Dr. Ed Young - The Source of Wisdom
How many here would like a fresh, full dose of wisdom? Would you like to have that? Lift up your hand! If you don't lift up your hand, see me afterwards! How we need wisdom! What is wisdom? Simple pedestrian definition: It's taking knowledge and properly using it. But wisdom is more than that. Wisdom is having the mind of God. The mind-other words, God sees not just this decision and this choice. God sees, He sees alllll the way through! He sees all the way; the beginning, the middle and the end, and when you and I make choices; when we make decisions; wouldn't it be super if we had that kind of confidence, that kind of wisdom! How desperately the world needs wisdom today! In fact, we need wisdom when we make about 80 or 90% of the choices that really affect our lives. Did you get that? We need wisdom in 80 or 90% of the choices.
Now, if we have the facts, we make a lot of choices on the basis of facts. You have a wife. She needs to go in for a physical. You say "Does she go into a neuro-surgeon, or a gynecologist"? You don't have to think very long if you've got the facts. You know the difference between neurology and gyn, gynecology. You know she needs to go to see a gyneco, that's just having facts! I owe sixteen thousand dollars. I've got sixteen hundred dollars and fifty-three cents. How much money do I need to pay off my debt? That's just facts, right? So we need facts; we make a lot of the decisions on the basis of facts, you know-A, B, C, right? We make a lot of decisions on the basis of character. I go in to store, I see a jacket-42 long fits me. I like it. Nobody's around. There's a door. I walk out and say "Hhm! Free jacket"!
I would not do that because of what? Character. You would not do it because of character. We make a lot of decisions the basis of facts, on the base of character. But the big decisions that really determine our life, whether we live life fully, or we are messed up, have to be made on the basis of wisdom! I'm dating this girl-hhmm. She's fine. We get along. She has all the character. She's a Christian; but is she the one I'm supposed to marry? We need wisdom! Right? Wisdom... I love science! I make good grades in science, and possibly I could be a scientist; but everything in my life points that I should be in the arts. What do I do? I have a job offer; two similar positions. I don't know which one really fits me best. One is in Anchorage, and one is in San Diego. Which job do I take?
You need some wisdom. That may be an easier decision than you think! But what am I saying? There's so many subjective decisions that we make in life, that we have the facts, we have enough character; but yet we need something more than that! We need wisdom! We come to the 28th Chapter. And now we see there is a cry in the middle of this knock-down, drag-out debate between somebody who is bottomed out, who is evidently dying; that everybody and everything on the earth has turned away from him, and we need some wisdom! So we have a whole Chapter on wisdom. Look at it if you would in the 28th Chapter, Verse 1: "Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place where they refine gold. Iron is taken from the dust, and copper is smelted from the rock". Jump down, Verse 5: "The earth co, the earth, from it comes food. Underneath it, it is turned as fire. Its rocks are the source of sapphires, and its dust contains gold". And he goes on and on, talking about mining.
Now you may be interested to know that 4,000 years before Christ; the archaeologists, the anthropologists have discovered mines-gold mines, silver mines. They discovered how they would build scaffolding up to the top of a mountain to go into a side of a mountain to get precious stones; so mining-getting gold, and silver, and sapphire, and all the precious stones, uh, copper and iron ore; mining was the pinnacle of the technological advance when Job was written. So Job is saying something very interesting here. He said, "You can't find wisdom; you can't discover wisdom through technology. Not on this earth! You can dig as deep as you want to go. Technology is not the answer"! And it says on top of that, you can't buy it!
And that's the next section of this Book! And I wish I could read all of this. It's great, great poetry in the Hebrew, and it's even tremendous in the English. It says, Verse 12: "But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. The deep says 'It is not in me.' The sea says 'It is not in me'. Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it". In other words, I thought you could, you know, buy anything! Didn't you? Had enough money? You can't buy wisdom! "I want to get another degree"! That won't help. "I want to go to the end of the earth"! That won't help! "I want to go to the top, outside, into the black hole and find wisdom"! That won't help. You can't buy it! Wisdom, the source of wisdom is God! That's the source of it! And how we need it today! Right now! This moment! This time! And especially do we need it, do we not, in suffering?
