God is Wise
There are times that I wonder if wisdom is not in short supply these days. Here are some actual letters from “Dear Abby”:
- “Dear Abby: A couple of women moved in across the hall from me. One is a middle-aged gym teacher and the other is a social worker in her mid-twenties. These two women go everywhere together and I’ve never seen a man go into their apartment or come out. Do you think they could be Lebanese?”
- “Dear Abby: I have a man I could never trust. Why, he cheats so much I’m not even sure this baby I’m carrying is his.”
- “Dear Abby: My forty-year-old son has been paying a psychiatrist $50 an hour every week for two-and-a-half years. He must be crazy.”
- “Dear Abby: My mother is mean and short-tempered. I think she is going through her mental pause.”
- “Dear Abby: I met this nice guy who was in the service. He’s the chief petting officer.”
We laugh, in part, because we know people who are about like the people who wrote these letters, who just aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed.
The same cannot be said of God. God is infinite in his wisdom and in his knowledge. This morning, we want to explore another one of God’s characteristics, his wisdom.
God is Wise
Throughout Scripture, we are presented with the picture of a God who is infinitely wise.
- “O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all” (Ps. 104:24).
- “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens” (Ps. 3:19).
- “Who would not fear thee, O King of the nations? For this is thy due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like thee” (Jer. 10:7).
- “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might” (Dan. 2:20).
- “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways” (Rom. 11:33).
- “To the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ!” (Rom. 16:27).
- “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:25).
God’s being wise has several implications, and we desire to study those implications this morning.
God Knows All Things
An ill-prepared college student was taking an economics exam just before Christmas vacation. He did not know a single answer on the exam, and he wrote on his paper: “Only God knows the answers to these questions. Merry Christmas!” The professor graded the papers and wrote the note: “God gets 100, you get 0. Happy New Year!”
The truth is: in God’s wisdom, God knows all things. “God is our LORD, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure” (Ps. 147:5). “Whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything (1 Jn. 3:20).
What does God’s knowing all things have to do with me and my life?
God’s knowing all things means that he knows everything about me.
“Even the hairs of your heard are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30). If God even knows how many hairs I have on my head, do you really think there’s something about me that God doesn’t know? Do you think that God doesn’t know what I like, what I don’t like, what concerns me, what pleases me, what makes me angry, and everything else there is to know about me?
Since God knows everything about me, he knows what sins I commit. “Your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:6). Jesus is speaking about going into a private place and praying in private. He’s point is the God will see our private devotion to him. Yet, if God sees my private devotion, will he not see my private sin as well? “Before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). We can hide our sin from every person on this planet, but no matter how hard we try we will never be able to hide our sins from God.
It is said that in antiquity when spiders stretched their webs across the eyes of Jupiter’s idol, the Greeks were more faithful in their temple worship. The people believed that the spiders’ web prevented Jupiter from seeing their sins, so they could come into his presence without fear of being punished. But, there is no spider that will cover the eyes of God. Are you harboring secret sin that no one knows about, save God?
Since God knows everything about me, he knows what I need to pray about. “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:8). What a comforting thought! Have you ever gone to God with a heavy heart, but the right words just can’t come out? Jesus says that God knows what we need before we ever go to him in prayer.
Since God knows everything, he knows the future as well as the past.
“This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23). “God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew” (Rom. 11:2).
Just because God foreknew his people does not mean that he predetermined them to be saved and other to be lost. For example, if I put chocolate cake in front of RJ, I know he’s not going to eat it; he doesn’t like chocolate. But, if I put a root beer float in front of him, he’ll gobble it down like there’s no tomorrow. I didn’t make him like one or the other, but I know that he does, so I know how he’ll respond. In his infinite wisdom, God knew how we would respond.
God Knows More than Man
A theological student once went to a well-known preacher. The student was deeply concerned that he could not grasp the meaning of certain verses in the Bible. The preacher replied, “Young man, allow me to give you this word of advice. Give the Lord credit for knowing things you don’t understand.”
We as humans like to be in control and to know everything – people want to think of themselves as smarter, as more learned than others. But, the truth is that God is far wiser than we, and he knows things we shall never know. “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:25).
Things man will never know:
The inner working of the universe.
I’ve been reading some of Stephen Hawking’s works. Hawking is the famed theoretical physicists, and he grapples with how this universe is – what time and space and matter all mean. Hawking is absolutely brilliant, but he’ll never come to understand this universe the way God does.
The problem of pain and suffering.
When we are in intense pain, we often ask the question, “God, why me?” We can look at the world around us and ask “Why?” “Why do children die from horrible diseases?” “Why do some wicked people go through this life untouched, and many good people have problem upon problem upon problem?” “Why do some people die in the prime of life, while others linger for years with Alzheimer’s or some other horrible disease?”
God tells us we’ll never understand the universe or the problem of suffering in his speech to Job. When Job was suffering so intently, he wanted God to appear to him because Job wanted to ask God some questions. When God does finally appear in a whirlwind, here’s what God says (Job 38:2-11). Do notice how God deals with the origins of the universe and suffering. He says man wasn’t here when the world was created; there are some things about Creation man just does not know. Since man can’t know the inner workings of the universe, man cannot understand the problem of pain and suffering.
Let us never think that we have all the answers, for God is far wiser than we!
Since God is All Wise, We Need to Seek His Wisdom
We are able to seek God’s wisdom through Scripture. “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built I house upon the rock” (Matt. 7:24). “From childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). Most translations say “are able to make you wise for salvation.”
Indeed, the Scriptures do make us quite wise. How else will we know what morality we ought to have? How else will we know what morality we ought to instill in our children? How else will we be comforted in life’s darkest hours? How else will we know how we can have eternal life? Let us study the Scriptures that we might know God’s wisdom!
We can also ask God for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him” (Js. 1:5). Who among us does not lack wisdom in some area of life? Let us not be so brazen as not to ask God for it. God, out of his wisdom, will bestow wisdom on us.
Human wisdom begins with an acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10). “Fear” means to honor, to reverence.
Are you honoring and reverencing God? Are you wise?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Alum Creek church of Christ in Alum Creek, West Virginia.