Wisdom and Understanding; September 26, 2017

Job 32:8 But it is the spirit in a man,
the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.

The Bible speaks of wisdom and understanding several places, perhaps most famously in Proverbs: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) However, here Elihu expressly connects that with the Spirit/breath of God. (In Hebrew, the same word is used for both “breath” and “spirit.”) We can seek wisdom on our own, but until God breathes Himself into us, we won’t really get it. As Elihu rightly points out in the next verse, such inspiration isn’t dependent on age. We have the expression, “There’s no fool like an old fool.” Whatever your physical age, human wisdom is foolishness compared to God’s, and we need to remember that. (1 Corinthians 1:25) Gaining knowledge is a good thing, but again, some of what we “know” isn’t necessarily the truth (as came out in yesterday’s comment about “global warming”). We need the Holy Spirit to guide us in our acquisition of knowledge so that it will contribute to wisdom, instead of hinder it. God is the only absolute truth, and human language is insufficient to express Him fully. If we seek wisdom and understanding, the first and most essential thing we must do is open ourselves up more to allow His Spirit to flow through us. I just got the image of a leaf blower, blowing the junk, the mistaken concepts and ideas, out of our hearts and minds. We need the Holy Spirit to clean house so that we will be throne rooms appropriate for the King of kings!

It was a major breakthrough for me when I finally grasped, on the deepest level, that God’s smart and I’m not. I have liked Proverbs 3:5-6 (Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight) for a long time, but much of my life has been spent in violation of it, because I “leaned on my own understanding” in almost everything. That changed somewhat after I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, but old habits die hard. I certainly can’t say that I listen to the Holy Spirit 100% even now, but I’m learning. I am called on to counsel others fairly often, but if I rely on past experience alone, I won’t give them what they need. I have learned from past experiences and I am to share them, but it needs to be the breath of God blowing through me rather than my intellect and understanding. What gives me hope is the knowledge that God is big enough, strong enough, and wise enough to use even me to express His gracious truth to others, for their blessing and His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that I will be doing marriage counseling this morning. Keep me from going “full auto” in that, but rather let You adjust what I say to what the couple needs. Thank You for the church member who came last night, and for speaking to her through me. Help her remember and act on what You said to her, so that she may break out of the self-defeating pattern in which she has been stuck so long. May I always speak Your truth in love by Your Spirit, whenever and to whomever I speak, so that Your Word may accomplish that for which You send it, (Isaiah 55:10-11) for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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