At the beginning of each year I pick a theme to observe and mark in reading through the Bible. In 2010 the theme was wisdom along with the nineteen base words key to examining this topic: wise, teach, instruct, advise, know, learn, understand, counsel, reveal, discern, insight, intelligence, guide, sense, mature, inform, perceive, realize, and revelation.
Psalm 111:10—The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His instructions have good insight. His praise endures forever.
There are two kinds of wisdom, secular and spiritual. The World English Dictionary defines secular wisdom as “the ability . . . to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.” We might define spiritual wisdom as simply knowing and following God! Whereas secular wisdom is dependent upon our effort and ability, spiritual wisdom comes through full dependence upon God.
This week, my son Bryan’s entry card to his worksite malfunctioned. He went to the man responsible for fixing it but instead of making an on-the-spot repair, he told Bryan to take the card to his supervisor and have her deliver it. His decision wasted time, showed disregard for Bryan, and caused further embarrassment to Bryan’s supervisor who was ashamed by the action of her boss. Secular wisdom might suggest my son look for another job, avoid approaching poor leaders, or stand up for his rights. Spiritual wisdom calls him to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths” (Proverbs 3:5,6).
Whenever the Bible repeats a proposition multiple times—we would do well to listen. At least five times (Psa. 111:10, Pro. 1:7, 2:5, 9:10, 15:33) Scripture emphasizes that wisdom begins with fearing God! By respecting God, we gain His willingness to teach us. For example, this summer I was asked with very little advance notice, to speak to a group of college educators who traveled from across the country to observe their students training at Fort Lewis. It was an intimidating assignment. I had no idea what to say to them! So I asked several key friends to pray for me and approached God from a position of humility, recognizing my need for His help. The Lord gave me ideas that enabled me to connect on far more than just an academic level—the speech became a spiritual event where God ministered to people listening who were deeply hurting.
Where do you get your instructions for living? Secular wisdom is aptly described by the Dutch poet, Piet Hein who wrote, “The road to wisdom?—Well, it's plain and simple to express: Err and err and err again but less and less and less.” This gives us a monocled view, and we should not be surprised if miserable, bored, unfulfilled, and frustrated seep into our psyche before we are dead. Fear God and obey His plan and love Him with the right attitude and suddenly wisdom thrills us like viewing objects through a kaleidoscope!
O Lord, may we keep Your instructions and may You make us wise!
©2010 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)