Text: Proverbs 4 (Our Heavenly Father’s instruction to His children to seek true wisdom and knowledge)
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
Look, dear brothers and sisters, upon the wisdom of this world. What of it is constant? What of it is consistent? What of it is sacred and holy when it is held within the wisdom of the wise? Civilizations, corrupted with time, crumble and fall, theories are speculated upon, proven or disproven, perpetually altered throughout the course of learning, philosophies litter the landscape, contradicted, opposed, disputed in their veracity. In the long course of human history we have learned but one thing, that there is still so much more that we have to learn. After all we are but children seeking to unravel the mysteries of nature and creation.
Yet, in our hubris, we embolden ourselves. We look to the spirit of our age and hail it as the height of enlightenment. What can be withheld from us if we throw off the constraints of the Divine and elevate ourselves and our understanding to the highest power? We consider not our vanity nor our ignorance as we claim greater portion of praise for ourselves and our learned ways.
We understand not that wisdom, to be rightly considered, must be rightly comprehended. It is more than learning and education. As we are reminded by the Reverend Charles Spurgeon, “Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool.”
Consider the words of Saint Paul in his Epistle, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20) Powerful is the admonition of the Apostle as he set his eyes upon the learning and the discernment of men. The scribe, the debater, they who are considered wise within the eyes of men, and their understanding, are eclipsed by the wondrous, glory of the wisdom of our Lord. Yet it is not foolish alone that God has rendered the wisdom of the world. To look upon the Greek of the text, we come to realize that our Lord reduces such self-important pride as the wisdom of this world as “useless”.
How powerfully we have seen this throughout the annals of history as the children of Israel bowed before their golden calves, forsaking the wisdom and the majesty of their living God. How could they with eyes that could see and ears that could not hear rise with in glory to protect those who bowed before them? Though they could be felt with the hands, and seen with the eyes, how could they compare to He who parted the seas and set the skies ablaze with a pillar of fire, who collapsed the mighty walls of Jericho with a trumpet’s call?
Where, after all, is the wisdom of the age and the learnedness of the wise to answer the deeper questions of the spirit and the soul? “In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror: “Where is that chief officer? Where is the one who took the revenue? Where is the officer in charge of the towers?” You will see those arrogant people no more, people whose speech is obscure, whose language is strange and incomprehensible.” (Isaiah 33:18-19) When faced against the power and the authority of God, the power and the authority of this world is deemed insufficient and inadequate. When His wisdom is tested against the pride and the arrogance, the vanity and the hubris of this world, it is His learning, His wisdom, His discernment that is proven worthy of praise and glorification above all else.
Rightly must we understand then that those who place their trust in the wisdom of this world are like the foolish man who built his house on the sand. When the tempests brewed and the storms came, with no foundation, the works of his hands crumbled and fell. Only with the surest foundation, the Rock of our Salvation, can we hope then to stand steadfast and strong as the streams rise and the winds beat down upon us. (Matthew 7:24-27) This is why we, beloved children of our Father, are taught to seek true wisdom, to grab hold of the truest understanding, never forsaking it, never yielding in its truth for our lives. It is why we, the beloved children of our Father, are reminded to cherish it, knowing that, as we embrace it, it will exalt us. (Proverbs 4:5-9) When we do so much is made clearer through the foggy and murky world that so often surrounds us as the light of the Lord breaks through to illuminate our path, to make sure our way in the hope and the love that He has for us.
Truly we must understand that it is only through this higher wisdom of the Lord our God that we come to truly understand what is important as enlightenment is granted to us by the source of all knowledge, by the hand of He who created all and thus has the answers to all. We learn to value life, of love, of compassion and equality. We find then the purpose and the meaning of freedom as we come to dwell in the hope of our risen Savior and the peace of the blessed Spirit. We are able to rightly and morally discern as we are led to a greater respect of the beauty of all of God’s creation, and we come see the common threads of an uncommon God as He weaves through our lives and the lives of others, with a divine Hand that binds us in confidence towards the miraculous wonder of His plan for us.
Waiting to show His children all that they need to know the Lord opens His mind to all who rightly search for Him in humility, forsaking their foolish arrogance as they kneel before His feet and seek His judgments. Let then the Lord reveal His wisdom to you. He holds back nothing from you, His beloved child, when you ask of Him with a true and faithful heart. (James 1:5-6) Open that door, take upon yourself the challenge of magnifying not the learning of men but the truth of God above all else, coming to realize that there is so much more for you, so much more that He has planned for life when you turn to Him and put it all in His hands, trusting in Him above all else.
Beware the knowledge of this world and the men of it. It seeks not only to elevate men above God but to recreate Him in our very image. It will rob you of the peace that you seek and the hope that you so desire. It has been the fall of many who, like Icarus, thought to fly too close to the sun, without realizing that, for their actions, there are consequences, and that, pride comes before the fall. (Proverbs 16:18) God warns us, not in conceit, but in love for us that we may find a hope and a knowledge that is higher, that is grander than any and all this world may offer.
What then, dear brothers and sisters, will you trust? Will your faith, your reliance, your hope rest on the untested wisdom of those who reach for the Heavens without an understanding of what they are reaching for? Or will it be on the wisdom of He who reaches down from the Heavens seeing and knowing all as He touches your spirit and your soul, weaving His truth into it? Choose wisely, for your help in every struggle, even your salvation itself, rests within that decision that you make.
Now may the peace of the Lord that transcends all human understanding and reason keep your hearts and souls in Christ Jesus even unto life everlasting, Amen.