In our country’s current climate, there is seemingly no end to opinions and recommendations, but where is wisdom? If the world pandemic is to be resolved through science and a vaccine, then why are cases increasing unabated? Added to that is the attempt to quiet racial tensions with a combination of reparations, new laws, and eliminating or hogtying the enforcement arm of the law…(this doesn’t even make sense). Man appears to be determined to find answers apart from seeking God, Who, “founded the world by His wisdom and stretched out the heavens by His understanding.” (Jeremiah 10:12)
Solomon, the wisest person in history, recorded: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) Ironically, Solomon forsook this instruction to the detriment of the nation of Israel and his own son. We have the advantage of history to know how honoring God resulted in peace and prosperity, but disobeying Him ushered in the evil that tore the nation apart on multiple fronts. It would appear that instead of learning from history, we are repeating it.
Because the Israelites went their own way in lieu of seeking God’s wisdom, they eventually lost everything and were exiled to a foreign country. Even after God’s grace enabled their miraculous return to their homeland, they were ruled by foreigners well into the 20th Century – more than 2,500 years. In all His teachings, Jesus demonstrated heavenly wisdom. He summed up the entire law with these words: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)
Many of us Christ-followers are so familiar with those words that we don’t take to heart their enormity. We give ourselves a pass on adherence, assuming that our belief in Jesus somehow automatically puts us in compliance. In actuality, that position is prideful and arrogant; it takes our salvation for granted, minimizing the HUGE price Jesus paid. It sadly accentuates the dissonance between what we say we believe, and our behavior.
James, half-brother of Jesus, observed this same lack of understanding in the early church, and gave important instruction. “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17) It is vital to note that heavenly wisdom cannot be mixed with human reasoning or worldly wisdom and still be pure. (Could this be one of our nation’s stumbling blocks?) The rest of the passage surprisingly outlines wisdom with instructions for the way we should treat others…a very convicting checklist.
This list would be daunting if the Lord expected us to just buck up and do it. But He gave James more instruction to pass along. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5) This is so simple, but not easy for self-sufficient man. We must humble ourselves before the Lord, acknowledging our need of Him. Then we must ask His forgiveness for our pride, and trust that the God of ALL Wisdom and Understanding has the answers. This is prayer from Christ-followers that pleases the heart of God. Things change when God Almighty decrees change and releases His Wisdom. I’m certain the Lord’s great compassion desires our turning sooner, rather than later.