INTRODUCTION: This devotional series is based on J.I. Packer’s classic work, Knowing God. There is no greater quest, no more important activity, nothing that should be a higher priority than getting to know God. Too many Christians know about God without making their time with him personal. These devotionals are designed to challenge you to ask questions of yourself, bring these questions before God, make you think, and transform your relationship with God. My prayer is that your study will overflow in emotion, in touching your heart, in connecting with God, and sharing your relationship with others. The book consists of 22 Chapters, thus this series last 22 days. Dig in!
Reflections on Chapter 10: God’s Wisdom and Ours
There are ways we will never be like God then there are attributes of God we imitate. Theologians classified the attributes of God as either “incommunicable” (can’t be imitated) or “communicable” (to be imitated).
· Incommunicable attributes illustrate how vastly different God is from us. His transcendence can be described through his independence, immutability, infinity, and simplicity (he has no conflicting qualities!).
· Communicable attributes include spirituality, freedom, and moral qualities of goodness, truth, holiness, righteousness, etc. The point? God made man to be like him (Gen 1:26) = godly. God works to redeem these godly qualities in man through redemption – we are renewed in the image of Christ (2 Cor 3:18) and of God (Col 3:10).
Wisdom, the object of today’s devotional, falls into the category of communicable – God wants us to strive to learn and imitate his wisdom.
Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord. But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death. (Prov 8:33-36)
Proverbs 1-9 discourses on wisdom as “the first of God’s works” (8:22) and personifies wisdom and folly as competing for our attention.
· Proverbs were written “to attain wisdom” (1:1)
· The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (9:10) – wisdom comes first through reverence and fear
· We are called to seek and find wisdom at any costs (4:5-7) – for she is more precious than rubies and nothing you desire can compare with her (8:11) more than gold or silver (16:16)
· Wisdom will save you from wicked men (2:12) and the adulterous woman (2:16) by bringing knowledge and discretion
· Wisdom will lengthen your life (9:11) and reward you
· Wisdom comes only with humility (11:2)
· However, there is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord (21:30)
God is ready to give wisdom
The Proverbs illustrate wisdom calling out to us. In the New Testament we are called to live not as fools but as wise (Eph 5) to walk in wisdom (Col 4:5) and even told that if we lack wisdom to ask God (Jas 1:5). How reassuring to know that wisdom is available to us!
We must be ready to receive wisdom
Yet, as revealed in Proverbs, we can only get to know God by attaining wisdom through fear of the Lord (9:10): we must acknowledge our weakness in humility to become teachable. If you are like me, many of these verses seem overly simple, like common sense. Worldly wisdom, called “Folly” in Proverbs, plays on our conceit to get us to think that we already know what to do rather than seeking God’s wisdom and will. I give myself too much credit – though I am frequently guilty of knowing the good I ought to do (knowledge) but not carrying it out (wisdom) I still think to myself that I am pretty wise. I’m often blind to my arrogance, relying on my own wisdom rather than trusting God’s. Aware of my arrogance, my daily prayer has become, “give me humility and wisdom.”
Wisdom comes through obedience
The Bible provides a simple (not easy to follow!) answer: wisdom comes through living God’s word:
· How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word (Ps 119:9)
· Your commands… make me wiser than my enemies… give me more insight than my teachers… and more understanding than the elders (Ps 119:98-100)
· Let the teaching of Christ and His words keep on living in you. These make your lives rich and full of wisdom. Keep on teaching and helping each other. (Col 3:16, NLV)
· You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. (2 Tim 3:15-17 NLT).
The challenge: IMMERSE yourself in Scripture and take daily steps to obey God’s word!
Ecclesiastes provides insight into Solomon’s efforts to pass on wisdom. His unspiritual (under the sun) attempt to understand the meaning of life leads him to the conclusion “everything is meaningless”! But once he grips this truth, he begins to see things through spiritual eyes and comes to the spiritual conclusion of Ecc 12:9-14 (NIRV)
The Teacher was wise. He gave knowledge to people. He tried out many proverbs. He thought about them carefully. Then he wrote them down in order. He did his best to find just the right words. And what he wrote was honest and true.
The sayings of those who are wise move people to take action. Their collected sayings are like nails pounded in firm and deep. These sayings are given to us by one shepherd. My son, be careful not to pay attention to anything added to them. Books will never stop being written. Too much studying makes people tired.
Everything has now been heard.
And here’s the final thing I want to say.
Have respect for God and obey his commandments.
This is what he expects of all human beings.
God will judge everything people do.
That includes everything they try to hide.
He’ll judge everything, whether it’s good or evil.
Wisdom makes us more humble, joyful, and godly so that we can be more quick-sighted to see God’s will, resolute in carrying out God’s will, and less troubled by our own circumstances. However, wisdom only comes through a fear of the Lord that gives us enough humility to actually obey what God says.