This is the last in our series Who is GOD? Click on the title of the series that is highlighted to see more from that series or click on the button to the right by the same title.
Today’s characteristic of GOD is wisdom. Pink describes it as an aspect of God’s knowledge, while Packer says it is the practical side of GOD’s moral goodness.
What is wisdom?
What is wisdom? One of the simplest definitions I found was Packer’s. It is the power to see, and the inclination to choose, the best and highest goal, together with the surest means of attaining it.
As we have looked at knowledge and goodness already, we will no doubt see many overlapping aspects for all three. I often connected knowledge and wisdom. Not as equals, but certainly as relatives. When I stop to think it over, I realize that wisdom that is not connected to moral goodness can’t really be wise…so I get the connection.
Let’s plow in more to see what distinguishes wisdom from the other two. It seems that just as with a friend, it is almost impossible to introduce them on the basis of individual characteristics, even more is this true of GOD! We can talk of His wisdom, but the thing that makes His (infinite) wisdom so great, is that it is wedded to His omnipotence (infinite power)! What better combination can you get than Someone who is omnipotent but also infinitely wise.
How does this all work out into one whole person when we look at individual characteristics?
I can go to Him in prayer about anything. He has the wisdom to resolve it in a wise way, the infinite knowledge over all of time to know the best answer and the power to change or do whatever is needed…if He wills to do it. cf. Job 9:4; Isaiah 40:26-28; Romans 16:25-27. This is a GOD who can be trusted. This is a winning combination…to put it crassly!
So to what end is GOD working? It would help us to know the answer to this question. The simple answer is, “He wants us to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” But it begs the question. What does that mean? What does that look like?
“His purpose was that man should love and honour Him,
praising Him for the wonderfully ordered complexity and variety of His world,
using it according to His will, and enjoying both it and Him.” J.I. Packer
Of course, His ultimate goal for us is that we will do all these things fully and completely with Him. It won’t happen here on earth. But the beginnings of it will…because of Jesus. Its complete fulfillment will be in heaven…when we are complete and in the presence of GOD.
GOD’s wisdom has been at work both as He planned and orchestrated redemption for His people. It started before anything was even created, but started to show in the Garden of Eden after the Fall. It continued to the coming of Christ as a man to earth. It continues on as He works in the lives of each of us individually…sanctifying us through the events of our lives as He changes us to make us more like Him in character.
We definitely don’t have the big picture on that…for sure! There are often some very dark times when our perspective is not very far ahead at all. Those are the times we must trust Him the most…that He is wise, knowledgable and good!
Since wisdom is one of the communicable attributes of GOD, it is possible for us to have wisdom too.
How does that happen? What does it look like?
Of course, our source of wisdom is GOD and His Word. Colossians 3:16. But one question that needs to be clear is what is the wisdom we seek?
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,
singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16 ESV
Is wisdom understanding the hidden purposes of GOD in every situation? Packer suggests that Ecclesiastes clearly gives the answer to that question in the negative. I don’t feel that I am a well qualified student of the Bible to answer that question categorically, but since he brought it up, I’m inclined to agree with him. (I’m in a study of that very book right now! It makes sense.)
Packer’s assessment of what human wisdom consists of is more like my realization that GOD is wise…and I must stick to Him in the light of His word, through thick and thin.
The effect of this wisdom then, is to cause me to be more humble, more joyful, more godly, more quick to do His will and less troubled and bewildered when dark and bewildering things happen because I realize I live in a fallen world!
This will push me to be more a woman of prayer as I ask for wisdom that I need to live life in this broken world. It will include living a life of faith as I trust Him when I don’t understand what or why something is happening. I will also need to be faithful to this all-wise GOD…these are all things that are impossible for me to do apart from the grace of GOD!