We get in trouble; we're indicted about something we're innocent of...hhmmm. We have a family situation that's beyond our comprehension... Our heart is broken over this particular situation... And we have people who come, like the three friends of Job, and they speak like they're God! I remember years ago when Billy Graham got critically ill, and some T.V. evangelist, type stood up and said, "Billy Graham is being judged by God because he had unbelievers on the stage with him! God is judging him"! About a month later, that guy who said that about Billy Graham himself was critically ill. They thought he was going to die! When he came back, they asked him, "Well, Billy Graham, you said, was being judged by God. He was critically ill. What about you"? He said, "Oh, oh-I was being attacked by Satan"!
Ladies and gentlemen, it's tough to play God! It's a role that's beyond anybody's pay grade on this earth, to say "I've got the wisdom of God" or "You've got the wisdom of God". Wisdom is a gift, and when wisdom comes in times of tough times, we appreciate it, and we handle it with a sense of sacredness. "Well how do you get it? If God's the source, how does it come to us"? Look at it, the first part of Verse 28: "And to man" God said... Did you get that? "And to man" God said. Other words, wisdom came not by reason; not by discovery; not by technology; not put some money out on top of the table and said "I want a hunk of wisdom, and I want to buy some wisdom..." It comes not, it comes by revelation. God has to give it to us, and we need, when we go through tough times; we receive wisdom if we know how to go through those tough times... It's by revelation from God.
Let me tell you what you need when your, your life is in trouble. You need some sound doctrine! First of all, you need to know the doctrine of Creation. What is that? God made this world. He brought life into this world. God is the author of everything, and He created the world in harmony, and rhythm, in beauty, in symmetry. He created a pristine world. God-you know the doctrine of Creation. Also, you have to know the doctrine of the Fall. Hey-we've messed up! Adam and Eve messed up. It's in our DNA, it's in our genes, and we are sinners! We live in a world in which God created, but also in a world that is fallen, and a world that is broken!
Now you see, if you only understand the doctrine of Creation; when you get sick, when you have trouble, we say "Oh, oh-I must have done something wrong! I must be a, a gross person! Well why is this happening to me"? And we're absolutely surprised that I'm sick! "Oh, I'm basically a good person! I'm not perfect, but I'm basically good. I'm certainly better than old Joe! I mean, Joe's a rascal, and man -he's got everything going for him"! And therefore, if you have only the doctrine of Creation, and that's what the, the moralistic fools have, and they get sick; idea, "Oh me! I'm certainly surprised! Heh, heh I'm surprised..." You see, they don't understand, generally, things work logically, because God created order, and love, and unity. But we live in a broken world; so sometimes, things that seem ought to go this way, do not go that way!
Read the Book of Proverbs! Read the first four or five Chapters of Proverbs. It says things like "If you train up your child in the right way, that child will be A-okay"! Doesn't it say that? If says "If you work hard, you're going to be all right; you're going to have security". It says "If you love people, that people are going to love you in return". And we claim those as promises! Some of them are, but read Proverbs, 6, 7, 8 -keep on reading! It says "Sometimes, you pour everything into your child, and they still break your heart". It says "Sometimes, you work hard, and you're conscientious, and you don't end up rich". It says "Sometimes that you love and care for people, and they turn their back on you"! Well what does this mean? It means that generally speaking, hard working people make it!
Generally speaking, when you build the right stuff in your kids; they turn out okay eventually. But we live in a broken world! And you got these rationalistic fools out there! You got moralistic fools when they have trouble; you got rationalistic fools when they have trouble. The rationalist says, "Well, there's no right, there's no wrong. Everything is, you know, up for a vote, up for grabs. It's a situation". Joseph Fletcher wrote a book entitled Situational Ethics. He says "What's right and wrong depends on the situation, you know? You know... Is there really love here? It's okay, if it's love, you know? If it feels good, it must be right"!
