home > Pastor’s Desk > 2021 > March > EVEN THOUGH IT’S UNFATHOMABLE, UNSEARCHABLE, AND UNCOMPREHENSIBLE, YOU STILL NEED IT!

EVEN THOUGH IT’S UNFATHOMABLE, UNSEARCHABLE, AND UNCOMPREHENSIBLE, YOU STILL NEED IT!

God, according to James the brother of Jesus, gives to His children wisdom (James 1:5). While James tells us that God gladly and generously gives this wisdom, there is more that the Scriptures tell us about how God gives wisdom to His people than what James tells us. I suspect that there are some of you reading this who could do with some godly wisdom right now. If that’s you, you might benefit from taking the next few moments to consider what else God’s Word says about God’s wisdom.

 

WHAT IS WISDOM?

¶ And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man.
Luke 2:52

When asked to define wisdom, most people end up describing it or giving examples of it, rather than actually defining it. Perhaps defining wisdom is similar to the difficulty we have in defining the colour red. without referring to examples of something red? We might attempt to define wisdom by noting that it is both acquired through learning (Prov. 9:9) and is also given by God (James 1:5) and that it results in godly decision making and virtuous courses. Wisdom is not merely, as some have inadequately defined it, the application of knowledge. You might know how to steal, but applying that knowledge is not very wise! Wisdom is the godly use of knowledge which leads to the righteous application of that knowledge for the highest welfare of those you are responsible for. Therefore there is no greater example of wisdom than Jesus (1Cor. 1:24, 30).

 

YOU DO NOT NEED MONEY TO SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS!

Feasts are made for laughter,
and wine makes life merry,
but money is the answer for everything.
Ecclesiastes 10:19

The Book of Ecclesiastes appears to have been written sometime during the Babylonian Exile. It’s author used a “persona literary device” where an author would write as if he or she was an actual historical character—in this instance, King Solomon. Thus the author of Ecclesiastes voices the backslidden King Solomon as saying that “money is the answer for everything” or, that money solves every problem. But, as I suspect, the author was expecting all readers to disagree with this absurd claim – just ask some of the world’s wealthiest celebrities whether their mind-boggling wealth helped them solve their marriage problems or give their lives meaning. Money certainly does not solve all problems. But wisdom can.

But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man.
Ecclesiastes 9:15

  

HOW WE LEARN WISDOM

Wisdom can be acquired by learning. The Book of Proverbs reveals that there are three ways that a person can learn to be wise.

1. INSTRUCTION – Wisdom can be learned from a wise instructor either directly or by seeking out their advice.

Hear instruction and be wise,
and do not neglect it.
Proverbs 8:33

2. BY (OUR) MISTAKES – Wisdom can be learned from the mistakes we make and from learning from the mistakes of others. I wonder if God allows us to make mistakes and even fail so that others can learn from our mistakes.

For the righteous falls seven times and rises again
Proverbs 24:16a

3. BY CONTEMPLATION – Wisdom can be learned by reflecting, thinking things through, and contemplating options and possible outcomes.

The simple believes everything,
but the prudent gives thought to his steps.
Proverbs 14:15

Proverbs also describes several sources of wisdom. These include wise counsellors, lessons from the history, the wisdom in God’s Word, and from our parents. 

 

ABOUT GOD’S WISDOM

¶ Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!  ¶ “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counsellor?”  “Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid?”  ¶ For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.
Romans 11:33-36

Jesus Christ Himself was the ultimate personification of wisdom (1Cor. 1:24, 30), yet He Himself, when He became incarnate, had to ‘increase’ in wisdom. And chances are that if Jesus had to ‘increase in wisdom’ then so do we! In God’s unfathomable wisdom He permits us to learn how to increase in wisdom by learning from our mistake and failures. Yet, there are times when, as James the brother of Jesus wrote, that God gifts wisdom to His children. This may not be a ‘Matrix type’ of human-software update, but it could come to you in way you did not expect in response to your prayer for God’s wisdom where you have a “light-bulb moment”. And when you experience one of those rarer moments of ‘received’ wisdom (where God gives us wisdom), it might be time to implement some wisdom from the life of Daniel, who, when it happened to him, he gave God the glory for it.

Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
Daniel 2:19

I wonder if this lesson from the life of Daniel informed the apostle Paul about how to process the reception of divine wisdom? He described encountering the magnitude of this divine wisdom as unfathomable, unsearchable, and inscrutable (Romans 11:33). (And I’m fairly confident that if uncomprehensable was a word he would have used that word as well. I’m less confident that if he was to ever read this week’s Pastor’s Desk that he would be impressed with my clever list of un- words in its title.) After Paul described the incomparable wisdom of God, he then drops to his knees in worship and gives God glory for His amazing wisdom. This is what I suggest we do too, even if we have never received a dose of God’s wisdom or a revelation of how magnificent it is.

Your pastor,

Andrew

Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.

3 Comments

  1. John Sands

    A considered and helpful exposition of a piece of scripture that worries some.
    Why is wisdom given the feminine gender on scripture?

    Reply
  2. Norman Macdonald

    Is it wise to say what a great article this is? I think so

    Reply
  3. Mike Sladden

    Excellent Andrew. Many of our politicians need an infusion of God’s wisdom given the appalling euthanasia (VAD) Bill which has just passed the lower House of Parliament. Blessings, Brother Mike

    Reply

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THE PRODIGAL FATHER

 Does anyone know what the word prodigal means? Perhaps most people assume that it means: “wanderer”, or “rebel”, or perhaps even “backslider” or that it only applies to sons. This seems to be based on the story that Jesus told in Luke 15 to which most Bible Publishers assign the division title – The Parable of the Prodigal Son. But the word prodigal does not occur in this parable. Interestingly, there are three lead characters in this shocking and famous parable: the father and his two sons. One of these was genuinely ‘prodigal’, and, as Tim Keller points out, it was neither son! To appreciate what Keller means we might need to take another look at what the word prodigal actually means. It comes from the verb prodigious which means remarkably great in extent, size, or degree (New Oxford American Dictionary). It is a word often used to describe an author who regularly writes books – John Grisham is a prodigious author. A prodigal person is therefore, prolific, extravagant, excessive, and, lavish. Keller points out that even though most people ascribe this to the wayward son in the parable, it is more appropriately a designation for the lead character in the story, the father!

SUPER SUCCESSFUL CHRISTIANS

Spare a thought for those people who are often overlooked by churches—and if they are Christians—they frequently struggle to even find a suitable church where they can deepen their relationship with Christ. Often we think of those who struggle with life as those who are “down and out” and blighted by impoverishment, or destitution, or ill-health, or family breakdown, or poor mental health. But surprisingly, even those who are seen as super-successful because of their wealth, social stature, public acclaim or amazing achievements, are actually struggling with loneliness, emptiness, and poor mental health — even if they are a Christian. These super-successful Christians are CEOs of large companies, or world-class or national sporting champions, or internationally renowned performing artists, or A-lister actors, or media personalities, or highly sought after professionals such as surgeons or barristers. They often pay a high price for their success, including, long work hours, constant stress, public criticism, extended time away from their families, fierce competition, and strained marriages. These pressures are exacerbated by their constant travel associated with their work which also makes them vulnerable to exhaustion and extraordinary temptations. This is why these super-successful Christians need to join the kind of church that can provide them with the kind of support, counsel, and accountability that every Christian needs. Here’s how a church can become this kind of church.

MAKING CHURCH A WELCOMING HOME

For many people, making a decision to attend a church is a significant and potentially daunting decision. As they come through the front door they are entering an unfamiliar environment. It is also an environment that may be associated with preconceived ideas of what the expectations and rules of the church community may be. These people probably will not know anybody and they might have concerns that relate to their previous or current lifestyle. For those of us who are regular church attendees, it is possible that we may not fully appreciate the challenges a new attendee may be facing. When we can relate to these concerns, I believe we are better equipped to provide a warm and patient “welcome” to what we hope will become their new church home.

LOVE IN ACTION

Physical illnesses and stressful events are endemic in our society. They can be likened to the thorns that cause both pain and damage. It doesn’t take much for them to impact a person’s life in ways that they did not expect. I believe that we can become more resilient as followers of Jesus by applying an appropriate solution to a known problem. I believe that an appropriate and important part of the solution is for us to show love the way that Jesus demonstrated love during His ministry on earth.

THE TOOLS OF REMEMBERING

I like to think I have a pretty good memory.  I like to think I’m organised.  Generally, I am – I don’t double book appointments, I keep track of what I’m doing and when, I mostly turn up on time. But, on reflection, I’m not so sure this means I have a good memory.

