One of the most avoided portions of the Bible is the wisdom literature of the Old Testament. These books: Job, Proverbs, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes, don’t contain gripping narratives like the historical books.
They don’t have prophets telling the future and condemning sinners. Proverbs contains short sayings and short parables on righteous living. The others contain a lot of Hebrew poetry and the meaning of their stories are heavily debated. Ecclesiastes and Job can be flat depressing. But God gave every book of the Bible to teach us (see 2 Tim. 3:16-17).
These wisdom books are to do just that, to teach us God’s wisdom. Human wisdom can do a lot, but, as Solomon states in Ecclesiastes, it can’t straighten the crooked or count what isn’t there. It can’t change reality. God’s wisdom, on the other hand, can do just that.
Wisdom keeps one out of trouble. Wisdom knows that the woman beckoning you to adultery leads only to the death of your marriage. Wisdom knows that a peaceful house is better than a rich house. However, wisdom doesn’t just stop with one person. It also knows what to say to friends to teach them. Like love, wisdom grows whenever it is shared.
Wisdom starts inside, but it shows itself in everything you do. Being merciful and sincere are two examples of godly wisdom. Making peace between two people is also a use of godly wisdom. On the other hand, selfishness and jealousy are two examples of being unwise. Causing ill will in other people also shows a lack of wisdom.
True wisdom comes from God, and is learned by spending time with Him. It makes one fall deeper in love with Jesus, for Jesus was God and showed wisdom in everything He did. God’s wisdom works against the earthly wisdom in our lives.
Earthly wisdom can do many things that make it appealing, but all its works are temporary. It can help you get ahead a little bit, but it can’t help you stay ahead. Earthly wisdom has limitations that God’s wisdom does not have. Earthly wisdom is only in the head while godly wisdom comes from the heart. Earthly wisdom is limited to things of this world and cannot help in the eternal kingdom.
Godly wisdom comes from fearing God and having an understanding of His holiness (see Prov. 9:10). It must be sought after on purpose and with sincerity. No one becomes wise accidentally. Likewise, no one becomes wise overnight.
One finds God’s wisdom through devoted prayer and Bible study. Every verse of Scripture holds a wealth of treasure for the seeking soul. Every problem that one faces has a solution in Scripture. Ecclesiastes says there is nothing new under the sun. The details may differ, but the core of the problem is covered. And while the details may differ, the solution is largely the same.
Note that both prayer and Bible study are needed. To read without asking the Spirit to guide you puts the words in the heart but does not help with applying them. Praying for guidance without also studying Scripture limits what the Spirit can bring back to your mind. God has given wisdom to people before, and to not read it closes off an avenue of learning.
Be assured, God blesses those who seek Him. He will grant wisdom to those who ask.
Frank Luke and his wife are associate pastors in Iowa. They both hold Master of Divinity degrees from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (Springfield, Mo.).
For the original article, visit men.ag.org.