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Seek Wisdom, But Don’t be a Wise Guy

December 30, 2019

Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.” (Psalm 119: 97-98).

“Don’t be a wise guy,” is a phrase used to warn someone away from being a smart aleck—someone who thinks he or she knows more than others.  It is also used to refer to members of organized crime. There are bands, groups, organizations, pizzerias, and television shows called The Wise Guys.  Most of the uses of the term are negative.  But while being a smart aleck should not be our goal, Sunday’s Scripture texts give us solid reasons to seek wisdom.[1]

God offered to give Solomon anything, and Solomon asked for a “discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” (1 Kings 3:9).  He asked for discernment or wisdom. He didn’t ask God to do his job for him—he asked for the wisdom to do his job.  Solomon was just 20 years of age when he ascended to the throne. He recognized that his youth was a drawback: “I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties” (1 Kings 3:7).  He wisely realized that he needed to get some wisdom—and fast! Solomon set a good example for the leaders of any organization.  Leaders of churches, organizations of all kinds, cities, counties, states, and countries should constantly turn to God to ask for help in carrying out their duties. They should avoid being a “wise guy” (or gal), and ask God for the energy and the ability to help govern wisely and fairly.

The psalmist wrote of the joy of meditating on God’s law: “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.” (Psalm 119: 97-98) He cites three reasons for meditating on God’s Word: (1) It gives one greater insight; (2) it gives one greater understanding; and (3) it keeps one from evil paths.  One needs insight and understanding in working with people to solve the problems of an organization.  A leader must set an example of diligence and have the insight to effectively discern the talents and abilities of those in the organization, and put those talents and abilities to work to carry out God’s purposes.

As in all things, Jesus was the gold standard in setting an example of how to seek wisdom: go to the source—the Word–and talk to those who know it best. Luke tells the story of how the 12-year-old Jesus went out of his way to be with the rabbis: “After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answer” (Luke 1: 46-47). Jesus put himself in the company of those who knew the Torah the best, and questioned them about it, amazing them with his understanding. Luke mentions twice that Jesus “grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 1: 40) and “Jesus grew in wisdom and statute, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 1: 52).

Paul reminded the church in Ephesus and he reminds us that we have been redeemed by God’s grace; our sins were forgiven through Christ’s blood, and in God’s great wisdom and understanding, he made this known to us: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, . . . “ (Ephesians 1: 7-9).

Wisdom does not come from men. It comes from God.  Don’t be a wise guy or gal. Don’t think that you know it all and can do just fine on your own.   Instead, lean on God.  Seek God’s wisdom so that he can direct your steps and help you gain understanding and avoid treacherous paths.   When you pray for God’s guidance and for discernment through the Holy Spirit, you can count on God to provide you with the wisdom you need.

Prayer: Father, you know the decisions and challenges that I am facing today. Forgive me for trying to figure everything out on my own.  Send your Holy Spirit to energize me, to guide me, to give me direction, to move me toward your perfect plan.  Amen

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

 [1] The Scripture lessons for next Sunday are 1 Kings 3:4-15; Psalm119:97-104; Ephesians 1:3-14; Luke 2:40-52.


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