Pursuing Wisdom – Part 4
Review: 5 books of wisdom in Bible: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Eccl, SoS.
You won’t get wisdom by reading them – only by meditation.
Like panning for gold, or digging deep. It takes time.
Solomon was the wisest man on earth and he got wisdom the same way we can. He asked God for it in faith. HE had a dream of God asking him to ask Him for anything he wanted – anything at all! He asked for wisdom. We are instructed to follow his example and ask:
“If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men generously and and without scolding you, and it will be given you.” James 1:5
This request for wisdom is a promise from God for us to cash in on. The only condition He attaches to this is “But let him ask in faith, without wavering . . .” Verse 6.
Faith is based on a promise from God. You have heard God’s Word that if you lack wisdom, you can ask God and it will be given you! Faith takes God’s Word to the bank and cashes it.
But you must also notice what is in front of this verse prior to the instruction to ask God for wisdom.
“My brothers, count it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the trying of your faith develops patience. But let patience perfect its work, that you may be perfect (mature) and complete, lacking nothing.” Verse 2-4.
- When you are in a trial/trouble don’t lose your joy. Ask God for wisdom He will give it, but you will need to have patience because wisdom is not usually downloaded from heaven in an instant. Wisdom comes out of a relationship of walking through all the uncertainty of life with God.
We are not to seek God for guidance – we are told to seek His face! Out of a relationship of abiding with God will come your guidance and wisdom and everything you will need.
- You could sum that all of life is in reality, a discovery of God and what He is really like.
God’s thoughts and ways are not our ways! Isa. 55:8-9
The Paradox of God
1. He never changes.
2. He is unpredictable. He is consistent because His nature never changes. But beyond that He is unpredictable!
Paradox = 2 seemingly conflicting ideas contained in the same truth. For example: God is just and righteous and demands the death penalty for sin. Yet He is a loving Father who paid that price Himself. Many things in the kingdom of God are a paradox: We find our life by losing it. We give in order to receive.
God loves doing things unpredictably. This is what keeps the joy in our journey. We can’t figure out how this movie will end.
Ill. Instead of sending a huge army to liberate Israel from Egyptian slavery – He sent an old man who stuttered with a stick in his hand! God is Unpredictable!
Joshua and walked city of Jericho. Walk around 7 days!
Gideon – eliminate 2/3rds of your army to win!
Jesus – Lazarus is dying! I know, let him die. “What kind of Savior are you?” Mysteriously Unpredictable!
Your present trial – how will it end?
Discovering wisdom is discovering God’s thoughts and ways. It is like panning for gold or digging for gold. It takes time and patience is needed to walk with God and trust Him. Wisdom is uncovered slowly over time. Guidance comes out of an intimate relationship with God!
Ill. Many of you have heard me tell you a couple years ago I was going off by myself on a prayer time with God. While driving I was thinking about the upcoming message I would preach on Sunday. Suddenly HS clearly spoke to my mind, “Should preaching be your priority?”
Obviously not. Out of relationship with God the preaching will come. Everything in our lives is to come out of an intimate relationship with God – every bit of guidance – every wisdom – every revelation – every solution to a problem.
“When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face Lord, I shall seek.” Psalm 27:8 - The command is simple: Seek Me for who I am, not for what I can do for you. If you will take care of the relationship, God will take care of giving you direction!
I have not arrived but I am learning to make this happen in my life. Relationship with God first – everything else after that.
Ill. After a hard few weeks dealing with several issues I felt I needed a day alone with God and no distractions. Pam could tell I needed some time and so Monday I went to the beach alone with God. My whole purpose was to just enjoy God – not prepare for a message, pray about a problem – just a day with God alone all day.
I love walking down by the water and taking a long walk just worshipping, singing, admiring the creation of God. I was walking along and suddenly a piece of a sand dollar caught my eye. Normally I could care less but this caught my eye. I walked over it and then stopped and back up to find it. It was just a small piece of a sand dollar.
Pic of plain sand dollar here:
So I picked it up and asked God was there something He wanted me to see in this? Then I turned it over and this is what I saw on the back side.
Pic of sand dollar with “Jesus” on it here:
Someone wrote on the back of this piece of sand dollar the name Jesus. What are the odds of a preacher talking to God and finding this particular piece? Only God.
For me a broken piece of sand dollar with Jesus written on it. The sand dollar has symbols of birth and death of Jesus.
1. 4 holes and 1 – Roman spear.
2. One side Easter lily with star in middle – Wiseman
3. Poinsettia on other side – Christmas time.
4. Break open center and 5 white doves
Point: Jesus was broken to give you peace. Your brokenness to do God’s will brings you peace too.
Ill. It is like God told Jeremiah to go down to the Potters house. God could have told Jeremiah what He wanted him to know but instead God chose a visual aid to be Jeremiah’s wisdom teacher.
We have to grow in patience in our relationship with God:
1. For small children we hold their hand.
2. For teenagers, such attention would be overbearing. So we coach them.
3. For adults we empower them. They have a green light to proceed until God turns it red.
- Isaiah 30:21 “when”
Finding wisdom is not enough. You will have to know how to be patient and endure if you want to finish well! Last week we connected getting wisdom from God with having the fear of the Lord more than the fear of man. As long as you fear man and crave the approval of people more than God then any word you hear from God will be distorted and you are likely to misunderstand what God is saying or said.
Today I want to focus on the connection between getting wisdom from God and patience.
