James 1:5-8 “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
My question led me to search what the Bible says about wisdom. It is called חָכְמָ֣ה hakmah in Hebrew, and sophias σοφίας in Greek. Wisdom is used 143 times in the OT and 49 times in the NT. This study is like taking a bite out of an elephant, it is just a start.
The first mention of wisdom is in Exodus 28 when God gives the Spirit of wisdom to skillful persons to make garments for Aaron, the first high priest. The last mention is in Revelation 17, where the mind that has wisdom understands the deeper meaning of prophecy.
What is wisdom? Wisdom has two sides like a coin. God’s wisdom is described as Spirit. (Isa. 11) It is God given, hidden, not found by man's exploration, (Eccl.), a gift He gives, wants man to search for, and is personified in Yeshua the Messiah, (I. Cor. 1:24) “Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God..” God’s wisdom is likened to a building with 7 pillars. (Prov.9) God reveals His divine attribute as wisdom in the skies for by it He numbers the clouds, founded the earth, and cannot be found by human search. Wisdom is personified as a woman in Proverbs as the architect and counselor of God in creation.
There is also wisdom of man. Life experiences teach us wisdom, sometimes called common sense. Three biblical examples come to mind. Abigail acted wisely when she went to David to appease his anger as he was leading his men to destroy her foolish husband, Nabal. The woman who dropped a millstone on Abimelech who was going to set their tower on fire. Daniel was known as a man who was ten times wiser than all the other advisors to the king. And, of course, Solomon who wrote Proverbs and Ecclesiastes and certainly lived the difference between God’s wisdom and man’s wisdom.
Attributes of wisdom. Biblically, wisdom can be defined as skill in war, and in the administration of justice. That is wisdom is action. Another facet of wisdom is shrewdness which is discernment, to be aware of your surroundings. Yeshua said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” Prudence is knowing what to say and how to say it. Prov. 10, “The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom…”
|One of my favorite lessons in learning how to walk in wisdom occurred years ago. In 1992, I, along with about 60 others went to Russia to help teachers instruct students in morals and ethics from a Biblical perspective. There was a layover in London to get everyone together. About 20 of us had a whole day in London so we took the opportunity to explore the city. After visiting many famous sites, it was about 5:00PM and rush hour hit with a vengeance. I could not find my pass to get out of the subway and got separated from the group. I panicked and said a quick “popcorn” prayer. “Which way, God? Which way?” I clearly heard in my spirit, “Turn right, turn right.” So, I did turn right. I walked about 2 blocks and could not find the Tower of London. I asked a woman on the sidewalk where is the Tower of London. She looked at me, shook her head and pointed directly behind me. I was going totally in the wrong direction. I ran to catch up with the group. We got back to the hotel, had dinner and I was finally able to get alone and pray and ask God, “Why? I don’t understand; I clearly heard, turn right.” The Lord’s answer to me was, “Remember, Kaaren, Satan shouts, I whisper.”
Satan is described as a roaring lion, (1 Peter) God reveals Himself to Elijah as a still, small voice (I Kgs. 19:12)
It is a given: “The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom.” (Job 28:28) Wisdom governs our daily lives. Thoughts always precede actions.
The spirit of wisdom is a building where we can live, what we do within God’s parameters.
The spirit of wisdom is a goal, the continual transformed mind of Christ in us that determines what we say.
The spirit of wisdom is daily listening to the Still Small Voice.
That is why asking for wisdom comes with a warning. We are held responsible for what we know.