Hosea 14:9 Who is wise? He will realize these things.
Who is discerning? He will understand them.
The ways of the Lord are right;
the righteous walk in them,
but the rebellious stumble in them.
It strikes me that this could stand to be the last verse of the whole Bible, and not just of the prophecy of Hosea. It says that if you’re smart, you’re going to understand this stuff. Job, Psalms, Proverbs, and Isaiah all rightly connect wisdom with the fear of the Lord. It doesn’t matter what your IQ is, if you don’t acknowledge that you’re a created being with accountability toward your Creator, you don’t understand anything. There’s a slight difference in the Japanese from the NIV in the second half of this verse, and I find it very illuminating. Where the NIV says, “The ways of the Lord are right,” the Japanese says, “The ways of the Lord are flat/smooth.” Such a road should be easy to walk on, but Hosea tells us the rebellious stumble anyway. It doesn’t take a great deal of perception to realize that those who are in active rebellion against their Creator have willfully blinded themselves to how things really are. Their pride convinces them they don’t need God, when nothing could be further from the truth. Without God’s sustaining hand, our constituent atoms wouldn’t even hold together! One of the great mysteries of physics is just how the universe exists, and scientists use all sorts of vague terms like “strong force” and “weak force” and “dark matter” and “dark energy” to try to explain it. Numbers of such scientists have come away convinced that there must be a Creator, and the majority of those have found that of all the world’s religions, the only one that lines up with their discoveries is the Bible. Even so, countless people who start with rebellion instead of with honest inquiry end up claiming “science” as their excuse for atheism. It all points out the distinction between wisdom and intelligence. Computer scientists have made great strides toward what is called “artificial intelligence,” but that is not at all the same thing as wisdom.
This of course applies to me. I was blessed with a high IQ, but if I depend on that instead of my Creator, I am certainly not wise. If I find my way seems rocky and hard to follow, I need to check my relationship with my Lord. It is quite true that we live in a fallen world, and as a result we will inevitably have trouble. (John 16:33) However, if my heart is rightly fixed on my Creator and His Son, my Lord and Savior, then I will always know where to put my feet, where and how to walk. Intelligence is a blessing, but wisdom is far more important.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the privilege of sharing the things You speak to me. I ask Your anointing in this morning’s service, and then again this afternoon as I bring a greeting at an ordination/installation service at another church. It dawned on me this morning that I have literally achieved the status of a “graybeard,” and my words were sought for today. I pray that they would not just be mine but be Yours, to accomplish that for which You send them, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!