The Wisdom of God

When King Solomon inherited the kingdom from his father, King David, God asked Solomon what blessing he would like, and King Solomon, recognizing that he was “but a little child” (1 Kings 3:7), asked for wisdom on how to run the kingdom. Because Solomon asked for wisdom and discernment instead of a long life, riches, or the death of his enemies, God delighted in his request and not only granted him wisdom so that he would be the wisest man to ever live, but he also granted the requests he did not ask for. Armed with the wisdom granted to him by God, Solomon penned wisdom down into what we now call the Book of Proverbs.

As a young boy, my Sunday school teacher suggested that we read Proverbs on a daily basis. He pointed out that the Book of Proverbs was 31 chapters long and so we could read the entire book of Proverbs every month reading the chapter corresponding to the day of the month. For example, on day 1 of the month we would read Chapter 1. On day 2 we would read Chapter 2 and so on. For months that had less than 31 days, we could read the remaining chapters all in the same day. I attempted to take on this challenge, but I remember just reading the words over and over and nothing happening. I was reading the words, but I really wasn’t attempting to understand them. This caused me to become discouraged and eventually I gave up. I would try this challenge multiple times throughout my life, but it wasn’t until my mid-20s when I really had a thirst for wisdom and understanding that something finally clicked.

Understanding Comes From God

Proverbs 1:7 says that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” and Proverbs 2:4 says “If you seek [wisdom and understanding] like silver and search for it as for hidden treasure…”. This is telling us two things:

  1. We must first give God the reverence He deserves. He is Holy. He is just. He is the author of life itself. He has the ability to wipe us from existence with the mere breath of His mouth.
  2. We must have a hunger and a thirst for wisdom; we must desire understanding with our entire being. We must desire both with our whole heart.

If we desire to know the truth with our entire being, then Proverbs 2:5-6 goes on to say “then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” James 1:5 puts it this way “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

Wisdom and understanding comes only from God and He promises that if we ask for wisdom, He will give it to us generously.

Open My Eyes, Dear God

Each one of us is in a different point in life. Each one of us has different levels of understanding. When I see people doing things that don’t make sense to me, things that I know causes those people to not live an abundant life, I often find myself saying something like “I don’t understand how they don’t understand”. The fact of the matter is that, as we saw above, all understanding comes from God and for whatever reason, God has not allowed them to understand. For believers, like different parts of the body, each person has different gifts and different convictions so that together we can all serve the body of Christ. Does the hand understand how to see? Or does the eye understand how to hear? In the case of spiritual gifts, the understanding may never come. In the case of sin, the person may not be ready for the understanding.

In the case of revealing sin, I am often reminded of the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 6:15-17. Elisha and his servant found themselves surrounded by an army. His servant cried out “Oh no my lord! What shall we do?”, but Elisha responded “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” As I’ve been in the place of the servant before, not having the understanding of Elisha, I can assume the servant looked at Elisha like he was crazy. Thankfully, Elisha responded with a compassionate heart toward his servant and interceded on his behalf by praying that God “Open his eyes […] so that he may see.” Then God responded by giving the servant the understanding and completely changed the servant’s perspective on the situation. The servant’s eyes were opened and he was then able to see “the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” How amazing that revelation must have been!

Whenever we see someone doing something that is unwise, we need to be like Elisha and understand why others don’t understand. God, for whatever reason, has not opened their eyes so that they can see. We should also be like Elisha and pray for those that do not see. We should also be aware of the fact that our own eyes may not be open and we may be missing God’s blessing. Sometimes, this happens because we have come to be in an unteachable state.

Be Teachable

In order to be able to receive wisdom and understanding we need to be in a teachable state. However, whenever we hear the Word of God, it can be painful and offensive and cause us to become defensive. The Word of God is like “a two-edged sword piercing to the division of soul and spirit and joints and of marrow” (Hebrews 4:12) since our hearts want to serve the law of God, but our flesh wants to follow the law of sin (Romans 7:25).

To combat this, James 1:19-21 says “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore, put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” James commands us to be:

  • Quick to listen; be patient. Take in the instruction. Consider and meditate on it. Remember to fear the LORD.
  • Slow to speak; we must stop trying to justify our sin. We must stop justifying our foolishness. We must put away all of our excuses for it. If, when you are hear the Word of God, you find yourself saying “But…”, that’s a good hint that you need to slow your speaking.
  • Slow to anger; when our flesh is provoked, it can become angry and the “anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God”. More often than not, remembering to fear the LORD helps me put aside some emotions and knee-jerk reactions that can lead me into sin. This, in turn, will help me to have the correct mindset to be able to learn.

If we can receive the Word of God and if we understand it (which is granted by God), then it is “able to save [our] souls”.


To recap:

  1. The beginning of wisdom and understanding is fearing God and recognizing who He is. He is the God of the universe. The Creator. The Author of Life. He knows all because He made all. There is an absolute right and an absolute wrong because of Him.
  2. All wisdom and understanding comes from God.
  3. Our eyes will not be opened to wisdom and understanding unless we hunger and thirst for it and ask God for it. When we ask for it, He will not only give for what we’ve asked, but more.
  4. If we happen to have wisdom and understanding for a specific area of our lives, but we know someone else who doesn’t, we should intercede on their behalf and pray for them.
  5. We must be teachable by being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry by what the Word of God says.

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