May 22, 2016
Text: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
WisdomCongratulation Alex! Today we celebrate your graduation from high school. I’m sure you willhear the question more than you care to hear- what are your plans? It is a good question for all ofus to consider- not only graduates from school, but all of us- for we are all learning- allcelebrating milestones in life. What does God have planned for me now? “We are hisworkmanship” Paul wrote- “created for his glory- which he has planned for us that we shouldwalk in them.” Even for those of us who want to follow, and walk in His plans- it takes wisdomto know what to say and what to do. PrayI remember when I was about 4th grade or so- a sales man came to our house selling world book encyclopedias. Remember encyclopedias? As I remember it- he put a guilt trip on them if they chose not to buy it as it would hinder my chances of getting into college. Of course they wantedto give me and my brother and sister every chance they could for us to succeed and so theybought them- no small purchase at the time.From then on, if I ever had a question- my mom- always a teacher- would tell me to look it up inthe World Book and find the answer myself. I later learned that easy answers do little to teach. Itis in the struggle of the search that we learn more than just simple facts.The writer of Proverbs this morning tells us that everywhere we go- in everything we do-wisdom is calling us to deeper understanding. Even before creation, before there was humanknowledge, wisdom was there. If that is true, then wisdom cannot come from humanunderstanding or knowledge can it?Knowledge is good- and we should seek it- but knowledge is not wisdom.One day, as Solomon began his rule as king over Israel, perhaps a little anxious- Solomon wasprobably one of the most educated man in all Israel- and yet he confessed that he didn’t knowhow to govern. And so he asked God to give him an understanding mind to govern so that hewould know the difference between good and evil.”God answered: “I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been beforeyou and none like you shall rise after you.” And then in addition, God gave him riches and poweralso.As a result, Solomon became one of the most powerful kings in all history. His riches were theenvy of other nations. And yet he is known not for his power- but for his wisdom- a gift from
God. Power can corrupt a person with pride and giving glory to oneself. But with wisdom comeshumbleness.The Psalmist wrote of the glory of God, not himself saying: “O Lord how majestic is your namein all the earth! Your glory is chanted above the heavens.”Knowledge has to do with the mind- but wisdom has to do with the heart. We can know all thefacts about God that were ever written, but not have wisdom. The bible tells us that the fear ofthe Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” To fear God means to turn our hearts to God and worshipHim- and when we turn to God with a discerning heart- we realizing our need for a savior- andour need to repent before an all -powerful, mighty king of kings- a holy and righteous Godwhose heart is full of grace and mercy for us. To know God in that way is the beginning ofwisdom and changes the way we understand things that happen to us in life.Writing to the Romans, Paul said some things that can only be understood with a discerningheart. He begins with stating what God has done for us-that He has justified us through JesusChrist through faith – and because of that- we have peace and can boast in our hope of sharingthe glory of God.Isn’t that good news? Who wouldn’t get excited about the hope of sharing the glory of God?Most people would like to stop there- but Paul doesn’t and goes on to say: “but- we can alsoboast in our suffering!” Really? How is that? “because with a discerning heart from God- weknow that suffering is not the end of the story- but that suffering produces endurance, andendurance produces character, and character produces hope- and hope does not disappoint us-because we know that God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (whogives us understanding) that has been given to us.James said this about wisdom: “wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open toreason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity.” Wisdom bringshumbleness, not pride- and humbleness results in worship to God and a heart that worships Godwill change and transform us.It gives us a different perspective of the things we have and experience in life- what is eternallyimportant and what may seem important at the moment but is soon forgotten. Wisdomunderstands what true success and hope is.Wouldn’t it be great if we were all wise like that? You know what? It’s God’s desire that we allbe wise like that. James tells us: “does anyone lack wisdom? Let him ask God, who gives to allmen generously and without reproaching, and it will be given to him.”The older we get, after years of walking with God and trusting Him, God teaches us wisdom. Butwisdom is not just for the old. Job wrote this: “It is not only the old who are wise, not only theaged who understand what is right-but it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, thatmakes him understand.” It is not just the old that are wise, but hearts that seek God, no matterwhat age.
There are many things in life that we don’t understand. But we can have the assurance of God’slove for us- a love that sent His son, Jesus Christ to die for us while we were yet sinners. Paul,writing to the Corinthians said that the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, butto us who are being saved, it is the power of God. Christ is the power of God and the wisdom ofGod.May God give you a discerning heart to be able to give God glory in all we do- and may God’speace be with you. In the name of the one who is the power and wisdom of God- Jesus Christ oursavior and Lord. Amen