Pr Edi Giudetti
Such a vast and wonderful topic is the topic of wisdom. We search for a definition of it in the scriptures and we find, to our astonishment, that the value of wisdom is better than rubies, and more, thatall the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it(Pr 8:11).
In fact that very passage tells us that the words of Gods mouth are they which speak truth, that seeking for the knowledge of it is greater than even the “choice Gold and silver” (Pr 8:6-10).
The bible tells us that if there is anything worth pursuing on earth, wisdom is the principal thing, the singular most valuable thing!
Prov 4:7 says
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Nothing can take the place of wisdom for a life lived in genuine blessing and hope.
If you are searching for wisdom, you are in fact already attaining it, for only the wise seek after wisdom! (Prov 9:8, 13:1).
We think that’s strange, but it’s the recognition that you don’t have wisdom that is the seed of wisdom. Beloved, how much can you teach someone who knows it all?
For the secular world, the wisest man who ever lived is thought to be Socrates, yet he said scio me nescire, (I know that I Know nothing)
(They say if you can quote Latin it makes you look like you know something)
Our passage in James 1:5 begins “if any of you lack wisdom let him ask”, clearly only those who know they lack wisdom will ask for wisdom.
- If you don’t know that you don’t know, you won’t ever learn to know.
- Its only when you know that you don’t know that you will ever come to know.
The Bible speaks of it as the source of wealth and provision (Prov 10:5).
The Bible speaks of it as the source of understanding, in fact, Wisdom and Understanding are written of so often together, one would get the impression that they are synonymous terms.
The Bible speaks of wisdom as that gift beneficial to those without it. (Prov 25:12)
Exodus speaks of it as that source provided to certain men for a diverse amount of works such as;
The consecrated garments of the priests of the Lord (Exo 28:3)
The workmanship of cunning works made of Gold and silver and Brass, cutting of stones, the carving of timber and the making of diverse furniture (Exo 31:1-7)
Job notes a form of ‘Wisdom’as that which is identified as ‘instinct’ in animals. A wisdom that is naturally (ie God given) ingrained in some, but interestingly withheld by God in others.
Turn to Job 39:13-17
13Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? 14 Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, 15 And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. 16 She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers: her labour is in vain without fear; 17 Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding.
We marvel at times how animals can do an achieve certain things having never learned them, its not because they are human like, it is because they have the wisdom of God built into to them to perform such tasks.
People often ask what is one key distinction between Animals and Man, there is certainly a distinction, one that is known by the word “Displacement”, they do not have the ability to communicate yesterday nor speak of tomorrow. All animals are “in the now”, the decisions they make are present based.
THE GREATEST DISTINCTION
But probably the greatest distinction we have in scripture respecting wisdom is that which is of God and that which is of the world.
It is this difference that needs to be understood carefully, it is this difference which determines that which is beneficial and that which is harmful.
There is WISDOM that benefits, and there is a WISDOM that harms.
Turn to Genesis 3:1-6
The first place in the Bible where, the wisdom sought by the world, has led to the worst possible outcome for the world. It is found unsurprisingly in the historical passage of the fall of man.
1Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Beloved, it was not the wisdom of God that led Adam or Eve to disobey God, to take of the fruit the Lord their God had specifically instructed should not be partaken of.
It was the desire of a wisdom that was forbidden by God, a wisdom not beneficial, a wisdom harmful, a wisdom that desired SELF DETERMINATION, to know good and evil and the freedom to choose which was which.
Simply put, The fall of mankind was precipitated by the desire for the wrong wisdom.
Now, as a live anecdote and example sits before you this morning, discern; was it the wisdom of God that led me to purchase a powerful motorcycle and to go on a journey which would see me break my leg and cause many to fear for my life and safety?
Or was it the wisdom of the flesh, a wisdom of this world, a wisdom that would justify and rationalize itself contrary to the purpose and will of God?
I tell you without wavering it was the latter.
