October 18, 2009

Wisdom is not what you know but Who you Know

Talking last night with my brother, the inevitable came up, politics. He has strong opinions based on what he knows. I challenged his information (my mistake), but after going round and round, we came to a mutual conclusion — only the Lord can sort out the mess that the world is in.

Yesterday had me thinking about wisdom. That conversation has me thinking about information. Today’s devotional is again about wisdom. I’m wondering how much is the wisdom of God based on knowing everything there is to know? Can I be wise apart from learning His Word and His ways? Does wisdom depend on behavior?

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. (Proverbs 2:6-9)
Today’s reading offers only the first phrase of this passage, but the rest of it answers my questions. Wisdom, or the ability to appropriately use knowledge, comes from the Lord and it is tied very closely to the knowledge and understanding that comes from His mouth, His Word. He shields His people and guards our way so that we can understand His will and how to live righteously in this world. Life and wisdom are from Him. On the other hand, the verses before these say that I also have a part in receiving His wisdom:
My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5)
Even though God says we need to look for this treasure, I’ve known people who say that they get along just fine without God or His wisdom. They think themselves wise, or they point to highly educated people who are ‘successful’ without God. Their value system is for this life only. It is based on human ideas of what is important, and in the New Testament, this is called “the wisdom of the world.”

I’m still not satisfied with what I’ve read. I keep thinking of something else, that the wisdom of God is not about a mass of knowledge or even about using the Word of God to guide my life. It goes deeper. Proverbs personifies it in feminine terms, hinting that it is about a Person. The New Testament clarifies that this is true:

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise. . . . to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)
When I think I am smart, I can get into arguments about politics with my brother. However, when he is walking in the Spirit, he is calm about the world’s turmoil for he is trusting the One who is sovereign. When I am walking in the Spirit, I too am at peace about what the government is doing. Both of us know that Jesus is in charge, not just over the things we see and know and understand, but over all things. We don’t to memorize the whole Bible, or have deep theological insights, or know everything there is to know to be wise. We just need Jesus; He is our wisdom.