A Perpetual Craving
Wisdom: What Is It . . . and How to Possess it!
(This post takes about 3.5 minutes to read)
I generally don’t link one blog post to the premise of another, but I will this time. My last post, By Faith, establishes the unproven “reality” of God’s hand in the Marvel of the Sunrise. If we don’t start there, not much else that follows will make any sense.
I mention that because in Scripture, God the Creator is credited with “wisdom” in his conception of the universe. “By wisdom, the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place” (Prov 3:19). And in the last few weeks we’ve gained a crazy new perspective on the vast expanse of the cosmos. Scientists tell us that they’ve photographed a black hole in space that is 55 million light years away in the Messier 87 galaxy. Wow! That’s an incomprehensible distance given that light travels at 186,00 miles per second. So, if you extrapolate that math to the distance light travels in 55 million years . . . well, you’re contemplating a VAST cosmic creation. Our sun and galaxy are not even a pinhead on it!
Back to another perspective on wisdom. J.I. Packer, in his book Knowing God, captures the most commanding definition of wisdom I’ve ever encountered. “Wisdom is the power to see and the inclination to choose, the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it.” I don’t know a single soul, who if offered the gift of Packer’s proposition, would decline it! Just think of the power of its perfect application in family squabbles, work dilemmas, and the counsel we’d love to offer our kids in their trials.
But the gift of Packer’s definition is nearly impossible to humanly grasp—because a faultless power to see, a perfect inclination to choose, and the certainty to link the highest and best goal to the surest means of attaining it—is almost always beyond our reach. It’s not, however, beyond the reach of our Creator’s mind, although we can ultimately bungle God’s hand-off in the implementation due to our finite human capacity.
So, the real question and challenge is not to just understand or even memorize the loftiness of Packer’s definition, but from a human perspective to ask, “How do I possess wisdom?” This should drive us to the source of wisdom, so that we can store it up, like bees do with honey in a comb . . . and then extract it when we desperately need it like bees do in the winter when food is scarce.
Proverbs 10:10 tells us that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. That’s not a shy-away fear from the likes of a threatening copperhead in your pathway, but rather an awe-inspired fear and respect when you’re standing in the counsel of a Holy God. Proverbs goes on to say that knowledge of the Holy One is the prerequisite to deep and God-inspired understanding. Solomon had a penchant for wisdom and understanding. “Get wisdom, get understanding [of the ways of the Holy One] . . . Do not forsake wisdom and she will protect you: love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme, therefore get wisdom . Though it cost all you have, get understanding” (Prov. 4:5-7).
My Bible Study Fellowship notes for this week tell me that wisdom is a treasure that comes only from God. It elevates conversation, guides choices, and governs our daily behavior. Without it, our lives are vulnerable to a flood of misdirection and corruption that seems to be everywhere we turn. Will you ask God to give you a perpetual craving to know him and his ways better? Will you ask him to grow your faith in him? Will you trust him to transform feisty attitudes and behaviors? Will you pray for wisdom?
Yes, we’re all made in God’s image, and he’s given us the intellectual capacity to make smart decisions. But deep, life transforming wisdom comes only from fear of the Lord and knowledge of the Holy One.[i]
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
[i] Bible Study Fellowship. The People of the Promised Land. Proverbs: A Call to Wisdom. Lesson 25 Notes.