Voice of Light, Voice of Wisdom
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. (John 1:9)
The Word of God affects the hearts of all men as light in the soul. In the hearts of all men the light shines, the Word sounds, and there is no escaping them. Something like this would of necessity be so if God is alive and in His world. And John says that it is so. Even those persons who have never heard of the Bible still have been preached to with sufficient clarity to remove every excuse from their hearts forever. “Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.(Romans 2:15) “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”(Romans 1:20)
The universal Voice of God was by the ancient Hebrew often called Wisdom, and was said to be everywhere sounding and searching throughout the earth, seeking some response from the sons of men. The eighth chapter of the Book of Proverbs begins, “Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?” The writer then pictures wisdom as a beautiful woman standing “in the top of the high places, by the way in the places of paths.” (Proverbs 8:2) She sounds her voice from every quarter so that no one may miss hearing it. “Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man”( verse 4) Then she pleads for the simple and the foolish to give ear to her words. It is spiritual response for which this Wisdom of God is pleading, a response which she has always sought and is but rarely able to secure. The tragedy is that our eternal welfare depends upon our hearing, and we have trained our ears not to hear.
A. W. Tozer
There is much effort to gain knowledge in the world. And knowledge is important when it is properly used. Unfortunately knowledge isn’t always used for good. Alfred Noble was the inventor of dynamite. He envisioned that it would be used for good purposes such as road building and construction. He was horrified to discover that it could be used in war and for destructive purposes. So disturbed was he that he chose to use all his assets to begin the Nobel Peace Prize that to this day rewards those who use their creativity for the betterment instead of the destruction of humanity. Nobel’s story gives us a great illustration that knowledge without wisdom is far too often used for the wrong purposes.
For this reason the Bible instructs us to seek wisdom instead of knowledge. Solomon who gave himself to learning stated in Proverbs that wisdom was the thing to seek. And he tells us that God is the source of wisdom. James says that if there are any who lack wisdom let him ask and God will give it to him.
“If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind.”
So then what is this wisdom that James is speaking of? Wisdom is the proper application of knowledge. It is possible to have a lot of knowledge without wisdom but wisdom is always accompanied by knowledge.
Paul speaks of those who are ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of truth.
“…….always learning and listening to anybody who will teach them, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres [the court magicians of Egypt] opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, unqualified and worthless [as teachers] in regard to the faith. But they will not get very far, for their meaningless nonsense and ignorance will become obvious to everyone, as was that of Jannes and Jambres.”
2 Timothy 3:7-9
What is this thing then that we are pursuing? It is the following of Christ and putting into practice all that the Word of God teaches us. It’s not enough to learn Scripture or even agree with what it says. It only has meaning when it impacts and directs our lives.
What the world needs right now is not someone with great knowledge who can make known great truths. What the worlds is someone who will read, believe and practice the instructions of the Bible. It is when humans choose to ignore or set aside the Bible as God’s Word; when it is seen as a book of great stories and in some but not all things it may be seen as a guide, then grievous errors and false doctrines are the result. It may appear naive to some who wish to keep the Bible in ancient days rather than seeing it as it applies to us in our modern world. May I say that we would live much better lives and the world would be a much better place were we simply to take the whole of the Bible for instruction rather than treating it like a buffet in which we pick and choose as it suits us and our preferences.
What set Christ and the disciples apart from the religious of their day is the fact that to them God was a reality and not some imaginary figure and that the teachings of the Word of God were meant to be lived. In Jesus’ day there were many who constantly debated the truths of the teachings of the Law and the prophets. They argued over the fine points of doctrine and in Jesus’ words “strained at gnats and swallowed camels”.
Here we are in the twenty-first century still debating of all kinds of silly things rather than simply accepting the wisdom of the Bible and living by it. And for that reason the darkness continues to spread and the light of God grows dimmer.
Only when the people of God return to the ways of God will wisdom and light once again increase. Daniel prophesied that this would surely happen.
“Those who are [spiritually] wise will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead many to righteousness, [will shine] like the stars forever and ever.”
The world went through a period of time known as the Dark Ages. During those years, the Word of God was not available to the common man. Only the priests and religious leaders had access to it. Because of that, they began to distort the Word of God. Many superstitions and much error and terrible evil practices occurred. Many were executed and tortured in the name of religion. God was seen as cruel and vindictive and humans were taught that only through their works or efforts including giving sums of money was the only sufficient way to receive the grace of God. Horrible methods of torture and utter ignorance ruled the land. People betrayed one another for favors, revenge and reward. It was a dark and evil time. Humanity began to sink into despair. No new ideas or inventions or creativity was occurring. Then Martin Luther received a revelation from God. That revelation was the opening of his understanding of Ephesians 2:8,9.
“For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation].”
As Luther began to teach salvation by faith which was the gift of God and not through works, a great light began to shine across the land. O there were those who opposed this light and knowledge but they could not prevent its spread. Everywhere people began to live again in the light of the truth of God. They began to believe and trust and create. Accompanying this revelation was the invention of the printing press that made available the Bible in common man’s language and accessible to all.
Following this great revelation of the truth of salvation by faith and the availability of God’s Word to all came the Industrial Revolution. In a few short years humans created all manner of machines and methods that improved the living conditions.
To some this may seem a coincidence but in my mind there is always a correlation between humanity’s relationship with God and his ability to create. God is the source of all wisdom and knowledge. He alone is the Creator. Satan and fallen humanity are at best imitators and counterfeiters for Satan has no creative powers. He only lives to destroy.
I conclude with this. I’ve observed that our creativity has almost disappeared. Oh I know that we are making some technical advances such as improving the speed of data processing and shrinking the size of devices but I challenge us to think of any new discoveries. It’s interesting that we are on a journey of replicating the past. From vehicle design to home decor to music remixes we are living the retro life. This says to me that our abilities to dream new dreams and find new creativity is dimming. I believe that it is because we have distanced ourselves from the Source of Light and Wisdom.
Even the church seem to be stuck in its past, attempting in vain to recreate the glories of the past never realizing that the past can never be replicated for the world around us has moved on.
May I encourage us to draw close to the Source of Wisdom and Light and perhaps, just perhaps we may discover the wisdom and knowledge the will move the church into the future that God has designed for it to experience.
Dr. John Thompson