Photo. Santa Cruz, CA. Picture by Richard Blick. 2011
The big idea: we need wisdom, but how do we get it?
Point one. Wisdom is absolutely important.
Knowledge of God’s moral law and applying it well to life is wisdom. The ten commandments are non-negotiable, but how do we discern what job to take, who to marry, where to live, etc.? These are not spelled out in the ten commandments, yet if we chose poorly, dire consequences result.
Wisdom is knowing yourself and also knowing your limitations. Wisdom is knowing how to make decisions which allow for the timing and seasons of life. Wisdom is understanding the complexities of life.
The genre of the book of Proverbs is not a book of promises nor commands as much as it is truth about how life usually works. Life is more complex than we normally allow for. If you obey your parents you still may die early and not live long on the earth. A man works hard and gets rewarded and the sluggardly does not. It is good to work hard but Proverbs also show that sometimes the poor are hardworking but are poor because of oppression. Normally hard work pays dividends but not always because life is more complex than that.
Point two. Wisdom is only found in God.
Many othe religions believe the world was made in conflict. The Bible teaches that God created the world not out of a conflict between good and evil forces. It teaches that God, the master craftsman, made it as an overflow of joy in himself.
Only God can see the order and the pattern in everything in the world. Look at his plan: creation and redemption after the fall.
Point three. How to get some wisdom for yourself?
We know what it is like to hope in something and then it is cut off: broken dreams, broken things, lost jewelry, broken relationships, good works, etc. But when we hope in wisdom, proverbs says, our hope is never cut off. When we are leaning as if to fall, which is the essence of worship, we will never fall when leaning on the Rock of wisdom.
Prov. 24:13 My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
If all wisdom is in God, where do we see the climax of God’s wisdom? On the cross. Eph 3:10 When we hope in the cross, that is the only thing we can hope in that will not be cut off.
Eph 3:10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
13 So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory.
Proverbs defines what wisdom is, namely the fear of the Lord.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Job 28:28 says the same thing: And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'”
What is this type of fear that leads to this wisdom? The type of fear that it is talking about is like standing quietly in an art gallery, not being loud, looking at a beautiful piece of art. It is awe, wonder, reverence and stillness.
In Job’s life, we see the principle that the fear of the Lord is especially poignant, important, and life changing when in the middle of suffering. Fear of the Lord is gained certainly through knowing his Word, but it is also gained in our experience of suffering.
The fear of the Lord is stillness before the Lord in suffering. Though we cannot see the pattern or purpose sometimes in our life’s events, God DOES see the pattern. It is like the 18 month old child getting shots at the doctors office. How do you fully explain to her look of betrayal on her face in her pain that this is for the protection and joy of her life? It is done out of pure love. The parents see the pattern behind the suffering, though the child does not. But there IS a pattern in our lives, and it is designed by God out of infinite love for us!
There is nothing like suffering that teaches us to know ourselves deeper, to know more of the timing and seasons of life, and to know more of the complexities of life.
We have something that Job and Solomon did not have: we see the wisdom of God unfolded on the cross in Christ. On the cross, the people told Jesus to come down if he was truly God, and what did he do? He stayed in stillness. He showed the ultimate fear of the Lord in suffering by being still.
We will never stay in stillness before God in our suffering until we see that Christ stood still on the cross in suffering FOR US and for our sins. May we use this matchless expression of love on our hearts for change! Holy Spirit, do this, please!
Remember 1 Cor 1:And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom…
So not only is all wisdom IN Christ, not only did he perfectly DISPLAY wisdom in the fear of God in complete stillness on the cross, but Christ has also been made MY wisdom! I can never be still enough in suffering like Christ was – but he was that perfect stillness before God for me! Now, because I have been made to be still before God perfectly IN CHRIST, I can make headway in daily stillness today!
In Deuteronomy 4, Moses is preparing the people to enter the promised land. He is giving them many reminders and much instruction as they enter. He says,
5 See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.
6 Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’
7 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him?
8 And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?
The truth of the scripture is that we do NOT obey perfectly and act wisely as vs 6 says. Not only does God give us wisdom how to live this life the way he built it, not only does that make him seem glorious for being seen as the God who is close to his people, but Christ obeys these rules perfectly, making this right living or wisdom ours through him! I think this is yet another sense in which Christ becomes our wisdom!
1 Cor 1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
As is wisdom, so the same is for righteousness. In deuteronomy 6 Moses says that if they obey the word of thenLord then it will be their righteousness in the land. Again, we know the punch line: they, like us, are unable to obey for righteousness. We need another’s. The powerful verse again in 1 Cor says that God makes Christ become that for us! This is great news!
Deut 6:20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the LORD our God has commanded you?’
21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.
22 And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes.
23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers.
24 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day.
25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.’
Praise God for His infinite wisdom!