Like I said about reading the wisdom books of the Bible. You don’t read Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes like you would the gospels. If you do, then it will not benefit you. You read them slowly, preferable one proverb or one sentence at a time and then take time to marinate in it to get all the wisdom hidden inside it. This requires patience – patience with God, with yourself and with others.
The enemy is a restless spirit and very anxious. You are most like him when you are being restless and anxiously hurried. He knows an obvious attack from him you might recognize and resist. So instead he tries more subtle ways to keep you from progressing in the Spirit.
Two devices Satan uses are: Hurry and pressure.
Satan will try and pressure you to make a decision or do something that God is not leading you to do. Or he will to get you in a hurry and rush; when most people make serious mistakes. Most car accidents are because someone was in a hurry.
Jesus was busy, but never hurried. There were times He was so busy with people He did not even have time to eat (Woman at well), but He knew He could not go any faster than the Father leading Him.
These days, people learn faster, read faster, talk faster, play faster. We have a generation of impatient people!
Ill. Driving in Fruitland Park 35 mph. A car pulled right up behind me almost on my bumper. I could see he was a young guy. I did speed up to 40 thinking he may have an emergency but I could not pull off the road where I was. I turned into a turning lane so he could get by and he quickly sped past me and raised his hand outside his window giving me a signal that I was number 1 to him! He was hurried and angry!
Ill. A few days earlier I was at the gas pump and a lady on the other side of the same pump as mine started cussing up a storm. She told me the attendant put the amount she just paid on my pump. We both went to the window at the gas pump at Walmart and I told the young guy what happened. Next thing you know there was a line of people piling up behind us. Apparently some computer glitch. The guy was on the phone to his manager and people waiting in line were furious. It took a few minutes to resolve. The poor guy was trying to do his best with an impatient lynch mob.
- I’ve had my moments too.
Ill. I received a few speeding tickets. Most of the time I had no reason to speed. Hurry has become a habit. Being hurried is not just about speed. It can be a sign of a restless and driven heart. Hurry can be me trying to take back control of something I am suppose to yield to God.
Things beyond my control – things in my control. I wonder if all those things that I feel I must get done – really matter to God?
But the impatience in the church doesn’t seem all that different from the world! The first trait HS mentions when He describes love in the love chapter (I Cor. 13) is
“Love is patient.” Love cannot be rushed! Are we growing in love? If we truly are then the first trait of love will be manifested in us!
Ill. When I was growing up I remember older people being called slow. It seems to me that older people back then were the most patient people. Craftsmen carpenters or women knitting and crocheting or quilting – almost a lost art.
What kids call boring today was the normal pace back then. We had TV with only 3 network channels. Cartoons were on Saturday mornings. They were not available 24/7.
More children are diagnosed with ADHD today than every before? Why? Many reasons. But maybe one is these kids don’t get to see many older adults who can show them what a patient person is like! I hear so many older adults say things like, “I just don’t have the patience to be around children. They drive me crazy!”
I want my grandkids to think papa is so patient, kind, and quiet.
Ill. A lady named Elisabeth Elliot use to have a radio broadcast. Hearing her voice captured my attention one day. She had something I wanted. It was a quiet heart that attracts the Spirit of God. If you want to grow in patience you have to be intentional about it. Some books that might help are:
Devotional book by Elisabeth Elliot, “Keep a Quiet Heart”.
An Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling
Our hurried life wants an instant wisdom download from God. But wisdom does not normally come that way. One of the fruits of the Spirit required in order to find God’s wisdom is:
Patience – the fruit of the Spirit.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into diverse trials, knowing that the trying of your faith develops patience. But let patience have her perfecting work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4
“Patience” = hypomone = from the word cheerful. It is steadfast, enduring, hopeful, and waiting. Able to persevere, endure hardship by cheerfully expecting the goodness of God.
I have preached 4 messages including today on pursuing wisdom. What have we learned so far?
1. Wisdom should be our number one request. We must go to God first when we need wisdom.
2. Wisdom is like hidden gold. You find it like you do searching. It is accumulated through a life of walking with God.
3. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom but the fear of man and needing approval is what will hinder you from hearing God’s wisdom for yourself.
4. Today – we learn patience is vital to getting wisdom from God.
Getting wisdom is not enough. You will need patience to be able to finish well!
Ill. In 1849 Gold rush a man named Waterman Bodey came to California and searched ten years for gold and found none. Eventually he made his way to a remote area in the Sierras to explore where no one had explored before. He found a Mother lode of gold. It was the richest deposit ever in California.
The problem was where he found this gold, the climate was much more harsh than where he had been living. The temperatures would drop to 20 below zero for weeks. Bodey did not have enough supplies to be able to last through such a harsh winter. Had he been more prepared to endure the harsh winter he would been the richest man in the world by Spring time.
Without patience when the winters of adversity come we will quit too soon.
Could it be that the trial you are facing now is just training for the greater ones God knows are ahead?
If you will cooperate with God now and allow Him to go back into some areas of your life – those places where you are still impatient, insecure, those places you still have the wrong view of God, and let Him fill up those place with life and adventure with Him – then you can find the mother lode of Gold with God.
We don’t know what lies ahead. We won’t be prepared for hard places if we don’t allow the fruit of patience to grow in us where we are today.
Part of wisdom is letting patience have her perfecting work in you.
Ask God for wisdom – trust He will lead you to find it.
Be patient in your trials with a cheerful expectancy of good from God eventually.