TRUTH vs SOMETHING BIG AND HAIRY

“You were lying in your bed, you were feeling kind of sleepy.
But you couldn’t close your eyes because the room was getting creepy.
Were those eyeballs in the closet? Was that Godzilla in the hall?
There was something big and hairy casting shadows on the wall.
Now your heart is beating like a drum, your skin is getting clammy.
There’s a hundred tiny monsters jumping right into your jammies”!

These are lyrics from a song on the very first Veggie Tales video every made. The title of the song?  “God is bigger than the Boogie Man”. Junior Asparagus was lying in bed frightened, and Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber appeared to tell him that he doesn’t have to be scared of the imaginary monsters because, “God is the bigger.” My childhood night-time fears weren’t so much about big and hairy monsters, aka boogie men, or Godzilla in the hall. My fears were house fires – our home burning down, and “burglars” or “robbers”. But I certainly identify with lying in bed, my heart beating like a drum, my skin getting clammy, my imagination in overdrive.

CLOSING THE DEAL

In 1871, the American evangelist, Dwight (“DL”) Moody was preaching to huge crowds each night in Chicago. At the end of each message he would give an appeal for people to either respond immediately to the gospel message he had just presented, or at least go home and consider it. But on Sunday October 8th, 1871, a huge fire broke out in Chicago. It burned through the city for days and became known as The Great Chicago Fire. Around 10,000 people were homeless as a result, and hundreds of people lost their lives. Moody was heart-broken when he realised that many of the people who had died were the people who had attended that Sunday night meeting where he had urged them to consider accepting Christ. His deep grief over this tragedy led him to make a vow that he would never again merely urge people to simply consider accepting Christ. From now on, he vowed, he would plead with all those he preached to – to immediately turn away from their sins and turn to the Saviour. DL Moody committed his life and ministry as an evangelist to be someone who would always strive to close the deal because he was now aware—more than ever—that people’s eternal destinies were in jeopardy! 

BUILDING A MOODY CHURCH

The three things that make the Christian life exciting and enthralling are the same three things that enable a believer to develop a closer relationship with God. The combination of these supernatural gifts gives the child of God an awareness that there is more, much more, to this world than we can see, touch, taste or feel. When the Christian’s faith is grounded and buttressed in God’s Word, godly prayer, and God’s house he or she flourishes. But there are forces at play that are determined to stop the believer from reaching their spiritual destiny. While we might think these enemy forces only use the fiery darts of doubt to hinder the believer’s journey to glory, there is something that they successfully use far more often: our mood. This is why, for any church to be successful, it must discover how to build moody church.

PRAYING PRAYERS

The amazing thing about prayer, is that nearly everyone does it – but hardly anyone thinks they do it well. If you visit any Christian bookstore you will notice that the largest display of books is about prayer. And it’s not just Christian bookstores where you’ll find books on prayer. Regular bookstores also sell a wide range of books on prayer (even if they do classify them as books on ‘meditation’!). One of the most frequently searched questions on Google is, “How to pray” (which then points enquirers to over 2.3 billion web pages answering their question). But in all of human history – and two thousand years before anyone but one had ever heard of Google – there was just One person who was supremely qualified to answer this question. And fortunately for those of us who really want to know the answer to this question (without having to peruse more than 2.3 billion web pages!) He gave us the answer.

WHY SOME BELIEVE

Why is it that two people can look at exactly the same evidence and can come to completely different conclusions about it? Even more puzzling is how two equally qualified scientific experts can look at the same data and utterly disagree about what it means. This happens many times in court cases where the prosecution will call their “expert witness” to give his or her professional opinion to verify that the defendant is guilty only to have the defence to present their “expert witness” who gives his or her professional opinion as to why the prosecution’s expert witness was wrong and to prove that defendant is innocent! This at least illustrates why it is not always the quality of the evidence that leads a person to accept or reject a claim. This especially apply to the claims that Jesus Christ made. Of the four accounts in the New Testament written about His life, three of them were written by eye-witnesses and the other one (Luke’s) was written by someone who interviewed many eye-witnesses. It is with interest that we turn to the last one to be John’s Gospel, where he describes dramatic proofs that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Yet despite these otherwise inexplicable proofs that at times thousands of people witnessed, many still wouldn’t believe. But it seems among those who did believe they all had one thing in common.