Jonathan Rockey

Let me speak the straight truth. God has wisdom for living. The Lord gives wisdom in His guidance, or His law. But, He also gives wisdom in his love and forgiveness, specifically in the person of Jesus. For those who seek and follow our Lord and His wisdom, there are blessings for this life, and eternally. But, for those who foolishly reject the wisdom of God, life difficulties and challenges increase, brought on by sinful and rebellious behavior. What saddens me is that, more and more, I see people turning from the wisdom of God. That’s the bottom line, so if you desire you may stop reading here. But, if you want the rest of the story, please read below.

Last week I was traveling with a group of people when one man in our group made a statement about the value of work for life. But, after he had spoken, the same man then quickly corrected himself, “I should not have said that. Some would be offended.” Another man spoke up quickly in response, however. “But, what you said is the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts.” The truth is that our Lord gives wisdom for living, wisdom which blesses life in this world and the next.

In my daily devotions, my Old Testament readings currently come from the book of Proverbs. Please consider just a few of the words of wisdom which our Lord inspired King Solomon to write. In Proverbs 8 Solomon taught, “1 Does not wisdom call, does not understanding raise her voice? . . . ‘34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. 35 For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD. 36 But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death.’” (Proverbs 8:1, 34-36) Wise living brings God’s favor and blessings to our lives in this world. Additionally, wisdom brings us life, and not just life in this world.

Among the ways of wisdom taught by God in the book of Proverbs is instruction in such areas of life as when to speak and when to be silent. In this book God encourages His children to work diligently, and He warns against sexual promiscuity. Proverbs teaches wisdom for leadership, wisdom concerning finances, and wisdom for relationships. Perhaps you have looked for guidance for your life in one of these areas. God provides the guidance we crave in His Word.

However, the second man in my group was correct. Some people do not like the truth. Some do not like the wisdom of God. Listen to the warning of Proverbs 9: 8 “Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.” Some people simply refuse to hear the truth of God, and can even respond in anger or violence. Nevertheless, that refusal to hear our Lord’s word does not change the fact that God’s truth is wisdom.

Proverbs 9 teaches even more deeply. “10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. 12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.” (Proverbs 9:10-12) (See also Proverbs 10:27, 14:27, 15:23) The best translation I can give for the phrase, “the fear of the Lord,” is “faith.” Some get caught up in the word “fear.” But, faith not only trusts God’s saving love, it also know the Lord as the all-powerful Creator and Judge. The Creator of all knows the best way to live. The fact that God is Creator and the Judge to whom we must answer means that He deserves our fear, our awe and our respect. The fact that God is Creator and the Judge to whom we must answer, then makes His love and forgiveness amazingly good news of grace. Unfortunately, when people miss the wisdom of God’s guidance for life, if we miss that guidance, we have strayed from the ways of wisdom, then we often also miss the good news of God’s forgiveness.

In response to these teachings of the Old Testament, the New Testament teaches that Jesus is God’s ultimate wisdom. Paul writes, “23. . . we preach Christ crucified: . . . Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:23-24) Amazingly, the cross of Jesus and His crucifixion is wisdom from God. That is because our foolishness leaves us helpless in the consequences of our sin. But Jesus’ sacrifice brings life. Actually, Jesus teaches the truth about wisdom and faith most simply, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) In other words, Jesus is the wisdom and the truth of God for our lives. And remember, if you desire God’s blessings in your life, God’s wisdom, found in Jesus, brings such grace.

The bottom line is this. God’s ways of guidance and grace, His law and His forgiveness, are THE way of wisdom for life in this world. Following the wisdom of God’s law protects us and brings blessings and life. Ignoring God’s wise guidance brings trouble and calamity. Yet, God knows the foolishness of our hearts. Our Lord knows we stray from the wisdom of His ways. So He not only gives guidance, He also provides forgiveness through the wisdom of faith in Jesus. Therefore, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

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