PSALM 119:97-104 February 7, 2016
“THE WISDOM OF GOD”
The theologian J.I. Packer in his book, Knowing God, starts out in his chapter on the wisdom of God by saying: “What does the Bible mean when it calls God wise? In scripture wisdom is a moral as well as an intellectual quality, more than mere intelligence or knowledge, just as it is more than mere cleverness or cunning. For us to be truly wise, in the Bible sense, our intelligence and cleverness must be harnessed to a right end.” So that we can better understand the wisdom of God we must contrast the wisdom of God with man’s wisdom.
Wisdom and knowledge are not the same. “Man acquires knowledge by study, but wisdom results from an intuitive insight into things.” (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, page 69) The gathering of facts without ever understanding how it applies in life is merely a useless intellectual exercise. I love to study history as I have witnessed firsthand that history often repeats itself and thus I can be better prepared for the future.
It is always wise to start at the beginning. Genesis 1:1 (NIV) “1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God is the creator of all things! God did not get bored one day and then decided to create the universe. God has a plan and scripture makes it plain. Psalm 33:8-11 (NIV) “8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. 10 The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. 11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Romans 11:33 (NIV) “33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” In the Westminster Confession of Faith it states “From all eternity and by the completely wise and holy purpose of his own will, God has freely and unchangeably ordained whatever happens.”
Most Christians would accept the proposition that God is all wise and that his plans will work out according to the will of God. Yet, many Christians have a poor understanding of God’s wisdom and how God operates. Mankind has two problems. One, we often lack the knowledge of scripture by our laziness. Secondly, we are blinded to the truth. We are blinded because of the fall. Our outlook has been twisted by sin and rebellion. It is only when we accept Christ that our eyes are open to the work of the Holy Spirit, and the things of God.
We believed the lie of Satan. Genesis 3:4-5 (NIV) 4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The opposite happened, we became blinded. Even today, too often we think we know better. We arrogantly judge God and find him not measuring up to our expectations. How often have you heard people say a loving God would not send people to hell? I have also heard Christians state that “my God would not be that way”. 2 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV) “4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”Instead of humbly coming to God in confession and repentance we demand that God become the idol we are choosing to make crafted out of our ideas. John 12:40 (NIV) 40 “He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn–and I would heal them.” Unless we turn to Christ and accept him as our Savior and Lord we will never understand.
It is also impossible for us to fully understand God who is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. We are limited in our life span and our wisdom has been warped by our sinfulness. Have you ever thought that if you were God you would make things right? When we read the scriptures about God being the One who calls us to faith we often reject this truth as we fear the loss of control that we mistakenly believe that we possess. Ephesians 1:11 (NIV) “11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”
Many Christians reject the idea of predestination without ever realizing that often their rejection is based on fear. This is why Paul wrote these words to the Roman church. Romans 9:20-21 (NIV) “20 But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?”Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?”
When our image of God is too small we often neglect the worship of God because we don’t feel the need to honor a god whom we have made in our image. Instead we worship an idol that we call god! Yet, when we begin to understand the glory, majesty, and wisdom of God we often fall to our knees like Isaiah when he saw God. Isaiah 6:5 (NIV) 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
May God give us an understanding of what it means to fear Him! Psalm 111:10 (NIV) “10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” We should develop with God’s assistance to have a holy reverence for the Almighty LORD God. We will have to face God one day and we want to hear his words of acceptance instead of correction. Wisdom of God leads us to live a righteous life. Proverbs 15:33 (NIV) “33 The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” Humility comes when we understand that we are saved by grace and grace alone. We have done nothing to earn our salvation.
Deuteronomy 10:17 (NIV) “17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” Many people think they can bargain with God to get what they desire. We tell God what we will do for him if he only does what we want. When we accept God for who He is, only then will we begin to have the proper perspective of the way the Lord’s world operates. We must come to God on his terms, and not ours. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The more I get to know about our LORD, the more I am humbled by his grace, mercy, and love which has been extended to me. The more I get to know about our LORD, the more I am learning to trust him. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Let us pray.