Does anyone lack wisdom? Solomon asked God for it in his dream, and the Book of James encourages us to do the same.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him… 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. James 1:5, 3:17 NKJV
These verses from the Book of James, written by Jesus’s half-brother born of Mary and Joseph, give us a good definition of divine wisdom. This wisdom comes from above and works in our hearts, a true gift of God. Divine wisdom makes us a reflection of God and His loving nature. It focuses our love on others before self, deferring our needs to theirs for their benefit. Wisdom allows others to be the center of attention and helps us to rejoice with them rather than give way to our own envy and selfish ambition. It is a true miracle of God every time His nature comes into us, making us a little more like Him each day.
1 Kings 3 tells us of a time when Solomon demonstrated divine wisdom as he confronted a puzzling dilemma. Two women who lived alone in a house had recently given birth. One child was born and lived, but the second child, born three days later, tragically died. The two babies were deceptively switched by the mother of the dead child, with the mother of the living being given the deceased one. She knew immediately that it was not hers.
Both women came to the court of Solomon claiming to be the mother of the surviving child. As there were no witnesses and no proof, there was no clear way for Solomon to render appropriate justice.
Solomon then asked for a sword and ordered that the child be cut in two, and each woman be given half. The mother of the living child was horrified and pleaded to give her child away rather than have it be killed, while the second mother thought that this would be a fair solution for all.
27 So the king answered and said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him; she is his mother.”
28 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice. 1 Kings 3:27-28 NKJV
There are many times when we need to draw on the wisdom of God to help us decide the next right thought or action to take. Discerning God’s will can be difficult, but if we have the willingness, He will fill in the blanks along the way and help us to find the right spot He has designed for us to be in.
If we have been away from God, wisdom is turning back to Him in humble repentance. Jesus told the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. After asking for an early distribution of his father’s inheritance, this son spent it all on wild, immoral living. Penniless and on the brink of starvation, he found himself working to feed pigs – not the type of work that a young Jewish man in his day would seek to do.
Jesus went on to tell us about the son’s wise inspiration:
17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! Luke 15:17 NKJV
The young man decided to return to his father, expecting to be sent to work as a hired servant. But the father was waiting for him and was overjoyed at his return. He brought out the fatted calf for a celebratory feast of delight.
Wisdom tells us that this is the way our heavenly Father feels about us. If we are lost, He longs for our return.
If we are overcome with grief or anxiety at some situation facing us, wisdom tells us to surrender it to God’s will and care. He wants to carry the burdens that we so often insist on carrying ourselves. Divine wisdom leads to surrender of these troubles to Him. Sometimes it is a relief to be totally in the hands of a loving God.
Whenever we are perplexed or full of anxiety or fear, the Serenity Prayer is a lovely tool we can use to surrender our worries to the loving protection and care of God. We can say this prayer in any time of crisis or uncertainty, asking for our heavenly Father’s support and guidance as we seek to follow His will in all situations, easy or hard. He will bring peace to us as we lean on Him.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen
Reinhold Niebuhr, 1951