And I am equally certain that you all knew which wisdom brought it about before I did.
In fact, many of us can discern the poor wisdom of others well before we discern the poor wisdom within ourselves; and that’s what we are talking about.
THE WISDOM WE PRAY FOR IS GODS WISDOM, that we discern for ourselves that which is beneficial as opposed to that which is harmful.
If I had a greater care to listen to the Lord speaking in my SOUL, rather than listening to the lust that was governing my HEART, if I had sought for and harkened to Gods wisdom rather than justifying my own, many things would be different today.
Some of you might say, “well if that happened you would not have such a good illustration for your sermon today”, let’s take care before we are willing to justify any sin! Let’s not deceive ourselves by the wisdom of this world.
Turn to 1 Cor 3:18-19
18Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
For this sermon let’s be clear, the wisdom we are praying for is not the wisdom of the world, but the wisdom that comes from God.
We are not looking for harmful wisdom, we are looking for that which is beneficial.
IS YES ARTICULATED FOR WISDOM?
Is there a clear passage in the Bible where it is stated that the wisdom God gives to man is answered in the affirmative to those who ask him?
In other words, IS YES ARTICULATED FOR the beneficial WISDOM given by God?
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Clearly the answer to our question is again YES. God says YES to those who ask for wisdom.
Simply, when we ask God for wisdom, he does not upbraid us, he doesn’t scold us or chastise us for asking it, we won’t be reproached by him for it, but it shall be given him.
It is the one thing God desires man to have.
Had man desired the Holy wisdom of God, rather than the carnal wisdom of the tree, he would never have been in the predicament he is today.
The ‘Tree of Life’ charm many adorn their necks and bracelets with today, is in fact the tree from which sprang death.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
When the Lord says YES, who are we to question it?
There are many who believe that unless the Lord repeats himself, he is under no obligation to perform that which he plainly stated. They sight the ‘in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established’ of Matthew 18.
They use Jesus frequent employment of ‘Verily, verily’ to affirm the notion. They sometimes give the impression that if it appears in all the Gospel accounts then it is even more true that if it appeared only once.
Jesus said “let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Mt 5:7)
Matter of fact, you are in the book of James, turn to chapter 5:12
12But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
Our Lord is instructing simply that his word is yea and amen, he does not need to repeat himself in order for you to believe it.
He told Adam only once not to eat of the forbidden fruit, we have nothing to say he placarded the tree with hazard tape, sirens, or any angel guarding its path.
No, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to allmenliberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering…
Turn to Matthew 7:7, Matthew 7:7, the seventh verse of the seventh chapter of Matthew. Matthew 7:7. Which passage?
That’s right, Matthew 7:7.
You laugh, but I’ll bet you remember the verse!
7Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Is the wisdom of God a good thing?
YES, is articulated in scripture to all those who ask for Wisdom!
IS YES ACCOMBLISHABLE FOR WISDOM?
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
There is a clear assumption in the passage that if God is the one petitioned, and if he is the one who is the source of all wisdom, and he giveth to all men liberally, he can accomplish it.
Beloved before we can answer this question properly we need to recall that both the mind and the heart of man has been affected by the fall.
Jeremiah tells us that “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” (Jer 17:9)
The Psalmist tells us on a couple of occasions that “The fool has said in his heart there is no God” (Ps 14:1 & 53:1)
The deception of the mind first occurs within the heart.
Now I don’t know if the physical heart of man is cognitive. I’m not sure if the Bible refers to the physical heart, that beats within the chest of every person is the heart it refers to; but it certainly is described in scripture as the source through which, God intends we understand, that all the desires of men stem.
Our hearts can be hardened, (Mark 6:52 + another 71 references) it can be softened (Job 23:16), it can be enlightened (2 Cor 4:6), and it can be darkened (Rom 1:21).
Many are described in the Bible as having a Heart of stone (Job 41:24), only to be replaced eventually with a heart of flesh. (Ezek 11:19).
