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The Attributes of God Devotional - God is Wise


What is wisdom and what is meant by God being wise? Stephen Charnock’s rather extensive definition contrasts knowledge with wisdom. Knowledge is truth about things and wisdom is the use of truth. Wisdom is the application of knowledge in a timely, purposeful, and virtuous manner. It does not just know truth, it uses it appropriately. To act wisely is to intentionally act at the right moment, for the right reason, using the right methods. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 illustrates this definition and distinction.

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
 a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; 
a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 

7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
 a time for war, and a time for peace.

Knowledge knows there are these conflicting “times.” Wisdom goes beyond knowing about the “times,” and acts correctly. Wisdom knows what time it is, when it is good to plant and when to pluck up.

On a human level, we learn wisdom through experience, usually by the wrong application of knowledge. We may act wisely from time to time, but we also act rashly or foolishly at other times. The wisdom of God, on the other hand, is perfection. It is not something He has acquired through eons of experience. He is wisdom. Again, Charnock says it well: “Therefore it is more truly said, that God is wisdom, justice, truth, power, than that He is wise, just, true, etc., as if He were compounded of substance and qualities. All the operations of God proceed from one simple essence….” God must act wisely in everything He does, not because He has wisdom, but because He is wisdom.

There are many passages in Scripture that speak of the majesty of God’s wisdom and its elevated position in relation to human wisdom (Isa 55, 1Cor 1). But I want to think about just two applications. They both deal with the reality that the only wise God is in control of our world. Ecclesiastes 3 continues with an intriguing verse: 11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

The first application is that God has wisely ordained everything. This means that things like pandemics, flat tires, and getting promotions, all come from His wise hand. Nothing is random or slipshod. God does not sleep. What we experience is His most wise purpose. All our successes and failures, sorrows and joys, are His unique best purpose coming from Him who is wisdom. Faith is trusting in this God alone, because He has made everything beautiful in its time.

The second application is that God’s wisdom is His wisdom, not ours. Yes, we can see the hand of God in many situations and events, but there are a host of other situations and events that may never make sense to us until we see Jesus face to face. “He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from beginning to the end.” God is not our co-pilot, we are not His co-pilot. We are pilgrims following the only wise God through faith in Christ alone.