Real Wisdom In a Crazy World

Psalm 119:97-104

One definition of insanity – “repeatedly doing the same thing while expecting different results.”

How many times have you seen people try that? Whether finances – spent more than earned this month, didn’t work so good, try again next month. Conflict resolution – said what I wanted, response was “no”, say it again louder. List of examples is endless, people keep adding to it. Easy to look at folks who behave that way and think “wow, they’re really stupid! I wouldn’t be like that!!” May very well be so, but…need to keep this in mind:

“M (mem) is a …declaration that true wisdom develops from God’s word and God’s ways. His ways are not ours, his plans not ours, and thus the one who knows his word will have hate false wisdom, and cling to God’s path.”

1 Cor. 2:14The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” So…while he can read the Bible and hear good teaching from God’s word, the unconverted cannot understand or use spiritual truth contained in them. But it doesn’t stop there – biblical view of reality says: New Age thinking is wrong (all is spiritual), Marxism/Evolution is wrong (all is material), we live in a universe where there is both material and immaterial. We live in material bodies and possess an immaterial soul.

To properly understand material world, must have ability to properly understand spiritual dimension. If our vision and understanding of spiritual things is off, our understanding of all reality will be off. Is not a matter of intelligence, is a matter of understanding. The unconverted is not stupid as in lacking intelligence; he lacks understanding and wisdom – cannot properly grasp the reality around him and interact with it in a wise manner. Unconverted is in that predicament because he is cut off from the source of real wisdom; all he has is worldly wisdom which can never lead to God or truth. And that is by God’s design:

1 Cor. 1:19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent.” (Isa. 29:14)

For the people of God to have Real Wisdom In a Crazy World, must go to the Source, acquire there what will make us wise, and be transformed by it.

A. the source of real wisdom:

God’s word (97a)

having real wisdom requires us to be saturated by God’s Word – a living, healthy relationship with God fuels a desire for his Word

meditating on God’s Word strengthens our relationship with God, draws closer to God, increases desire for God and his Word

“unless God’s law inflame and ravish our hearts with the love of it, many allurements will quickly steal upon us, and lead us away to vanity.” Calvin

love for God’s word starts with God – is because we love God that we love his word, is because God loves us that we love him

if other “allurements” are leading us away, ask God to increase your love for his word, and spend time in it on purpose

“An old man once said, “For a long period, I puzzled myself about the difficulties of Scripture, until at last I came to the resolution, that reading the Bible was like eating fish. When I find a difficulty, I lay it aside, and call it a bone. Why should I choke over the bone when there is so much nutritious meat for me? Some day, perhaps, I may find that even the bone may afford me nourishment.”

all sorts of different ways to encourage meditation on the Word: regular devotional time, audio Bibles, radio teachers, quality Christian music, church activities, fellowship with believers

makes me wonder: if Quran were written in US today, would it use the same code for Christians? “People of the Book”

how many professed Christians go to church (or that particular church) because of what they receive from the Word? or is it something to do with the experience of being there – the music, opportunities, people….

taught by the author (102b)

all the meditation in the world, an entire lifetime of it only an exercise in futility apart from teaching by the author

what is most important in the Book is closed off to all who come to it without active ministry of the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus – “when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13)

without the Holy Spirit, a genius is helpless, powerless to extract truth from the Bible; with the Spirit, the simplest person can understand all necessary for faith and practice

divine teaching includes personal and particular application: Jer. 31:33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

God by his Spirit reveals to his people the things they need to understand – what his word says, what it means, how it applies

B. makes me wiser than

enemies (98)

power does not guarantee wisdom – power can be acquired in all sorts of ways: accident of birth (Kim family), opportunity (right place at right time), greater misfortune of others

street smarts does not equal wisdom; is a kind of shrewdness that can keep you one step ahead of bad guys, outwit at their own game

success is not guaranteed evidence of wisdom – e.g., some of largest churches have no Gospel, no wisdom; one with 40,000+ promoting little more than self-help positive thinking