It is this heart that first needs to be changed BEFORE the mind can gain understanding, we will talk more to this in the last point. But God is the creator of both the heart of man and the mind of Man, he knows not only how it all perfectly functions but he also knows how to restore it.
Beloved, God know precisely what has corrupted both the heart and the mind of man.
We often pray for people who are ill, those who are in the hands of the physicians. One of the most important things we pray for is that there is a proper diagnosis of the ailment.
While I was being discharged from the Hospital in Launceston, I sat next to a lovely older lady who was being admitted and was awaiting a bed. The greatest trial she had was that she did not know what was wrong with her. Another young man who was admitted into the same room as I was, had severe stomach problems that had seen him admitted in the early hours of the morning, he too did not know what the problem was….but nor did the doctors who are employed to heal him.
Beloved, when a physician cannot diagnose a problem, he simply cannot employ any of his resources to fix it. In fact, the wrong diagnosis could employ resources that might exacerbate the problem, they could give you medicine that kills you rather than fixes you.
BUT GOD KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT THE PROBLEM OF YOUR HEART AND MIND IS, and he knows exactly what is needed to have it functioning perfectly.
The primary tool God has given us is not hidden, in fact its right before our eyes. The wisdom that we seek has been given us and we hold it in our very laps this morning.
It is the Bible.
The wisdom of a single verse in the Bible is greater than all the accumulated postulations of man put together. There is simply no resource on Earth that can compare to the transformative power of the word of God.
Each and Every week I give you a brand new quote in our weekly Newsletter, given by men who have witnessed the incalculable worth of the Bible. From peasants and tinkers to Presidents and Thinkers, all have their view and it will be years before I exhaust the number of quotations I have from men who have revered this book.
Psalm 119:99 says I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
Turn to Isaiah 55:8-11
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
You see how scripture is given as a synonymous representation the rain that waters and nourishes and sustains all the earth? Just so is the word of God.
Now turn beloved to 2 Timothy 3:15-17
15And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Tell me, according to verse 17, what is the potential ability of the scriptures for man?
Will shall never attain to perfection this side of eternity, not while the “flesh lusteth agains the spirit and the spirit against the flesh” Gal 5:17, but don’t you dare belittle the power of the Bible to change and even perfect a man.
YES: Wisdom is accomplishable when our lack has been perfectly diagnosed by the great physician, and the solution provided for us to voluntarily partake.
If you lack wisdom even to understand the scriptures, ASK.
Please beloved, don’t forget that your pastor did not finish school, did many things to negatively affect the mind, has no formal training nor qualification. Any wisdom that can ever be attributed to me is from this wonderful book and my constant petitions to the Lord…..clearly also….I’m not perfected in wisdom yet!
IS YES ANTICIPATED FOR WISDOM?
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him
The reservoir from which God draws Wisdom is infinitely deep. This is why he giveth to all men liberally, There is no limit to the wisdom of God and there is no limit from which may draw, there also we see no limit form which he may give to those who ask him.
Do you not desire wisdom?
If you knew from whence it came, if you knew its value and its efficacy, if you knew all that even the sweet Psalmist of Israel knew concerning it, what you not seek for it as for hid treasure?
But beloved both the treasure and the one who will lead us to it, is readily at hand.
Turn to 2 Chron 1:9-12
9Now, O LORD God, let thy promise unto David my father be established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. 10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can judge this thy people, that is so great? 11 And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king: 12 Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.
Consider from whom it is that King Solomon petitions for wisdom. Was he granted it? And so much more came with it. But his heart was to lead the people of the Lord and for that he needed the wisdom of the Lord.
We can anticipate wisdom being given is both by the explicit affirmations in scripture and by the examples of having garnished those who sought it with an abundance of it.
Now turn with me to how the King who has been granted the greatest wisdom of all Kings, and see how he instructs his own son as to its value; Turn to Proverbs Chapter 2
1My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. 8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. 9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
There is a first indicator both of a fool and of a wise man in the Bible. And it all stems around one certain point.
