There is a famine of wisdom in the land. One can find very little evidence that wisdom is a desired commodity in the twenty-first century. The culture, the halls of education, the houses of government, the homes, the world of entertainment, and even churches seem to have pressed wisdom into obscurity.
We have knowledge, but wisdom is not gained by increasing knowledge, and the two are certainly not synonymous.
The present culture is obscenely rich with knowledge. We know more than any generation in history.
It is estimated that about a half million books are printed every day, and about 2,000 pages are added to man’s scientific knowledge every minute. It is estimated that the world’s store of knowledge doubles every 6 months.
We have more knowledge than we can get our arms around. We can’t buy a computer hard drive large enough to store all we know. Having enough knowledge is not our problem.
Where can wisdom be found in our world? Certainly not in Washington. Forty years ago the Supreme Court abandoned wisdom in legalizing abortion. In recent years the landslide of foolish legislation and executive orders far outweigh the few wise actions coming from politicians. We are swimming in foolish debt. We defend the “right” of citizens to violate basic moral code. More laws are rooted in greed, arrogance and human lust than those founded on the solid rock of wisdom.
The abundance of foolishness seems to be equal to the measure of spiritual darkness. That should not surprise us since God says He is the only source of wisdom. If we do not get wisdom from Him, we don’t have it.
The Bible – that’s the book that MSNBC News commentator Lawrence O’Donnell said absolutely no one believes any more – says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever” Psalm 111:10.
Job said, “With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding” Job 12:13.
Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs for this purpose: “To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity …” Proverbs 1:2-3. Wouldn’t you say this is something we desperately need?
Foolishness is not confined to the “secular” and those in darkness. Christians have seen our share of it in the mirror. How many times have we who are believers shamefully admitted that something we did was foolish? We only wish we could relive those moments and apply wisdom.
If you have held a place of leadership in a local church, you’ve seen foolish decisions by the pastor, church staff, deacons or committees. There have been foolish actions by those who believe they own the church and scheme behind the scenes to get their way.
The blind nature of pride prevents us from seeing our own foolish behavior.
I would like to suggest at least three steps we can take to stop the famine of wisdom.
First, acknowledge the source of wisdom. A certain amount of “good sense” comes from experience, but God is the absolute source of all wisdom. “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” Proverbs 2:6, NKJ.
No measure of experience will produce wisdom. A high IQ is not to be equated with wisdom. No amount of education will guarantee the acquisition of wisdom. It comes from God.
Second, actively work to acquire wisdom. Addressing believers, James writes, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” James 1:5, NASB. Before we say the wrong word; before we make the wrong decision, ask God for wisdom.
The growth of wisdom in our lives requires the removal of anything that resists wisdom, namely pride. I’ve never met a proud person who was wise or a wise person who was prideful. Sin is foolish in any form. And, sin will keep us from asking God for wisdom. A strong dose of humility, followed by repentance must introduce the process of asking.
Third, deliberately exercise wisdom. Apply it to the functions and activities you have control over. “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom” James 3:13, NKJ.
Conduct that is meek and wise must be intentionally cultivated. The epidemic “blame game,” the rampant disrespect for life and the blatant rejection of God’s standards reveal a shortage of wisdom, deficiency of character and the absence of teachability.
Maybe we who are believers can ask God for wisdom and show the rest of the country how it works.