Wisdom. What is it? Where does it come from? How do you get it? Does anyone really want it anymore? It seems to me that people today want a lot of THINGS. Can’t you tell that by all the commercials on T.V. or all the ads that pop up when you’re trying to do research on the internet? There are a lot of people out there selling a lot of things and it seems there must also be a lot of people looking for things to consume. But -- is anyone looking for wisdom? Are you? As I was reading about wisdom in my Bible, I was led to reflect on the place of wisdom in our world today. Hmmmm…...did someone misplace it? or render it obsolete? or change the definition (as someone seems to be doing with quite a few of our words these days). What has happened to wisdom?
I hope you are someone who cares about wisdom, and would like to have it. I hope you would be glad to know where to find it and how to obtain it, because I have your answer. Grab your Bible and turn to the Book of Job, chapter 28, verses 12 through 28. Actually, the answer is in verse 28, but you really need to read the whole passage to discover the value of wisdom and also where not to look for it. I am printing the Job 28:12-18 passage for you below, but one more thought before you read it (and please do read it). If you value wisdom and would like to pass your values on to posterity, God’s Word - and the reading, studying, and memorizing of it - is the key to wisdom and understanding.
“But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Man does not know its worth,
and it is not found in the land of the living.
The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’
and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’
It cannot be bought for gold,
and silver cannot be weighed as its price.
It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,
in precious onyx or sapphire.
Gold and glass cannot equal it,
nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.
No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal;
the price of wisdom is above pearls.
The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,
nor can it be valued in pure gold.
“From where, then, does wisdom come?
And where is the place of understanding?
It is hidden from the eyes of all living
and concealed from the birds of the air.
Abaddon and Death say,
‘We have heard a rumor of it with our ears.’
“God understands the way to it,
and he knows its place.
For he looks to the ends of the earth
and sees everything under the heavens.
When he gave to the wind its weight
and apportioned the waters by measure,
when he made a decree for the rain
and a way for the lightning of the thunder,
then he saw it and declared it;
he established it, and searched it out.
And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding’”
(The above passage is quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001, Crossway Bibles. I would encourage you to read it your favorite version also.)
In the love of Him who alone is wise (Jude 1:25),
If you could choose to be like any person from history or any person currently living, who would it be? I’m thinking that some people will have an answer right away, but maybe you'll have to stop and think about it. Either way, I’m wondering what your answer will be.
I attend a Bible study class each week and last night was our final meeting of the year. It’s a night when we don’t have formal study but instead each one in the group has an opportunity to share something special she has learned during the year. I always enjoy listening to what others have learned because it encourages me in my Christian walk. It’s interesting how we can all study the same thing for months and yet each one learns something different that is meaningful and applicable to her life. This year we studied four books of the Bible: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy -- the life of Moses from birth to death. Last night almost everyone shared a lesson they had learned from Moses and his life. Many shared a desire to be like Moses in some way.
This morning I opened the devotional book that I read every day to find the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The thrust of the Christian message is not for us to become like one of the biblical figures, but to become like Christ Himself” (I Want to Live These Days with You). Bonhoeffer went on to say that we do not become like Christ by some kind of method or prescribed effort on our part - we do it by faith alone. Isn’t that so true? We can attend Bible study for a year, study about Moses, and decide we want to be just like Moses. We want to be faithful, patient with others, and rely on God for everything. So we start out really well, with all the best intentions, but then trying to be like Moses gets to be more and more of an effort. Some people are hard to live with and we lose our patience. A huge problem arises and a decision needs to be made right away. We forget to pray and plow ahead under our own steam. We get so busy with all the interruptions of everyday life that our Bible gathers dust on the shelf. It’s a downhill slide from there. How is it that Moses was able to endure forty years in a bleak wilderness as a faithful godly leader with impossible seas to cross, two million stubborn and complaining people to lead, and a family that was jealous and resentful? How did he keep on going even after he found out he would not receive an earthly reward -- he would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land?
Here is the answer: Moses had faith! And listen to this! He was not even looking for an earthly reward. Moses was looking to Christ for a heavenly reward (Hebrews 11:26). His eyes were not on another person, wanting to be like someone else. His heart was not set on the Promised Land and retiring to a life of ease. He simply wanted to please God: he listened to God and he obeyed God. That is faith.
Today we have the privilege of listening to God through His Word. It is readily available! We can read it and study it anytime we really want to. It is in God’s Word that we learn how to follow Christ and approach God. It is in God’s Word that we learn to follow Christ’s example in our daily living with all its challenges, problems, and temptations. Faith is not a “quick fix”: read a book, follow the steps, and become a godly person. Nor is faith a one time spiritual experience - a magical power you receive when you first believe. Faith is a daily practice of exposing yourself to God’s will in His Word, a daily practice of remembering what you learned yesterday....and last week....and last year -- a daily practice of obedience to all you have learned. That is what faith does -- every day. And that is how our lives become shaped into the image of Christ.
Isn’t it wonderful how God gave us examples of the godly lives of so many different men and women in Scripture? He gave us those to encourage us in our faith. They had pasts to overcome and problems to face, just like us. We can admire them and say we would like to be like them but the way we become like them at their very best is by becoming like Christ. And the way we do that is by faith -- the practice of daily faithful faith in going to God, listening to God, and following Jesus' example of perfect obedience. As we do that, we learn to follow in His steps, For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps (1 Peter 2:21). Faithful following can become a way of life if you really want it! For a believer, it needs to become a way of life. Will you commit, along with me, to make it your way? As you do, may you be blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (see Ephesians 1:3-14).
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.