God Is Wise

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We begin the article with a technical definition of wisdom as defined by Alan Richardson’s Theological Word Book of the Old Testament as follows:

“[The main synonyms are NyI;b, hÎnyI;b, and hÎn…wbV;t. The verb NyI;b is used more widely to mean “consider,” “discern” “perceive,” but the nouns are close synonyms to hDmVkDj and are used especially in Prov and Job. In the well known verse Prov 4:7, “understanding” is not a higher stage than “wisdom,” but a poetic synonym used for emphasis. The root lAkDc is also widely used for ordinary intelligence and skill. it is often used for that wisdom which brings success even prosperity. This wisdom was possessed by David (1 Sam 18:14) and will characterize the Messiah (Jer 23:5; Isa 52:13). But the Hiphil participle is used particularly in Prov as another synonym of hDmVkDj. This word, lyI;kVcAm, is also used extensively to designate a type of psalm. hD¥yIv…w;t, like lAkDc, has the double meaning of wisdom and the success which is the effect of wisdom. R.L.H.]
“The essential idea of MAkDj represents a manner of thinking and attitude concerning life’s experiences; including matters of general interest and basic morality, These concerns relate to prudence in secular affairs, skilis in the arts, moral sensitivity, and experience in the ways of the Lord.

“Reflected in OT wisdom is the teaching of a personal God who is holy and just and who expects those who know him to exhibit his character in the many practical affairs of life. This perfect blend of the revealed will of a holy God with the practical human experiences of life is also distinct from the speculative wisdom of the Greeks. The ethical dynamic of Greek philosophy lay in the intellect; if a person had perfect knowledge he could live the good life (Plato). Knowledge was virtue. The emphasis of OT Wisdom was that the human will, in the realm of practical matters, was to be subject to divine causes. Therefore, Hebrew wisdom was not theoretical and speculative. It was practical, based on revealed principles of right and wrong, to be lived out in daily life.

“In the historical and prophetical books, the word hokma is sometimes used just to refer to ordinary intelligence and skill (Ex 35:35; Dan. 1:4), but even there sometimes the divine and moral wisdom is in view.
“The wisdom literature, while sometimes using wisdom as prudence and cleverness, majors on ethical and spiritual conduct. “Because God revealed himself to Israel, their sacred literature has the effect of a divine imperative; MAkDj refers to godly cleverness and skill, which results in practical action. The one who hears (Prov 8:33; 23:19; 27:1), will be industrious, will know how to talk, and his will, will be in captivity to God’s. He will have life. This wins divine approbation.

“The usages of hDmVkDj cover the whole gamut of human experience. Wisdom is seen in the skill of technical work in making garments for the high priest (Ex 28:3), craftsmanship in metal work (31:3, 6), as well as the execution of battle tactics (Isa 10:13). Wisdom is required from government leaders and heads of state for administration (Deut 34:9; 2 Sam 14:20), including pagan leaders as well as Israelites (Ezek 28:4–5). The Messiah demonstrates wisdom and discernment in his function as leader of his people (Isa 11:2).

