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The Source Of True Wisdom

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For most people the pursuit of wisdom begins with life in the family. Thus Solomon, the author of Proverbs portrays a father’s instruction to his son:

Listen my son, accept what I say,
And the years of your life will be many
I guide you in the way of wisdom
And lead you along straight paths.
Hold on to instruction; do not let it go;
Guard it well, for it is your life. (Prov. 4:10-11, 13).

When this is done, the son acquires the ability to begin to discern wisdom (cf. Prov. 1:5; 6:20-22)

As life goes on, he learns that the true source of wisdom for good living is found in God. Accordingly, he seeks the Lord for proper instruction:

Show me your ways, O LORD,
Teach me your paths;
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
For you are God my savior,
And my hope is in you all day long. (Ps. 25:4-5)

This is especially true in times of danger, as a psalmist says later:

Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to rescue me,
Be my rock of rescue,
a strong fortress to save me. (Ps. 31:2-3)

As Alexander points out, the psalmist declares, “God is his protector, and must therefore, of necessity, protect him, not only for the sufferer’s sake, but for the honor of his own name or manifested nature.”1 Indeed, the psalmist is petitioning God not only for protection but for the Lord’s wise leadership in his daily life.

This he could and must do, for by so doing he gains both wisdom and fellowship with God (Ps. 42:3-5). For he learns that God himself is available to all, for his guidance and leadership are limitless and extend everywhere (Pss. 48:14; 139:8-10). Indeed, the Lord is mankind’s ultimate guide (Pss. 23:3b; 67:4), now and forever.

You guide me with your counsel
And afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you. (Ps. 73:24-25).

As Fanny Crosby declares

All the way my Saviour leads me,
Oh the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed, immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day.
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way.2

May we all learn to lean on the Lord for His guidance. May we approach him and appeal to him in true humility. For the Lord, “Guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (Ps. 25:9). Those who do so gain integrity of heart: “With humility comes wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them” (Prov. 11:2b-3). So equipped the humble, righteous person can give sound advice to others: “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promise instruction. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Prov. 16:23-24). Such a person is able to give advice because the Holy Spirit dwells in him. Accordingly, as Jesus promised his disciples, “When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth” (Jn. 16:13).

It is no less true today, for as the hymn writer pleads: “Holy Spirit, be my Guide, Holy Spirit, my door’s opened wide.”3 George Croly adds: “Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh; teach me the struggles of the soul to bear, to check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh; teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.”4

Even in times of testing a committed believer can be assured of God’s presence and strength including the need for necessary physical strength (Ps. 18:1-2). For in our weakness we can find God’s strength to be our sufficiency for each day’s challenges (2 Cor. 12:9-11; cf. Pss. 27:14; 31:24; 46:1).5

1 Joseph A. Alexander, Commentary on Psalms (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1991) 140-41.

2 Fanny J. Crosby, “All the Way My Saviour Leads.”

3 Mildred Cope, “Holy Spirit, Be My Guide”.

4 George Croly, “Spirit of God, Descend.”

5 Richard D. Patterson, “The Source of True Strength,” (Biblical Studies Press, 2013), 10.

Related Topics: Wisdom

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