God Gives Wisdom – Hope 103.2

God Gives Wisdom

By Chris WittsSunday 13 Aug 2017Morning Devotions with Chris Witts

I don’t know if you ever saw a program on TV about ‘slalom skiing’. You may not know what I’m talking about, but it’s an experience to watch on TV with blind skiers being trained for skiing. Impossible as it may seem, visually-impaired athletes can and do take part in the Winter Olympics.

They train with sighted skiers as pairs, and as they ski they are taught how to make left and right turns. After a while, they become quite proficient as their partner shouts left or right coming down the slopes. They must obey the commands to negotiate the course and cross the finish line.

The Benefits Of Trusting In God

This is an example of complete trust, and we apply that to the Christian life. We need to trust in Jesus Christ for the journey of life, even though the main ideas today are independence and self-sufficiency. Today we applaud those who are ‘self-made people’. We like the Aussie battler who goes from rags to riches by lots of hard work and effort.

Nothing wrong with that, but I am concerned with the underlying theme I can do it myself. It reminds me of the English poet W. E. Henley’s poem Invictus: “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul”. What this implies is that it’s all up to us. The Christian ideal is different—the Christian knows that God is his master, that his soul has a captain who is higher and greater than himself.

And this is why the writer of Proverbs in the Bible says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know” (Proverbs 3:5). An older translation says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”. I like the Amplified Bible for this verse: “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding”.

The word ‘trust’ in Hebrew (batach) literally means to lie helpless, face down. It pictures a servant waiting for the master’s command in readiness to obey, or a defeated soldier yielding himself to the conquering general.

1. When we trust totally in God, he gives us wisdom and understanding

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Solomon in his book of Proverbs assures us of what we already know—that our God, our Heavenly Father, knows what’s best for us. He is a far better judge of what we want than we are. We read in Deuteronomy 32:3-4:

I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
   Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
    and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
    upright and just is he.

Too often we’re not sure about this truth. But put him to the test and see. God’s ways are greater than ours, and we can be 100% confident in his overriding providence. When things don’t seem to be working out the way we planned, trust him and realise he probably has other plans for you. For his plans are always the best, and his Word says he will never abandon us.

Psalm 9:10 says: “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you”. No matter what we face in our daily lives, he will be with us, even when we encounter loss, suffering, or our own sinfulness.

Did you know that wisdom is a gift from God? James 1:5 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him”. As we learn to trust him more, he gives us more of his wisdom—and I find that exciting. His wisdom is a gift, for he will speak to us as we read his Word and spend quality time with him. After all that verse from Proverbs says, “Don’t rely on your own understanding” and Proverbs 28:26 says, “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe”.

Proverbs has a whole chapter entitled “Wisdom is Supreme”, and not many would argue with that:

  • “Get wisdom, get understanding;…Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;…” (Proverbs 4:5-6)
  • “Wisdom is supreme, therefore get wisdom…”. (Proverbs 4:7)

What does this mean? Is it just for the smart people who went to university and graduated with honours? No, this is down-to-earth teaching for everyone who follows God’s ways. It’s not about being intellectual or aloof or hard to understand. God promises his wisdom in the everyday things of life which we all deal with. In Scripture, the wise people were those who applied what they knew and put it into action. That was it! No complicated formula. Charles Turner, in his commentary on Proverbs says:

In God’s word a person who could perform well in their particular area of skills is one who is called wise. When Moses set about to construct the tabernacle, he chose several wise men. You find the Spirit of God filled them, and with this came wisdom, understanding and knowledge. Their wisdom rested in all manner of workmanship and crafts to complete the tabernacle, and thus do the work of the Lord. They were able to put knowledge into action and do God’s will.

So, as we trust in the Lord, he gives us wisdom to do the everyday things, as we live close to him. We ask his Holy Spirit to fill us each day and direct us, and we will know when it happens. There’s a special quality in the day, when we feel God has been with us. So, as you work at your desk and computer or in your office, the Lord, through his Spirit, will guide your decisions and the way you react to others, and what you say on the phone.

There are no limits to the areas of life where godly wisdom can be applied—however menial the task, he will guide you as you trust him. And that’s a good lesson for the ego in us, for it means those who are often looked down on by this world’s so-called ‘wise’ people, carry every bit as much potential for wisdom when they seek God’s help. It’s free, accessible, and available.

2. As we trust in our heavenly father, he guides and directs our lives in a personal and meaningful way.

If God is not first in your life, who guides you?

Justin Rose is an incredible golfer. Aged 23, he turned professional in 1998 as a 17-year-old, the youngest ever. At his press conference back then he said: “Since my early childhood I’ve always wanted to play professional golf and every decision I have taken has been with this in mind”. At age 11 months, his father gave him a plastic golf club. Nothing wrong with this, but my point is: who is directing his young life? Psychologists estimate we make about 1,200 decisions each day. How many of these decisions are made with Jesus in mind? How often do we ask for his direction and guidance?

Here is another wonderful truth I want to share with you today. Proverbs 16:9 says: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps”. We could call this man’s plans and God’s purposes. The Living Bible paraphrases the verse to: “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps”.

The Bible has much, unfortunately, which tells how in history people and nations did not consult with God before deciding on a course of action. For example, Isaiah 30:1-2 says: “Woe to the obstinate children declares the Lord, to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me”. King Saul, in the Old Testament, turned away from God’s guidance because he wasn’t prepared to listen. How sad to be so obstinate not to listen.

Yet not everyone learned the hard way. Phillip was transferred from an important assignment in Samaria from preaching to crowds of people, to a desert. Didn’t make sense at the time, but God knew best. The Ethiopian eunuch was his convert, and through him many were converted to the Christian faith.

Do you believe in God’s guidance and leading? Do you trust him each day? Maybe you find it’s not easy. Let me conclude by reading this comment by Tim Hansel in his book Holy Sweat—it’s a favourite of Charles Swindoll:

At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed Christ was in the back helping me pedal.

I don’t know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when he took the lead, He knew delightful longs cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, he said, “Pedal”. I worried and was anxious and asked, “Where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust.

I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I’d say “I’m scared” He’d lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord’s and mine. And we were off again. He said “Give the gifts away. They’re extra-baggage, too much weight.” So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light. I did not trust him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it; but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump and clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.

And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ. And when I’m not sure what I should do any more, He just smiles and says “Pedal.”

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