See, that's the rationalist. That's the fallen world. But when we as men and women of faith, tough times come; we have to have a doctrine of Creation, and we have to have a doctrine of the Fall! And there is the perfect Biblical balance to give us wisdom in times of suffering. Now, how do we get wisdom? What is wisdom? What does our Scripture say? Look at it. "The fear of the Lord" second part of Verse 28, "The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and depart from evil is understanding". Wait a minute! Wait just a minute! Look back-you don't have to do it now -to Verse 1 of Chapter Job. Verse 1 says "What kind of guy was Job"? He feared God and was a clean living guy, right? Didn't we discover that right in the beginning? And therefore, it says "How do you get wisdom? You fear God, and you be a clean-living person"! Isn't that what this says? So Job had it!
Now we discover he had it as we move on through Job, because in the end, God commends Job, and condemns these three friends who kept playing God. Interesting. Now Job-man, he got right, right out on the edge, didn't he? In his praying, and his criticism, demanding a scene with God. But notice that Job's friends, they spoke as if they were God. Job spoke to God, answering his friends! There's a difference. See, Job was a worshipper! The fear of the Lord! Is here the fear of God, the fear of the Lord in your life? It's not a kind of fear that we think about; but there are two things-there are two things that are scary. When you get in the presence of evil, it's scary to me.
Years ago, I was in Brazil, and I was with a missionary. He took us on top of a mountain uh, out from Recife, Ra, Brazil. And on top of that mountain, he took us to a pagan place of worship. It was open air; it was a, it was built, and he said, "Come on in! It's okay"! And, I walked, and it, it was like you hit, I'm not a spooky kind of guy, but it's like you hit a barrier, whooo! It was so oppressive that I stepped back and said "No, I don't even want to go in there"! In the presence of evil, evil, it is oppressive; it is scary. Also in the presence of good; purity, holiness-it's scary! That's right! If Jesus Christ walked into church today, do you think we'd all stand up and give Him a cheer, "Yeah, Jesus"!
Let me tell you: We would fall down and cry, and weep, and be trying to sneak out the doors, every single one of us! In the Presence of holiness, and purity; it is scary! And therefore, when we get down into suffering, it is scary! It is scary to us, because we want to hold on to ourselves, and when we bottom out, all we can do is to give up on ourselves and say "I've got nowhere to turn! I've got no place to go! I've never been in this darkness! I've never been in this depression! And we just, and that is where we need the reverent, holy fear of God"!
Now, how does God reveal Himself to us? If we get wisdom through revelation, how does it come to us? Do ya'll remember when uh, years ago, when the Russians put the first guy into outer space? And when he came back, he said, "I went into outer space, and I did not see God"! Nikita Khrushchev, who was the Prime Minister of Russia, made a fiery speech on atheism! Oh yeah! He said, "Our cosmonaut went up into space, and God is not up there! I'm an atheist"! C. S. Lewis was alive, and he answered that-heh-in a wonderful way! He said, "What's going on with these guys"? He said, "They have the idea that man lives on the first floor, and God lives on the second floor, and if man goes to the second floor and said 'hmmm, there's no God up here. Therefore, there must not be a God?'" He said, "That's not how this whole thing works..."
You see, God created a world that is spiritual, that is physical, and that is moral. And in this world, how does God communicate with us through revelation? Do we just go up? And Lewis said, he was such a scholar! He said, "It's just like Hamlet, a character in one of Shakespeare's play, would like to know something about Shakespeare, the author! And in the middle of the play, Hamlet is playing the part. He says 'I wonder what the author is like.' And so he stops and climbs up in the rafters of the playhouse, trying to find Shakespeare"! And Lewis said, "Shakespeare's not up in the rafters! He wrote the play-here's Hamlet in the play".
And then Lewis comments. He said, "The only way that Hamlet can learn about Shakespeare, the author, is that Shakespeare would have written in the play, put himself in the play, and revealed who he was, and what he was about in the play"! And then he says "The Master Playwright, God Almighty, has done exactly that in revealing Himself to us". He has written Himself into the drama of your life and my life, and given us clear instructions about Himself. That is God revealing Himself, and I would add to that God not only has written Himself into the drama of our life; He put Himself in the drama of our life in the coming of Jesus Christ! That's revelation!
