A Shepherd’s Musings: Week 19 & 20 – God is Wise
Recently I had the privilege of sharing James 1:5-6 with a brother in Christ who felt the need to be wiser. The expression of enlightenment and encouragement that shone over his face as he read this verse was amazing, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” We then bowed our heads and prayed, taking heed to the warning to ask with trust and confidence in God. Sensing and knowing our lack of wisdom, and praying for wisdom are good. By doing so, we will see more of God’s wisdom.
Wisdom comes from God because God is wise. What is wisdom? According to J. I. Packer, “Wisdom is the power to see, and the inclination to choose, the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it. Wisdom is, in fact, the practical side of moral goodness. As such, it is found in its fullness only in God. He alone is naturally and entirely and invariably wise” (Knowing God, pg.90). A wise man once said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Proverbs 9:10).
Can you see the wisdom of God around you? Knowledge of God brings insight! The Psalmist saw God’s wisdom in creation, “O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great” (Psalm 104:24-25).
God’s wisdom never fails because God is also powerful. I was amazed at how often God’s wisdom is paired with his power in the Old Testament witness:
With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding. If he tears down, none can rebuild; if he shuts a man in, none can open. If he withholds the waters, they dry up; if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land. With him are strength and sound wisdom. (Job 12:13-16a; cf. Job 9:4 & Job 36:5)
Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.” Daniel 2:20-23
Packer points out the significance of God being all-wise and all-powerful, “Wisdom without power would be pathetic, a broken reed; power without wisdom would be merely frightening; but in God boundless wisdom and endless power are united, and this makes him utterly worthy of our fullest trust” (Knowing God, pg.91).
Do you trust the wisdom of God? When trials and difficulties fall on you, granted, trusting him can be more difficult because you don’t see the end from your limited human perspective. However, an all loving and all-wise God has a loving and wise purpose for every hurt and pain in your life, as the Apostle Paul clearly experienced and testified:
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
No wonder Paul could worship and praise God for His wisdom and power:
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:33-36).
The Psalmist acknowledged God’s wisdom in His creation, Paul recognized and made much of God’s wisdom in His providence, but God’s wisdom shines most brightly in the Gospel message. A loving, just, merciful, and wise God reached down from heaven to save mankind from sin. In the Gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-28) we see God’s wisdom contrasted with convoluted human wisdom:
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:18-24).
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth (Romans 1:16).
Are you embracing the wise truth of God by trusting in Christ to save you from your sin? Or are you still suppressing the truth? If you have in faith believed and received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior please join me in echoing with a shout the words of Paul in praise and worship of God—all wise and all-powerful?
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith– to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen (Romans 16:25-27).
With Prayer, Mark
© May, 2011 Scripture quoted: ESV – Emphasis added
Selected Verses on “God is Wise.”
Proverbs 3:19-20 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.
Isaiah 11:1-4, There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Isaiah 28:29, This also comes from the LORD of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.
Daniel 2:20-23, Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”
Luke 2:40, And the child [Jesus] grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.
Luke 2:52, And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Revelation 7:11-12, And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”