story) says: “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him”.

Certainly we know that all goodness comes from God: many passages tell us this, but one of the most famous is in Psalm 23: “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life”. That ticks off the ‘right values’ part of our definition of wisdom.

Of course, God being God, we would expect him to know everything: we even know from the Bible that he knows the secret thoughts of our hearts. So now we’ve also ticked off the ‘right information” part of our definition.

All of this tells us a couple of important things. Firstly, that no matter how wise our friends and family may be, God is wiser. And since he is perfect and loving, his guidance is also the most perfect and loving we could expect to have.

The book of Isaiah tells us that God’s wisdom is different from human wisdom, however: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," says God in Isaiah [OT]. In fact, human wisdom can be arrogant and misguided. 1 Corinthians [NT] asks us: “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

So we should seek God’s wisdom to help us in our lives, but we should also ask to share a little of God’s kind of wisdom: the book of James [NT] says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all people generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring aspects of God’s wisdom—so come back next week!





Pray: Lord, you know everything. Sometimes I think I know a lot, but compared to you… it’s nothing. I know your wisdom can be trusted, so I ask for your wisdom to guide my life, and I ask that you give me wisdom to help me direct my thoughts, and also to help others. Amen.

Think about: Have you ever been given advice or been criticised by someone and didn’t like it – but then realised that, actually, that person was right? What does that tell you about wisdom, and different perceptions of it?

Challenge: To be able to accept wisdom that’s not our own requires us to lose some of our pride, and make ourselves a little vulnerable. This week, try to lower your defences and to listen out for wisdom in the most surprising places.

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