So how do we get wisdom? When we're going through tough times, do we come out smarter? Wiser? Uh, more spiri... How, how does that happen? We worship, we fear God, and we live clean lives! That's how it happens! But sometimes, we have to go through tough, tough times to really get wisdom, and that's a tragedy, isn't it? That's a tragedy... Elizabeth Elliott writes about being brought up in Wales. She said she remembers seeing every year, they'd take all the sheep, and they would dip them into antiseptic.
Said, "You had to because of parasites and other ailments. The sheep would die", and said, "It was a horrible thing. You'd get, you know, you've heard of, of dipping the sheep. They would get a big vat there", and said, "The shepherd would catch the sheep and put 'em in this vat of antiseptic. He would take 'em and put 'em in", and said, "Those sheep were struggling, and the noise. They were kicking. They'd try to climb out, and the shepherd would take 'em and push 'em down and put their head under and hold 'em down for a minute", and said, "You felt sympathy for the sheep", I mean "You'd go out to them".
Now, the sheep didn't understand! They were being dipped so they could stay alive! They'd die if they were not dipped. And Elizabeth Elliott said, "Well, if you took one of those sheep out and said 'Let me explain to you why we're dipping you in this horrible stuff!' The sheep wouldn't get it, would they"? And she said, "Many times in my life, I've felt that somehow, I ended up, I ended up in the vat". And said, "Seems like I was held under". And she said, "I'd ask for God to be there with me. He didn't seem to be there with me". And he said, "I'm sure God could take it out and try to explain it to me", and said, "Then I wouldn't get it, because as the shepherd was in a higher order of the sheep, so the Good Shepherd is in a higher order of you and myself, 'cause we are His sheep. But in the middle of that vat, when we're down, what do we do"?
Well, I need a doctrine of Creation. I need a doctrine of the Fall, yeah. I need to trust in Him, yeah. I know He's going to love me while I'm in the middle of the vat, yeah. But that's not enough, is it? We have to realize then, the only thing we ever have, and ever own is that which we give away. We have to realize that nothing can be raised from the dead that has not died! Did you get that? Nothing can be raised from the dead that has not died! But in the middle of the vat, what has to die? You. What has to die? Me. And when I die to me, and you die to you; a wonderful thing happened in the middle of suffering! We come out of suffering with wisdom, because we've submitted ourselves to Him!
In the middle of the vat, if you look out for yourself; you're going to be despondent, defeated, angry, confused. But if in the middle of the vat, when you're submerged, you look for Christ; He's going to be there! And He's going to give you Himself, and throw in everything else that you need! Victory through surrender! Wisdom through giving up and suffering, and know that God is doing a fresh, new redemptive, saving, cleansing work in your life! The path to wisdom-there it is. Say "Boy, I don't want to walk that path"! We will, one way or another... One way or another.
Why don't we begin before we get on that path to decide today that I'm simply going to say "Lord, every fiber of my being, I give it to You". When I walked down the aisle of my home church at 19 years of age, and I knew God wanted my life; I didn't know Genesis from the maps. I just knew God wanted me! When I walked forward in my church, they would sit you on the front row and hand you a card. Had to fill out that card. They had all little slots on that card. You know-profession of faith; by letter; by statement; rededication; all those, I read all that. Said "Hhmmm... None of that fits what I'm down here about".
So I wrote on that card, "Lord, I give You all that I am, and all that I'll ever be". And I did, and I pulled some back all through the years; pulled some back of myself. But that was the most profound decision I've ever made. "I give You all that I am, and all I'll ever be". And that's the decision He wants all of us to make, wherever we are, whatever our vocation, wherever we are in life, in the middle of suffering or whatever, say "Lord, I just give You-pwoot! All of it"! And when You give Him your all, guess what? In return, He gives you His all! And a part of giving you and giving me His all is wisdom! Godly wisdom. There's nothing any of us need more than that!