“Wisdom is expressed in shrewdness. The woman of Tekoa averted a town’s bloodshed in her clever plea for its safety (2 Sam 20:22). But a shrewd person is not to boast of his gift (Jer 9:22). The ostrich displays traits lacking shrewdness when she acts in her silly selfish manner (Job 39:17). The gift of shrewdness can be used in an ungodly way to deny the omniscience of God (Isa 47:10).
“Prudence, an aspect of wisdom, is expressed by those who speak with wisdom (Ps 37:30; Prov 10:31), and who use time carefully (Ps 90:12). This kind of wisdom in the practical affairs of life is derived from the revelation of God (Isa 33:6).
“The source of all wisdom is a personal God who is holy, righteous, and just. His wisdom is expressed against the background of his omnipotence and omniscience. By his wisdom God numbered the clouds (Job 38:37), founded the earth (Prov 3:19), and made the world (Jer 10:12). Wisdom, being found in God, is regarded as a divine attribute (Job 12:13). He alone knows wisdom in its truest sense (28:20, 23). The wisdom of God is not found in man’s speculation. He alone must provide this wisdom for man’s guidance so that man can live the best possible moral and ethical Iife (Prov 2:6; Job 11:6).
“In proverbial fashion, the Bible personifies divine wisdom so that it seems to be a hypostasis of God, but stops just short of giving it separate existence. This wisdom was brought forth before all things (Prov 8:22–31). She has built a house and prepared a banquet for those who will listen to her (9:1f.). She even teaches in public places (1:20; 8:1, 6, 11–12). By her instruction her students receive a divine spirit (1:2), the naive become wise, politicians become wise, and those who receive from her wealth are crowned with honor and riches (8:1–21).
“Wisdom for man is not only to make one humanly wise, but also to lead him to fear the Lord, for this is the beginning of all wisdom (Job 28:28). True wisdom for man involves knowing the Holy One. So, men are to listen to the wisdom of God with attentive ears (Prov 2:2). In fact, inner happiness only comes when man attains this wisdom (3:13) through a strenuous search (2:4), which is actually a search for God himself (2:5). Skeptics will never find this wisdom and will never know the full meaning of life (14:6f.). In the great poem of Job 28 wisdom in this special biblical sense is practically defined as trust in God and the avoidance of sin. (Cf. the emphasis on hDmVkDj as referring to moral wisdom in contrast to sinful folly in R. L. Harris, “Proverbs,” in WBC, pp. 553–54.)”


As noted above, Job states that true wisdom, not of man or philosophies, comes from people’s attitude toward God. Psalms and Proverbs continue the thought by explaining the basis for the “fear of the Lord” is the Word of God, i.e., the Commandments, which can only be understood by the doing. These Words tell of people’s relationship with God by acknowledging Him as the One Creator.

Job 28:28 “And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.’”

Psa. 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
            A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
            His praise endures forever.

Prov. 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
            And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

People can discern the Wisdom of God by interacting with nature and people when they know that the Nature of the Creator must be expressed in the Creation. So the wise of the Bible acknowledge God’s working within their mind and character gives them the ability to give an answer.

Gen. 41:16 Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”

Ezra 7:25 “You, Ezra, according to the wisdom of your God which is in your hand, appoint magistrates and judges that they may judge all the people who are in the province beyond the River, even all those who know the laws of your God; and you may teach anyone who is ignorant of them.

Dan. 1:17 As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams.

Wisdom extends from skills of designing and making clothing to developing and producing various other kinds of goods.

Ex. 28:3 “You shall speak to all the skillful persons whom I have endowed with the spirit of wisdom, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister as priest to Me.

Also as noted above, leaders lead best when they derive their ability from wisdom as well as receiving proper authority to rule.

Num. 27:20 “You shall put some of your authority on him, in order that all the congregation of the sons of Israel may obey him.

2Chr. 9:23 And all the kings of the earth were seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart.

While age gives a person a large amount of wisdom, which one cannot gain by reading books or talking to the aged, ultimate wisdom comes from God, His Spirit, Mind and Breath. Yet one must still actively live according to the laws of Wisdom to become completely imbued with it.

Job 32:7 “I thought age should speak,
            And increased years should teach wisdom.
Job 32:8 “But it is a spirit in man,
            And the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.

Prov. 2:6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
            From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Prov. 2:7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
            He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,

Certainly, when a believer receives God’s Spirit (His Mind, Breath and Power like the wind), his entire being becomes one with God, a Child of God, and that wisdom within develops his love for God in a way beyond all else. None other can understand this love from and of God and the wisdom in knowing the predestination God has for His Own.

1Cor. 2:6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;
1Cor. 2:7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;
1Cor. 2:8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;
1Cor. 2:9 but just as it is written,
1Cor. 2:10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.

