This week, our Sunday School study takes us to consider the concept of "wisdom". As we consider wisdom, we think about intelligence and discernment and knowledge. The lesson starts out in a library. As we all know, the library is filled with "How-To" books on nearly every topic conceivable. The problem with this kind of wisdom is that it is man's wisdom. For example, in the 18th and early 19th centuries, medical books suggested making cuts on an ill person in order to "bleed" the illness from one's body. Leeches were recommended as a means of sucking blood from a sick person in order to bring healing. In 19th century London, England, when cholera was devastating the population, killing thousands of people, the city government correctly determined that the source of the deadly illness was the accumulation of human waste and animal waste in a crowded, dirty environment in which there were no sanitary treatment procedures. In order to solve the dilemma, the city dumpted tons of waste into the Thames River, thereby polluting the entire water system and exponentially increasing the deaths due to Cholera. Clearly, man's wisdom is not always true and it often changes over time and circumstances. But, is there a book of wisdom that stands the test of time? Is there a book of wisdom that can be counted on to be accurate and true?
Pastor Tom Jones defines wisdom in this week's lesson as "good sense, the exercise of good judgement." Godly wisdom is described as "a knowledge, understanding, and sense of God's own heart." Check out the following scripture to learn more about what God's Word says about wisdom: Proverbs 1:5, Psalm 111:10, and Acts 13:22. The Hebrew word for wisdom means skills for living. The act of applying God's Word to our own life gives us a sense of God's own will and way in our lives.
Interestingly enough, the presenters of this week's lesson suggest that these are learned skills. They are not something that you and I are born with or that we inherit. Job 28, Psalm 111, and Proverbs 9 all provide examples of how we can learn wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge applied to our own lives. Understanding of God's will and direction in our lives is tied to our obedience. The more obedient we become, the more we understand. Wow. Having trouble understanding God? Try being more obedient. You may find that your understanding increases dramatically.
The lesson identifies three realities of suffering:
1. No one is exempt from suffering.
2. We don't often have control over the causes and consequences of our suffering.
3. We can CHOOSE how we will face suffering and how we will persevere.
Make the decision AHEAD of TIME. I loved the quote, "God is NEVER late, but seldom early." It has been said that you are either in a battle, coming out of a battle, or going into a battle. Either way, you need to be prepared with God's wisdom and with decisions made ahead of time about how you will respond and persevere.
Best advice from today's lesson: Go to God's Word whatever the season of your life. Whatever difficulty you may be facing, God's Word provides wisdom and discernment. Seek His guidance in His Word. Amen. Have a great week.