Tag Archives: wisdom

Isaiah 29

Scripture: from verse 9

If you make yourselves stupid, you will stay stupid!
If you blind yourselves, you will stay blind!

Observation:  This passage is about the people of Israel who pay lip service to God but mostly live as if He doesn’t exist or can’t see them.  God later compares them to a pot saying that its maker didn’t make it and has no discernment.  It’s not that they don’t know about God – they just don’t really think He sees them and knows them and is relevant to their plans.

The result is situations of dramatic irony.  If they asked God for guidance and relied on His wisdom, they could make really good choices.  But as it is, they make the best choices they can with the information they are willing to acknowledge, and God is left sitting helplessly like the movie audience watching the ditsy blonde walk into the creepy building.  She’s the only one who doesn’t know it’s a bad idea, but she does it anyway.

Application:  Assume God has useful input.  Ask for it.  Don’t wait for Him to prove that He’s stronger than you (as God says He will in verse 14) as that’s often a rather unpleasant process.

Prayer:  Father, I praise you for having far more wisdom and knowledge than I have.  Thank you for guiding me when I ask you to.  Help me to follow you, and bless me.  Amen.


Isaiah 21

Scripture: from verse 12

“Morning is coming, but also the night.
If you want to ask, ask! Come back again!”

Observation:  This is the answer given to the people asking how much longer the night (presumably meaning the period of destruction) will last.  I don’t really know what it means, but I suspect He’s saying that they haven’t asked their real question.  As long as they are asking questions that are only tangential to what they really want to know, it doesn’t matter how clear or how cryptic that answers are.  They won’t get their real answer until they ask their real question.

Application:  God wants a relationship with us.  That means we have to communicate properly, and ask about the things that are bothering us.  We can’t hide behind more polite questions and expect to know Him fully.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, help me to know what I am not asking my real questions – when I am being embarrassed or coy or making assumptions that can’t be supported and asking questions based on that.  Teach me to turn to you for knowledge, and thank you for giving me wisdom when I ask for it.  Amen.

Isaiah 8:11-23

Scripture: verse 16

Wrap up this document, and confine its teaching to those I have instructed.

Application:  I’m not certain how much of the preceding passage is “this document,” but probably just the last few verses, which are about how the secular worldview is completely different from the godly worldview, and God is present among His people to be a shelter for those who seek His worldview and an obstacle for those who don’t.  He’s present so that they cannot sit on the fence or pretend to be neutral.  There isn’t a third option.

I’m not sure why the teaching had to be concealed.  Admittedly one does not tell people about the trap one is planning, but I would think that they people who rejected God weren’t listening anyway.  Perhaps God is also trying to avoid a Pascal’s Wager sort of situation.

I hate it when knowledge is deliberately withheld.  Even when there’s a good reason for it, it really bugs me.  Most of the time that’s probably a good thing.

But…there’s a time to stay silent.  God told Isaiah not to broadcast this teaching, and there are other times He gave similar instructions.

My mom said once that God once gave her the Scripture “do not awaken love before love’s time” (Song of Songs 8:4) for one of her children, meaning that she needed to sit back and let God work on the child quietly, rather than pushing for right behavior.  I don’t know the details of that situation, but I can think of times I have needed to let God work rather than try to push myself.

And recently I’ve been part of several conversations about confronting others about their poor behavior or challenging others about their beliefs, and I keep coming away feeling that in many cases we need to be quiet and pray instead of expecting the issue to be resolved on the human level.  We’re too prone to let in anger and bitterness, and minds that are closed to God aren’t going to be listening anyway.

I don’t really know what to do with this.  I don’t want to be copping out, avoiding conflict because I dislike it.  I admit I find it much easier to pray than to talk.  But I also see plenty of times when I have forced myself to speak up and it has just backfired, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.  And maybe it did some good anyway, underneath the surface, but maybe I should have waited until God gave me words.

Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spirits and principalities (Eph 6:12).  Flesh and blood are right in front of us, but too often that’s the wrong way to attack.

Observation:  Ask God for guidance, I guess.  He knows we need it.

Prayer:  Father, make me an instrument of your peace.  Teach me to pray or speak or be silent as needed.  Amen.

Ephesians 4:11-15

Scripture: from verses 14 and 15

We will then no longer be infants tossed about by the waves and blown along by every wind of teaching, at the mercy of people clever in devising ways to deceive.  Instead, speaking the truth in love…

Observation:  It shouldn’t be a surprise that we all start as infants.  It’s not human nature to discern truth instinctively; we need to be taught.  The previous verses were about the structure God set in place to make sure His people got the teaching they needed – emissaries, prophets, proclaimers, shepherds and teachers.  This isn’t something God takes lightly.

And it isn’t something we should take lightly either.  There’s a warning in here, against being too content to be an infant, and against insisting that we can figure it out on our own, without teachers and shepherds.  If we don’t seek out those who speak the truth in love, we are vulnerable to those who seek to deceive.

Application:  Listen to those who speak the truth in love. Listen to people who know more than you.  This isn’t confined to theology, either, given some of the medical quakery out there.  It isn’t fun to listen to truth, but it’s much more rewarding than watching the equivalent of those Baby Einstein movies all day.

Prayer: Yeshua, help me to grow to full knowledge in you.  Lead me to the teachers you want me to learn from, and help me to listen to them.  Thank you for being Truth, and therefore reliable.  Amen.

Ephesians 1:16-19

Scripture: from verses 16 and 17

I keep asking…the Father of Glory to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you will have full knowledge of Him.

Observation:  Sha’ul (Paul) prayed for us to understand God.  For us to have “full knowledge” of God.  Kinda like “full throttle,” I suppose – opening up a source of power that can launch us into greater and greater speeds.

It says in Proverbs that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  It also says that we should seek wisdom more than riches.  (Admittedly it also points out that wisdom will lead to riches, so it’s not as if we’re sacrificing much on that account.)  I think this is why – because with divine wisdom and revelation we have full knowledge of God, and with full knowledge of God we can do anything.

Application:  Seek wisdom.  Watch for it and cling to it whenever you do find it.  Learn more about God.

Prayer: Father of Glory, give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that I may have full knowledge of you.  It says right here that this is a good thing to ask for, so I’m asking.  Teach me to know you, and teach me to recognize wisdom when I see it.  I want to know your truth, God, so please reveal it.  Amen.