Paul prays that believers become awash and inundated with this wisdom to reveal all to them.

Eph. 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

Choose now, as God says in Deuteronomy, between life and death, between keeping the Words of Life, the Commandments, or not keeping those Word of Life.

Prov. 13:14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
            To turn aside from the snares of death.

God’s Words, the Commandments, Are Wisdom

Psa. 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
            A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
            His praise endures forever.

To know God is faithful and loving, gives understanding about fearing Him enough to keep the words of wisdom.

Prov. 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
            And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Just as God created the heavens and the Earth by, impart, His Wisdom, His Commandments are embodied within this Creation; therefore, when by keeping the Commandments people are becoming in harmony with God in whose image they are made, we learn of and practice the Way of Wisdom, the Way of Life.

Deut. 4:5 “See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it.
Deut. 4:6 “So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

1Cor. 12:8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit…

How the Commandments Impart Wisdom:

Ex. 20:2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Ex. 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.

He alone created life and the laws of the creation and the laws of life.

Ex. 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
Ex. 20:5 “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
Ex. 20:6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Only God can give life; those who refuse to accede to Him will never have a good life much less eternal life.

Ex. 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

People ought to respect his name for giving us life and all its potential, we must not take His name in vain for that is not honoring Him, giving Him His due respect because He is God, the Creator.

Ex. 20:8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Ex. 20:9 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
Ex. 20:10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.
Ex. 20:11 “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

There are various ways to keep the Sabbath set apart from the rest of the workweek. Among them is not working or laboring, listening to God’s words of wisdom, having a holy convocation and thinking and talking about God.

Keep the Sabbath: as God put the sun and moon in the heavens as signs for Holy Days including the Sabbath, we not only need the rest but ought to imitate the one who rested and made that day holy.

Ex. 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

They have procreated, nurtured, taught and loved us.

Ex. 20:13 “You shall not murder.

Obviously, one does not take a life from another to whom God gave life through the parents.

Ex. 20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.

God demands a committed relationship of marriage; nothing less reaches that level and is good enough for those made in God’s image.

Ex. 20:15 “You shall not steal.

It is also a form of murder by taking away that part of one’s life committed to earning what they have.

Ex. 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Taking away a person’s reputation takes away his life he lived to earn all that he has, his good name most importantly; at the same time, to be a true witness results in the greater good even if a person loses goods or life for doing evil like stealing or murder.

Ex. 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

What is theirs is theirs. Satan wanted what was God’s and rebelled against Him and came against mankind; people are made in God’s image, not an inferior entity or anything created.

Wisdom rests on the foundation of the Commandments, which God gave to mankind to give them life, life more abundantly and eternal life filled with His wisdom.

The Covenant Is Wisdom

Deut. 29:9 “So keep the words of this covenant to do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.

Wisdom has to do with talking and behaving in a way that promotes life and life more abundantly. That way has to do with living in a way of love; loving God by the first four and loving people by the last six. Serving instead of being served, giving instead of taking, humble instead of proud, working instead of getting. Each of these brings abundant life, if one is wise enough to do them.

Cause and Effect

Deut. 32:29     “Would that they were wise, that they understood this,
            That they would discern their future!

Job endured illness, poverty, loss of family and annoying friends because he was wise and understood that the end justified the means. Jesus suffered as well because the end justified the means. Indeed the means lead to the end. All earthly gains are nothing compared to the ends.


However, only righteous means will lead to ends God promises.

Job 8:8 “Please inquire of past generations,
            And consider the things searched out by their fathers.
Job 8:9 “For we are only of yesterday and know nothing,
            Because our days on earth are as a shadow.
Job 8:10 “Will they not teach you and tell you,
            And bring forth words from their minds?

From all we learn from the past and the creation, God’s Words are far more powerful wisdom that teaches us what we cannot learn from experience as far as the Way of Wisdom and true life.


Gil Kovacs, Pastor
Sabbath Christian Church