Guaranteed Wisdom

wisdomHow Many Years of Experience?

Age does not guarantee wisdom. Not even experience guarantees wisdom. There is nothing magical about the lapse of time in one’s life that causes him to become a sage for the ages. We probably all know someone who doesn’t have 25 years of experience at his job, but instead, has experienced the same one year, 25 times in a row. No growth or maturation has taken place.

This was the case in the story of Job. Job’s three friends, older men in the community, were all sharing their insights as to why poor ol’ Job was experiencing such suffering. Each one was way off the mark. Finally, the younger, less experienced Elihu, who had been respectfully silently, observing the back-and-forth of his elders, could no longer sit idly by and allow such error and ignorance to prevail. He responded,

“I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know. [7] I thought, ‘Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.’ [8] But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. [9] It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right. (Job 32:6-9)

Elihu then went on to provide his diagnoses of Job’s situation.

The Real Source of Wisdom

We learn a very important principle from Elihu: Wisdom does not come automatically with age. Some folks never seem to learn. Instead, true wisdom comes from God himself. Wisdom, God’s wisdom, must be desired and intentionally sought. That takes effort, self-discipline, and commitment. But it will be found only in this way.

The chief source from which we gain godly wisdom is God’s Word. Psalm 119:99 says,
“I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and its focus, (almost exclusively so), is God’s Word. In that chapter, God’s Word is also referred to as his statute, law, precept, decree, and command. In each case it refers to God’s revelation of himself and his will to his people. His wisdom for the ages can be found therein. This is how he has chosen to guide us. Psalm 119:24 says, “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.”

Godly friends and teachers, informed by God’s Word are treasures. But it must be his Word that is the primary source for wisdom. I’ll take a mentor who has been seasoned by years of experience almost every time over a younger, less-experienced person, but especially if the former has walked with God during those years and sat under the tutelage of God’s Word. That’s where wisdom will be found. That’s also why we must “delight” in God’s Word each day – that we too might learn, grow, and one day be a source of godly wisdom for someone else.


Walking Points

• Who do you know in your life that is older and has walked closely with the Lord throughout his years, faithfully learning from God’s Word? Share a little of what you have seen in his life to lead you to this opinion of him.
• Why not take him out to lunch and ask him questions about important lessons he’s learned, how he’s persevered with the Lord, etc.
• Are you walking faithfully with the Lord, delighting in his Word, and being influenced by it?
• Is there a younger man in the faith whom you can counsel with wisdom you’ve learned? Why not meet with him, not to be his “guru,” but to build a relationship with him. And, who knows, you may have some words of wisdom that will bless him.


Prayer

Gracious God, you are sovereign, good, and all-wise. You are in control of the universe you have made and know best how it works. You love me and have my best interest at heart. Furthermore, you not only have my best interest but know best how to bring it about in my life. Therefore, I will trust you. Thank you for the gift of your Word that provides direction for me to follow. I needn’t grope in the dark, tripping over obstacles, when your Word is such a radiant and trustworthy light in my life. In the name of the One who is the Light of the world, I pray. Amen.


This Week’s Prayer Guide

[You can use this prayer guide in your own personal prayer time. However, I encourage you to use it with a group of Christian men. Each week you should spend time praising God for who he is, confessing your sin to him (be specific) as well as expressing gratitude to him for his gracious forgiveness. Also, don’t forget to thank God for the many ways he has poured out his goodness in your life. Then, focus on the following areas of supplication, which will change from week to week.]

Petitions – prayers for yourself

• Give me greater knowledge, depth of insight, and understanding of God’s Word.
• Remind me daily of who I am in Christ. Let me be defined by who God says I am, not the world around me.
• Guide me into greater understanding and faithfulness of God’s call in my life.
• This week’s events and interactions with others, planned and unplanned
• Other needs

Intercession – prayers for others

• My family
• My pastor(s), church staff, and missionaries
• Those struggling with anger, anxiety, or the overwhelming desire to please people at all costs
• Other needs

Prayer Journal: Week 51

wisdomHe who labors as he prays, lifts his heart to God with his hands. (Bernard of Clairvaux)


This Week’s Scripture

·         Exodus 3:1-15
·         Psalm 105
·         Romans 12:9-21
·         Matthew 16:21-28


Adoration

Psalm 105:1
Oh give thanks to the LORD;
call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!

O Happy Day, That Fixed My Choice (verse 1)
O happy day, that fixed my choice on thee, my Savior and my God!
Well may this glowing heart rejoice, and tell its raptures all abroad.
Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!
He taught me how to watch and pray, and live rejoicing every day.
(Philip Doddridge)

Take time now to offer God your praise and worship.


Confession

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:9-10)

Righteous Father, I have acted as if I hated thee, although thou art love itself; have contrived to tempt thee to the uttermost, to wear out thy patience; have lived evilly in word and action. Had I been a prince I would have long ago crushed such a rebel; Had I been a father I would long since have rejected my child. O, thou Father of my spirit, thou King of my life, cast me not into destruction, drive me not from thy presence, but wound my heart that it may be healed; break it that thine own hand may make it whole. In Christ I pray. Amen. (The Valley of Vision)

As David did in Psalm 139, ask the Lord to search you and know you through and through. Confess the sins God brings to mind, knowing you are forgiven and that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).


Thanksgiving

All-wise Lord of heaven and earth, I am grateful for the direction you give me for my life. I am humbled and thankful that you have not left me to grope in darkness to search in vain for the right path, but your Spirit has provided a light for me so I may follow the same road as my Savior. I pray Father, in your power, give me strength to follow your will for my life. Enable me to let my love be genuine and to abhor what is evil. Help me love others with a brotherly affection and continually and consistently show them honor. May I never be slothful in my zeal, but fervent in spirit, always serving you. Let me faithfully rejoice in hope, show patience in tribulation, and be constant in prayer. And may I think of others before myself by contributing to their needs and showing hospitality to them. Then, gracious God, when people see my life, let it point to you so that you, and you alone, receive all the praise and glory. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen. (based on Romans 12:9-13)

Spend some time reflecting on the prayer of thanksgiving above and then thank God for who he is and the many ways he has poured out his goodness and grace in your life.


Supplication (Petitions – prayers for yourself)

·         Help me to grow in wisdom and become who you created and redeemed me to be.
·         Renew my mind and enable me to cultivate a godly perspective and attitude regarding the various spheres and circumstances of my life.
·         Today’s events and interactions with others, planned and unplanned
·         Other needs

Supplication (Intercession – prayers for others)

·         My family, immediate and extended
·         Those struggling with sin, illness, or difficulties in their workplace
·         Other needs


God wants to get us out of the love of virtue and in love with the God of virtue – stripped of all possessions but our knowledge of him. (Oswald Chambers)