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The Beginning Of Wisdom
© 01.24.22 By David Eric Williams

This article appeared in the January 27th edition of the Cottonwood Chronicle

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:24).

Many Christians believe biblical wisdom is about "spiritual" things and nothing more. Some have even fallen into the trap of defining wisdom the same way as the ungodly; an exercise in irrationality. For the worldling, "spiritual" wisdom often amounts to nonsense. I remember back in the mid-1970s when Eastern mysticism and "New Age" thinking was all the rage in the United States. People would spend hours contemplating "the sound of one hand clapping." But that isn't wisdom, it is utter foolishness and violates the most basic principles of wisdom. I have not seen anything in modern culture to make me believe a worldly definition wisdom has moved beyond that point.

The fact is, godly wisdom is very practical and provides guidance in all areas of life – not just the vaguely defined "spiritual."

For instance, God said of Bezalel, I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. He is a master craftsman, expert in working with gold, silver, and bronze. He is skilled in engraving and mounting gemstones and in carving wood. He is a mas-ter at every craft! (Exodus 31:3-5).

According to the Bible, Solomon is the wisest man who ever lived. Yet the only direct example of his wisdom is the story of the two prostitutes arguing over a child. That was not a "spiritual" situation as most modern Christians would define it and the tactic Solomon used wasn't either.

Abigail, originally married to Nabal and later to David, is described as beautiful and wise. She exemplified her wisdom by averting disaster when she intercepted and placated David and his raiding party before they could wreak havoc on Nabal's household.

The wise woman from Abel of Beth Maachah advised the people of the city to execute the rebel Sheba, cut off his head and throw it over the wall so Joab would withdraw from the city. I suppose the "spiritual" part of her wisdom is in sending Sheba's soul to eternity.

Jesus said the person who builds his life on his teaching is wise. He said this at the end of what we call the "sermon on the mount." In the sermon, Jesus makes no distinction between the spiritual and the practical aspects of his teaching. That's because all of life should be lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. That doesn't make Jesus' teaching any less real-world; it means the kingdom of God is comprehensive in its reach. Therefore, we demonstrate wisdom in our cultural influence, our understanding of God's law, control of our emotions, properly ordering our thoughts and sexual desire and so on.

So, the person saturated with the word of God is able to develop wisdom concerning every aspect of life. Biblical wisdom guides us in relationships, personal behavior, Christian witness and discernment. It empowers the financier, handyman, father, mother, employee or employer, political activist, lawmaker, judge and so on. Godly wisdom is comprehensive, "enabling us to live intelligently and honestly to the glory of God" in the advance of Christ's rule.

As a result, the Bible formed and informed intellect can spot subterfuge in the plans of the ungodly. Indeed, he who is spiritual judges all things (1 Corinthians 2:15a). Hence, along with the discernment of lies the biblically wise person is able to chart an alternate, truthful course.

We will return to this topic in a couple weeks.

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