Awaiting the Kingdom
Tim Moore: Throughout human history, learned men and women have aspired to wisdom. Long understood as a level of discernment beyond mere knowledge, the quest for wisdom motivated great thinkers like Socrates and Aristotle and Confucius. Within the Bible, wisdom was understood to begin with a reverence for the Lord God, and yet be a gift bestowed by Him alone.
Regarding Festus’ words to Paul where he actually dismissed Paul’s testimony by exclaiming, “Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad” (Acts 26:24). Some have always been suspicious of too much learning and discernment beyond their own understanding. Throughout the long period of the Dark Ages, misguided priests and magistrates prohibited common people from reading, let alone owning, the Bible for themselves. With an imposed famine of the Word of the Lord, immorality and doctrinal drift went largely unchecked.
The Reformation ushered in by Martin Luther began to cast off the shackles of ignorance. As followers of Jesus Christ once again studied the text of Scripture and feasted on the Word of the Lord, a new era of revival and evangelism swept the world.
But, in recent years, we have witnessed yet another famine. Although the Word of the Lord is readily available, most people throughout the West refuse to take and eat it. Like spiritual anorexics, they run to and fro but are spiritually starving, not because they cannot access God’s Word, but because they have no interest in doing so.
Simultaneously, and caused by the same spiritual myopia, our culture now scoffs at the very concept of wisdom. “Whose wisdom?” they ask. Casting themselves away from conventions and human understandings handed down since the Creation, they are adrift in a sea of irrationality and moral oblivion. When the leading scholars and legal minds of a society cannot even define the meaning of the word, “woman,” you know that sanity has left the scene.
We need to heed the warnings Paul issued in Romans 1. As our culture exchanges the truth of God for a lie, we are pitching over into depravity at an accelerating pace.
The Lord told Daniel that in the end times, “many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase” (Daniel 12:4). We recognize that the positive aspect of that Word is that the Holy Spirit will enable understanding of prophecies that are sealed up until the end times. But, there is another connotation as well: although knowledge will increase, wisdom and discernment will elude the unbelieving world.
Rightfully did Solomon ask, “How long, O naïve ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:22). Unless a miracle of God reforms our society one more time, I believe it is destined to decline until the Day of the Lord arrives in full force.
Proverbs is full of pithy statements that jar our sensibilities and help us stay on the straight and narrow path.
I hope that you make this little book of wisdom a part of your regular Bible study. If you do, it will draw you closer and closer to the One who is Wisdom personified.