There is a beginning to wisdom, and it is this same beginning that marks a fool. Do you know what that is?
4If thou seekest her (Who is ‘her’?) as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5Then (Then is here both used as a conjunction, linking one thought to another, but it is also used as an adverb, something that stems from the other) shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
4If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
Wisdom begins when we accept that the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth his handiwork, when we can clearly see that the “invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, being UNDERSTOOD by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” Rom 1:20
Romans 1:20 is the most damning of all passages to the ‘fool who has said in his heart there is no God’
IN SHORT, Wisdom begins when we accept that which is self evident concerning God. That which identifies the beginning of wisdom, is the fear of the Lord. (Ps 111:10, Prov 1:7, Prov 9:10)
You recall our passage in Isaiah 55, verse six says simply;
6Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near;
Turn to Jeremiah 29:12-13 as we witness a people who have turned away from the Lord their God, listen to what God says concerning his willingness to be found of them….and by extension, to be found of you.
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart
YES, if you have accepted the reality of God, you can anticipate wisdom to be given you, he will here you and you noticed the ‘if’ in the Jeremiah passage which carries us through to the last point.
IS THERE A COST FOR WISDOM?
God is not like the men of this world to whom large fees are paid for their knowledge.
Men like Anthony Robbins who charge upwards of $10,000 per hour for a personal consultation.
Friends I spent thousands and thousands of dollars in years gone by chasing one learned man after another for the wisdom of the things that perish. My desire for wealth had me consume reasonable amounts of it on seminars, books, tapes (yes, a tape is a plastic container in two parts that has a small film strip running between two small wheels. The strip runs over the headof an item called “A cassette player”, its sound amplified and projected through a speaker…Generally Cassette tapes where up to 90 minutes long and had the advance technology of having two sides, so 3hrs of recording on ONLY one tape).
Anyway, I spent a small fortune trying to gain the wisdom of this world from the men of this world. Lots of money to gain harmful wisdom, that is, a wisdom that may have seen me enjoy this worlds goods, to the cost of eternity.
The passages we have read make clear to us that the first evidence of a wise heart is one who has a fear of God. Those who do not fear the Lord, I am talking both of the terror type of fear as well as the honor and highest respect fear, are fools.
If there is a cost to earthly wisdom, a price charged by many who profess to have it, should there noit be a cost to heavenly wisdom?
Yes, and it is imbedded in the passage we have been utilizing throughout the message this morning; turn back with me to James 1:5
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to al men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
5 If any of you lack wisdom
The first part of verse five assumes you are aware of your lack of wisdom. Most people are generally “wise in their own eyes”, they are anything but aware that they lack wisdom.
If you are wise in your own eyes, my friend you simply have no hope of wisdom;
Proverbs 26:12 says “12 Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there ismore hope of a fool than of him.”
Verse 16 of the same Proverb says; “The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.”
Don’t be lazy in spending time to identify yourself of whether or not you lack wisdom.
Its not until you are willing to see it yourself, that you search for it.
You recall our passage in the first point of the sermon, 1 Cor 3:18
18Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
It is this heart that first needs to be changed BEFORE the mind can gain understanding, man naturally deceives himself and does so through his own desires.
All people are in like manner, there must be a submission of our will and our false wisdom to that of the Lord.
The first wisdom we need is that which makes us “wise unto salvation” that 2 Tim 3:15.
It is believing God at his word, that apart from Christ you are dead in sin and without hope or God in the world.
The greatest wisdom you can first attain is that which brings salvation, and that wisdom my dear friends is simply gained by faith.
That first obstacle bridged, there is no end that I can see in scripture as the level of wisdom you can attain.
But know this, that the way you gained hope in heaven will be the same way you gain the wisdom of heaven….HUMILITY.
ABANDON YOUR OWN WISDOM, ACCEPT HIS ALONE AND WITHOUT ADMIXTURE.