What is wisdom? According to its etymology, it comes from the “old English wisdom ‘knowledge, learning, experience,’ from wis (see wise (adj.)) + -dom.” Looking one step further, the etymology of wise as an adjective comes from the “old English wis ‘learned, sagacious, cunning; sane; prudent, discreet; experienced; having the power of discerning and judging rightly…” That was a small blast from the past, but now what does our modern day definition look like? According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary:
All together it sounds like a lot of qualities or attributes wrapped-up in a tight bundle called wisdom. Wisdom defined from the MISHNA, PIRKEI AVOT 4:1 with an AJWS Translation states:
- a :accumulated philosophical or scientific learning :knowledge b : ability to discern inner qualities and relationships :insight c : good sense :judgment d : generally accepted belief
- : a wise attitude, belief, or course of action
Ben Zoma said: Who is one that is wise? One who learns from every person, as it is said: From all my teachers have I gained understanding. (Psalm 119:99)
Now that wisdom has been defined mainly in the terms of the secular realm, what about the spiritual realm found primarily in scripture? Humanity can, however, have both secular and spiritual teachers to gain that understanding to apply wisely. As a comparison, wisdom from the secular and divine is defined in James 3:15-18 where a clear difference can be differentiated:
Because this wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, from the thoughts of the self and from demons. For where there is envy and contention there is also chaos and every evil thing. But the wisdom that is from above is pure, filled with peace, meek and attentive, filled with love and good fruit, without division and does not show partiality. But the fruits of righteousness are sown in peace by those who make peace.A common characteristic described in scripture is that those who are foolish detest wisdom, as shown in Proverbs 1:7 –
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.Another example of this concept is in Proverbs 18:2-40 –
A fool does not delight in wisdom because his heart meditates upon madness. And when an evil one comes to the depths of evils, madness, dishonor and reproach come upon him. The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters and the fount of wisdom is a rushing torrent.Scripture has outlined how to receive wisdom, which is by asking the Father according to James 1:5 –
But if anyone of you lacks wisdom, let him ask from God who gives to everyone simply, and does not reproach, and it will be given to him.Wisdom may be given when asked for, but it also must be sought after it as stated in Proverbs 2:3-7 –
And call to understanding and lift up your voice to intelligence. And you will seek it as silver and you will search it out as treasure. Then you will understand the awe of Lord Jehovah and you will find the knowledge of God. Because Lord Jehovah gives wisdom, and from his mouth, knowledge, and understanding. And he keeps hope for those who are upright and helps those who walk without blemish.
Everyone must also be cautious with wisdom, especially the wrong type of wisdom from and of the world. 1 Corinthians 3:19-20 states:
For the wisdom of this world is nonsense to God, for it is written: ‘He has seized the wise in their craftiness.’ And again, ‘THE LORD JEHOVAH knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are worthless.’Another lesson to heed is found in Romans 1:22-25 –
And when they thought in themselves that they were wise, they became insane. And they changed the glory of God, who is indestructible, into the likeness of the image of man, which is destructible, and into the likeness of birds and of four footed animals and of creeping things of The Earth. Because of this, God handed them over to the vile desires of their heart to disgrace their bodies among themselves. And they exchanged the truth of God for lies, and they revered and served created things more than their Creator, to whom belong praises and blessings to the eternity of eternities*, amen.
The scriptures are littered with mentions of wisdom, and please note that in this devotional there were only a few main examples listed. If wisdom comes from the divine Father above, what does it say about His Son’s wisdom? Isaiah 11:1-2 gives us a few clues:
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;Firstly, keep in mind verse one and especially the term “Branch” for future devotions to come. Secondly, we find that the Spirit of the Heavenly Father will rest upon His chosen one and that would be reflected in what He would say and do. Therefore it is the Spirit that is wise and comes from the Father. Just as Yeshua had the Spirit over two-thousand years ago, so too will be the case of the Spirit resting upon the Father’s chosen. We will know the divine Spirit by its wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
As for the rest of us we need to begin somewhere in gaining this celestial wisdom. Psalms 111:10 states, the beginning of having wisdom is fearing the Lord.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.First, fear the Lord; Second, ask for His divine knowledge and wisdom in which He will give as stated in James 1:5. The difference between worldly and divine wisdom was defined above, as well as becoming aware and heeding the warnings of being trapped with the wrong kind of knowledge and wisdom. Worldly wisdom is not always a bad thing because knowledge is a great key to success, but it can be very harmful and derail spiritual progress. There needs to be that balance in discerning the correct amount of worldly wisdom and using the divine wisdom bestowed from the Father in Heaven. A simpler way to comprehend all of this is that with the information or data that is given, the next step is asking for the wisdom so the Father can be the Teacher of wisdom so that understanding can be achieved. In fearing the Lord and pleading in prayer for the Father’s knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and discernment one can begin their journey of growth that will enhance their spiritual walk with the Lord and apply it in the daily encounters of life.
Weekly Challenge:There are a plethora of verses in the Bible regarding wisdom. Challenge yourself this week by dusting off that hard copied book or doing some searches online and finding those verses that resonate with you. In finding those verses and through prayer learn to differentiate divine wisdom from worldly wisdom and apply it in your life to further your spiritual growth. We all lack wisdom because we are not God. We must continue to grow in the divine wisdom by fearing Him and asking for His knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and discernment.