“I have often seen very cunning men quite puzzled by a simple-minded, straightforward, honest Christian.” CHS

best the world can offer cannot overcome/overthrow/entrap the one who faithfully follows principles laid down in God’s word

classic examples: Joseph and his brothers – their wisdom the foolishness God used to put Joseph in life-saving position; Paul and his accusers – God used to put Paul in place of influence within Caesar’s household

teachers (99)

education does not guarantee wisdom/insight

“Our teachers are not always to be trusted; in fact, we may not follow any of them implicitly, for God will call us to account for the use of our understandings.”

easy to be overly impressed with credentials; more important than degrees and hours in classroom: extent of godly wisdom

education that begins from wrong starting point (worldview, presuppositions) will largely reach wrong conclusions

teaching from God’s Word by Spirit-led servants equips believer to reach right conclusions and will include right application

elders (100)

age and experience do not guarantee wisdom

implication here is one of contrast – Psalmist has greater understanding because he followed God’s word and elders didn’t

wisdom comes with age, experience, and godly living; even the young Christian who is truly converted and devoted to following Christ is wiser than an ancient unbeliever

“A hoary head, where there is no Divine Grace, is worse than a fool’s cap—and there is no fool in the world like an old fool, and no other fool that can equal a gray-headed sinner who has for 70 years rejected Christ and, in spite of a thousand warnings and invitations, has deliberately made his own damnation sure!” CHS

greatest ultimate benefit: “the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation” 2 Tim. 3:15 – is not just the practical benefit of higher quality of life now, extends to next life

C. which results in changed

remember this morning – Heb. 4:12 – individual application of sanctifying scalpel by Perfect Surgeon… designed to bring about change – Christ is like any good surgeon: surgery was successful, now change your lifestyle so the “problem” doesn’t come back

when faced with choice (fork in the road) one with real wisdom purposely takes path dictated as right by God’s word

behavior (101)

making particular behavioral choices – both what to do and what to avoid

one with real wisdom recognizes blessings of doing right thing even when it appears otherwise; same for dangers lurking behind attractive appearance

maintaining proper behavior in God’s eyes, following path of real wisdom requires conscious choices in both directions – choosing to avoid evil often comes before choosing to do right

requires conscious effort and ongoing evaluation against the standard

choices too often made on basis of feeling – “how do you feel about that” vs. “what do you think” or “what do you believe”

Psalmist looked at the path (choice of direction), checked his map (the Bible), made the decision based on Holy Spirit-directed reading of the map

thinking (102)

requires knowledge of God’s “rules”, understanding of meaning and application, putting into practice what has been taught

Christian should not be going through life on autopilot, making choices and acting without thinking

don’t misunderstand: Christianity not only for intellectuals, is for all without regard for measure of intellect; however….doesn’t mean we get to leave brains on the pillow

remember first command: Matt. 22:37 “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'” – both emotion and intellect must be engaged in our love for God

desires (103)

“Many of us live in countries where food is abundant and people are well-fed. That’s why we may not be familiar with the symptoms of starvation. At the outset, victims have an insatiable craving for nourishment. As time passes, however, the body weakens, the mind is dulled, and the desire for something to eat wanes. In fact, starving people actually reach a point when they don’t even want food that is placed before them.” Our Daily Bread

perspective only a true follower of God can sincerely express; unbeliever will taste God’s word and eventually spit it out

even a true believer can lose his taste for God’s word if he has an inadequate diet of it; means we need to do like Dana, eat anyway – make sure to get regular helpings of God’s Word, if it starts to taste funny ask for God’s help to sort it

understanding (104)

a radically changed worldview – looking at all of life through lens of God’s precepts/principles

widespread problem: starting with an authority other than Bible – teacher/counselor assessment of child’s behavior issue; media’s evaluation of merits of candidate or legislation; scientist’s pronouncement about origins and biological development

Above all, must remember at all times what Paul declared: 1 Cor. 15:10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.” Apart from God’s grace, none of us would be any different from most lost person you can think of. If we are to use wisdom he supplies and finish well, must depend constantly on his guidance and help.


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