Knowing God, chapter 9: God only wise

In Scripture, wisdom is a moral as well as an intellectual quality. To be truly wise, one’s intelligence must be harnessed to a right end.

Human wisdom can be frustrated. God’s cannot, as it is allied to omnipotence. Infinite power ruled by infinite wisdom is a common description of the divine character (Job 9:4; Job 12:13; Isaiah 40:26, 28; Dan 2:20; Rom 16:25,27).

What is God’s goal in His wisdom? That man should love and honour Him; that we should please Him entirely and praise Him adequately.

* * *

Examples of God’s wisdom at work in the lives of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph:

  • Abraham was a man of little moral courage and he was overly concerned about his personal safety, which led him to compromise his wife’s chastity on two occasions. God in His wisdom concentrated on teaching Abraham how to look to God, and God alone, as Commander, Defender and Rewarder. (Gen 15:1; 17:1). Late in his life, he trusts God to the point of willingly offering Isaac.
  • Jacob was opportunistic and self-willed. He needed to learn how not to trust his own cleverness and how to depend on God. The main example of this was his experience with Laban. After fleeing from Laban’s, he wrestled with God. Only when he was weak and despairing, humble and dependent enough did God bless him.
  • Joseph, during his time as a slave and a prisoner was being taught to wait patiently on the Lord. We see the results of this when he finally meets his brothers and doesn’t retaliate.

* * *

God in His wisdom may place us in difficult conditions to strengthen us in patience, compassion, humility, meekness, etc. He may do it for our own personal sanctification or to prepare us for forms of service of which we’re not aware.

In order to meet those baffling and trying situations, we must ask ourselves what reactions the Bible requires of us; we also need to seek God’s face specifically for them. For example, Paul prayed thrice for his thorn in the flesh to be removed, and only after seeking Christ’s face was he able to see its purpose in his life.