Where Can I Find Wisdom?
One daughter who heard her mother say, “According to this newspaper article, most automobile accidents occur within a fifteen-mile radius of home,” she wisely asked, “Mommy, then why don’t we move?” While this example is humorous – it is true that oftentimes the perception of a young person can add great clarity.
Most of us would agree that much of the time, the oldest among us are the wisest. Their experience, insight, and understanding are something to behold and to learn from.
Wisdom however does not actually come from old age – wisdom comes from God.
In Job 32 we are introduced to a young man who was listening to Job lament and to Job’s three friends as they commented on Job’s condition. Job has suffered the loss of all his children. His business empires were stolen and animals killed. His body ached from head to toe. He was restless and could not sleep. His body was emaciated. And he sat around a camp fire scrapping the boils off his body.
As his wounds were oozing and crusting over his three friends condemned him of sin. Their Theology was not accurate. They suggest that “God only blesses good people and bad things only happen to bad people.” They have a false impression of God.
In reality, good and bad things happen to all of us. The rain falls and the sun shines on everyone whether they are “good” or bad.
Each of the 3 older gentlemen approached Job with their reasoning for his situation. Eliphaz suggested experience was key while Bildad appeals to the “old timers” or his predecessors, and Zophar argued that common sense or intuition is the way to be in the “know.” None of these solutions include wisdom as coming from God. These ideas are not enough for life.
Elihu has heard the conversation and he is angry. He is angry at Job for blaming God for his problem. (Satan was actually the one orchestrating the pain Job suffered.) Then he gets angry at the 3 older men for not being able to find the sin Job apparently had hidden in his life. He believes that these experienced men should have found and answer for the pain Job was suffering.
A study of this book of Job would enrich your life and help you when enduring suffering. We will all suffer at some point and the difference is the perception and how a person endures the suffering.
As we navigate through life, where can we find wisdom? All wisdom comes from God. Elihu waited for the older men to talk. He withheld speaking to listen to them. He respected their years and their insights. However, he makes a good statement in Job 32:6-9: “And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion. I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.”
Here are several ideas to help you find wisdom.
- Do not rely on age alone. Old age does not guarantee you are right. While understanding may come from experience – wisdom can only come from God. Proverbs 9:10 tells us: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Many other passages echo this truth.
- Sometimes young men have truthful and helpful insights. Elihu’s perception was different than the older men. While still fraught with similar pride, he had difference expectations. That is neither good nor bad. Just truth. Sometimes a fresh set of “eyes” or a new “mind” thinking about an issue can be a help.
- Our spirit can only be truly taught by the Holy Spirit. Since the “inspiration of the Almighty giveth understanding” then if we want our spirit enriched we must study the Word, hear men preach the Bible, and listen to godly counsel from others. Bible studies, spiritual books, church services, and other ministries of the Word are important for us to grow in wisdom. Each person consists of a “trichotomy” of a “body, soul, and spirit.” Learning from God is the only way your inner spirit will grow in real wisdom.
- Look for Wisdom. Proverbs 4:7 teaches: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” We can get wisdom. Find God’s answers for marriage, family, finances, work, school, location, vocation, education and more. It’s all in the Bible. Keep growing in wisdom.
- Apply God’s Wisdom. Understanding is the practical and correct application of God’s Wisdom. It is apparent several ways.
- Controlling Personal Anger. Proverbs 29:8 informs: “Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.”
- Extending Forgiveness More Freely. One good quote is that: “As we grow in wisdom, we pardon more freely.” Colossians 3:13 instructs: “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” People will hurt you, and say or do foolish things. Wisdom forgives and moves forward in the relationship not holding the past wrongs over or against another.
- Engaging Others in Encouraging Ways. Edify, exhort, lift others. Wise people build others up instead of tearing them down. Hebrews 10:25 says this is possible: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
- Making Good Choices. Irrational and assuming logic can be avoided as we apply God’s wisdom to our lives.
Where can I find wisdom? I can find wisdom in God. His Word. His people teaching and preaching the Scriptures. We are blessed that we do not need to rely on mere human experience, but we have the settled and time tested truth of the Bible to base our life and decisions on. Find God’s wisdom and let it change your life today.