Is wisdom the same as knowledge? Is wisdom simply a keen understanding? This week, Pastor Lutzer begins his teaching on the Wisdom of God in Proverbs 3:19-20.
“The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the heavens;
by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
and the clouds drop down the dew.”
- Proverbs 3:19–20
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Transcript: Welcome to 5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer. We’re discussing the attributes of God. And whenever we contemplate God, what should happen in our lives is we are rebuked, we are humbled oftentimes. We are instructed, encouraged; but always, we should be led to worship. Today’s attribute actually is the wisdom of God. The passage of Scripture I have is taken from the book of Proverbs, where it says this: “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.”
Notice that in this text you have three different ideas: you have wisdom, which is connected to knowledge and understanding. And all those always have to work together. Now in a moment I’m going to be distinguishing some of the words that are in this text, and then I’ll be telling you the story of a pastor whose son committed suicide.
But first of all, a word about God’s wisdom. We all know that there are people who have a lot of knowledge, but they don’t have wisdom. In order to have wisdom, you do need knowledge; but it’s possible, certainly, for people to have knowledge without wisdom. So they make foolish decisions. Even then, under the best of times and under the best of circumstances, we often make foolish decisions when we think that they are wise decisions. I think it’s Tozer who uses the illustration of someone having the knowledge to be able to build a building that is even more beautiful than the Taj Mahal in India… But what he doesn’t know is, six months after it has been constructed, an earthquake comes and destroys it.
But in the case of God, He never has those problems. Because He not only has wisdom, but He has knowledge of all things, both actual and possible. His knowledge is completely exhaustive, so He knows the future; and He’s also good, which means—and now I come to a definition of wisdom—wisdom is using the best possible means, to accomplish the best possible ends, in the best possible way. Now we’re going to be unpacking that in other sessions also, because that is hugely important and it invites the issue of the problem of evil—did God need evil to accomplish His ends?
Well, first of all, I’m going to tell you now as we conclude today, a story about a pastor whose son committed suicide. Well you can imagine, the pastor was out of the pulpit for a number of weeks. Needless to say, deep grief; senseless act; and he’s struggling with it. But I’m told that when he returned to his congregation, he said this: If you have a ship, and you take the individual parts of that ship and throw them in the ocean, they drown. You throw the motor in, it goes down to the bottom; the steel, the rivets; everything goes to the bottom of the ocean. But if you have the wisdom to construct it correctly, then all of these pieces have their place, and the ship floats. He said, “When I think of the destruction of my son and his suicide, when I throw everything into the ocean, it makes no sense at all. But I believe that even God can take something that is senseless and use it for His glory.”
I don’t know what he called his sermon that day, but he could have called it “The Unsinkable Purposes of God.” You know, you might be having a bad day, but actually in God’s books it could be a very good day. Because for believers, God takes all things and works them together for good, and He has the knowledge to do it. He sees the future, therefore, because of His knowledge; He has the means to do it.
And I admire that pastor. I don’t think my faith would be that great. But I hope today that we understand that the trial of our faith is more precious than gold, and we entrust ourselves into the arms of a wise, good, and knowledgeable God. Today, go with God, and I’ll see you right here next time.