Wisdom - The Path to Knowing God (Article 17-12)
I suspect at some point in your life, you've asked yourself, if I could have anything from God, what would it be? Some may say prosperity. Some may say a long life. Some may ask for God to protect their home and family. Some may ask to find true love and happiness. How do I suspect these are questions people may be asking for themselves? Because at different points of my life, I’ve asked for many of the same things. However, as I’ve spiritually matured, I’ve come to realize that what I should thirst for most is “wisdom” and not just any wisdom, but God’s wisdom. Why? Because I’ve learned through my life experiences and scripture studies that it is only through wisdom that I can truly know God’s heart. In the Book of Kings, we know that King David, the second ruler over Israel, was a "man after God’s own heart." He, like the Apostle John, was not only a man who loved God but a man who was “in love” with God. However, the man who truly knew how to seek out and find God’s heart was King Solomon: King David’s son; the third ruler of Israel; and the "wisest man that ever lived."
In the Book of Kings, God appeared to King Solomon in a dream and asked him, what would you like from me? (1 Kings 3:4). In response, the young Solomon said “…but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who can judge this great person of Yours?” (1 Kings 3:7-9). God was so pleased with Solomon’s request, that He gave him a “wise and understanding heart” (1 Kings 3:12). He then gave him “both, riches and honor” (1 Kings 3:13), and if Solomon obeyed His statutes and commandments, a long life too. It is by way of King Solomon teachings, in the Book of Proverbs, that we learned the importance of wisdom, understanding, obedience, sin, and iniquity, and who we are of God.
Wisdom - The Knowledge of Good and Evil Now, at this point, you may be asking how is it that God was very pleased with King Solomon’s request for knowledge of Good and Evil and yet when Adam ate from the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” he received a death sentence? The key difference is this. King Solomon asked for wisdom (the knowledge of good and evil) to exalt and glorify God, while Adam’s efforts to have the same knowledge was for self-exaltation. As I have emphasized in many of my study articles and bible study lectures, man’s greatest downfall and the “absolute” root of all evil, is pride. Pride is the absolute opposite of humility. Pride is a man’s inability or lack of desire to understand and accept who he is in relation to God and the fact that he needs God for all things. As believers, we know that evil takes root in man when he focuses on himself and his desires rather than on God and His will. On a deeper level, a prideful man considers himself independent or separate from God. It is pride that leads us to be self-serving, self-righteous, self-made, self-acting, self-actualized, self-believing, and selfish. It is with this prideful orientation man evaluates all experience only regarding his subjective sense of good. See, Adam ate of the “Tree of Good and Evil” with no intention of understanding God, but rather to be “a God”. It was about him, and the "self" within and not God. He did not “asked” of God, but instead, “took” from God. Solomon on the other hand, asked of God with the intention of not wanting to be a God, but rather, to exalt, glorify and better serve God. He presented himself with a “humble” and “meek” (see Article 17-16) heart. In the end, it was the difference between being selfish and selfless - two concepts opposed to each other, just as good opposes evil. Finally, and most importantly to note is that Solomon asked of God in faith.
Wisdom - Are We Asking the Right Questions? When James says, “If any of you lack wisdom,” he is not suggesting that some have it together so well that they do not need wisdom. In fact, we all lack wisdom when we face difficult trials. But, we don’t always see our need for God’s wisdom during our trials. Thus, when we ask for wisdom, we need to be clear in our mind and heart what we should be asking I fully understand that enduring trials with joy go against our nature. When trials hit, we’re all likely to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” But that is the wrong question to ask. The question to ask is “How can I understand this trial from God’s perspective?" "How can I navigate through this storm in such a way as to bring glory to God?" "How can this trial help me grow in spiritual maturity?” Above all, "How can I endure this trial in a manner to be closer and one with God?" It's also important to understand that wisdom is not only having God’s knowledge but having His "skill". God's skill enables us to live obediently before God in the midst of trials and the process, glorify Him.
Wisdom - Requires A Humble Heart. To come to God, we must humble ourselves and admit that we do not know what we need to know to live joyfully in the face of trials. In fact, the main reason that God sends trials is to humble us from our pride, so that we look to Him and become closer to Him. The Laodicean Church, fraught with a prideful congregation, thought that they were rich and had no needs, but God’s view was that they were “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17). So, a prerequisite to obtaining wisdom from God is to recognize our lack of wisdom. Christ emphasizes this point in his very first beatitude on the Sermon on the Mount. He says “blessed (happy)” are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3), meaning “blessed are the spiritually poor” – those who see their need for God in all things, thus acknowledging their lack of wisdom (knowledge and understanding). Paul contrasts the wisdom of this world with God’s wisdom when he sarcastically asks (1:20-21), “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
Wisdom - Impossible Without the Spirit of Christ The only path to obtain wisdom is by way of the Son – Jesus Christ. Our call is to hear (listen to) Christ (Matthew 17:5) and to abide in Him (and He in us) (John 15:4). It is only by these points that we can obtain His Spirit (the Spirit of Christ) – the Holy Spirit. Why is this important to understand and believe? Because it is only by way of the Holy Spirit we can obtain God's Wisdom. Scripture teaches us that the Holy Spirit is all knowing (omniscience) and knows everything about us, even those things that we are yet to understand. Psalm 139 attests to this point. In this Psalm, the Psalmist states in verses 1-6, that “You have searched…and know me.” You know when I sit…and rise”. “You know my thoughts.” “Before a word is on my tongue…you know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me". 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit searches for all things and that it knows all of God's thoughts. "The Holy Spirit constantly searches all things, thus giving Him divine wisdom. “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. In the same way, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” (1 Corinthians 2:10-12). The Holy Spirit also teaches us about God and His plan for the future. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own… and he will tell you what is yet to come". Also, know that the Holy Spirit is everywhere and there is no place one can go to escape the Spirit’s presence (omnipresence). “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I go to flee your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:7-10). No matter where we may desire to flee, we cannot escape the Holy Spirit’s (the Spirit of Christ) presence. We can look to the north and the south, and to the East and the West, He is there. We can listen to the heavens, and the depths of hell and the Holy Spirit is present. There is no space we can occupy that the Holy Spirit is not already occupying. Therefore, no knowledge evades the Holy Spirit's eyes.
Finally, know that our faith saves us, and it is of faith we should (as King Solomon did) ask of our Lord and Savior for wisdom. Wisdom can only be obtained this way.