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Source of Wisdom
Wisdom is the active combination of insight, knowledge and principles to reach a discerned conclusion of truth with appropriate action. A dictionary definition is “the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.” A common language description might be: figuring out what is the right or best thing to do.
Man is created in the image of God. (Gen. 1:26)
Some say that only refers to Adam and Eve, and now everyone is in the image of Adam and Eve. The inference here is to the perfection in Adam and then again in the incarnation of Christ. Everyone else is sinful. However, in the creation of man, God gave mankind the potential for good through certain gifts or characteristics that come from being in the image of God. Some of these characteristics are emotions, self-awareness, the ability to choose and love, creativity, possession of a conscience, possession of an eternal soul, and even a sense of humor. How we use all of these in our time on earth is a testimony to the wisdom that we possess.
The wisdom of God is never changing. God is all knowing; He knows all that was, is, and will be. There can be nothing to affect His wisdom. He knows all the options and all the possibilities and He knows what WILL happen. He will never say, “I didn’t see that coming.” There are no uncertainties for God. If you know exactly what will happen, you have unlimited power. That’s God. (He has the unlimited power thing.)
Man is a finite creature. He has a beginning and an end. He starts as an empty canvas and everything that occurs during his life span affects him – everything from conception on. In fact, everything that happens in his great grandparents, grandparents and parents lives is said to have an effect on a man’s life. (Ex. 34:7) Man must rely on all of those gifts to gain wisdom for all of the choices he must make during his life. Man does not simply receive a stimulus and react. He has the ability to react in different ways. He can step back and analyze himself and everything that goes into the stimulus. That can include using enormous amounts of related data that includes all of his memories, knowledge from others, knowledge of his own tendencies, analysis of emotions and actually anything that has occurred in the past, which has had a direct or indirect influence (great or small) on him. He can use that internal compass that God has put in all of us that helps differentiate “good” from “evil.” (This usually involves an internal battle between selfishness and fairness.) He can use his imagination to create alternative responses and to consider consequences and rewards for each. And he can set a plan of action, establish goals and then implement that plan and even create contingencies or exit strategies for every choice.
The wisdom of man, unfortunately, is always changing. Since all of the experiences, knowledge, successes, failures, pleasures, sorrows… everything from the past influences man’s wisdom, it is temporal. That means tomorrow his wisdom will change because he will have the new experiences, knowledge, etc. that will happen today.
Obviously, the more information that a man has, the better equipped he is to make a wise choice. Wisdom is that process of analysis that helps you to arrive at the best choice. People also have different processes for analysis. Emotions, desires, fears, selfishness, impatience, laziness, and things both positive and negative can affect how we analyze all of the knowledge in order to make a decision. Insignificant factors might receive a higher priority because of these characteristics and produce decisions which will sooner or later be regretted. Lessons may or may not be learned from mistakes and successes. Failures do seem to teach mankind more than successes, but history has shown that history seems to be forgotten easily.
With the instability, fallibility, and partiality of man’s wisdom, there is an obvious need for something more reliable. It is astounding that when presented with the perfect source for infallible, unchanging, comprehensive, and all-powerful wisdom, mankind rejects it and uses his own.
The best wisdom man can ever achieve is the wisdom that he gets from God. And there are numerous fringe benefits.
Solomon is said to be the wisest man who ever lived, because when told by God in a dream “Ask for whatever you want me to give you,” Solomon requested wisdom to be a good ruler. (I Kings 3:5-15)
In Proverbs 19:8, Solomon said, “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.”