The Gift of Wisdom, Part 1

“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, if you call out for insight, and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.  For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding…..Then you will understand what is right and just and fair–every good path.  For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.”  Proverbs 2:1-6; 9-10

This is taken from my husband’s sermon on the gift of wisdom and used with his permission.

It’s reported that the most beautiful church ever built in the ancient world was named the church of the Hagia Sophia—the Church of Holy Wisdom found in Constantinople. Reports from multiple visitors spoke of the awesome character of the building, the beauty of the services held there, the sense of the presence of the living God that was palpable to everyone. Russian visitors said they were so impressed that they didn’t know if they were in heaven or on earth. No one will ever write such things about our little church. But one thing we hope that could be said of St. Paul’s just as well as they said of the great cathedral in the east—therein was found the holy wisdom of God.

Discussion of wisdom, holy wisdom, is found throughout the Scriptures, but is most evident in some of the Old Testament writings, especially in Psalms and Proverbs. Indeed these 2 books are part of what is generally called Wisdom writings, along with Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon, and, occasionally the book of Job. Jesus also speaks of the people of God having wisdom as do the writers of the epistles in the New Testament. The people of God are called upon to be wise, not just in the ways of the world, but wise in the wisdom that comes from God.

In the reading above from Proverbs Solomon calls upon us to be attentive to wisdom, to seek it out as a greedy person seeks wealth or as a vain person seeks attention from others. But the type of wisdom Solomon discusses is not wisdom of worldly things. Paul writes in 1st Corinthians that Greeks—worldly people—seek after wisdom. But the wisdom they seek is how to get the most they can from this world. How you can be admired and feted by others and how you can accumulate the things of this life, that is the sort of wisdom the pagans seek out. The search for self betterment is pagan. All of those books in the self help aisles of book stores and self help programs on TV, they are all about seeking a good pagan life style. But for us, the search for the Gospel, the Good News of eternal life in Christ—that is wisdom sought by us and by all believers.

 

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