David learned it, meditating as he watched his father’s flocks. Job experienced it through the things he suffered. Solomon received it as a gift because he prized it above riches and honor. Wisdom begins with the fear of God and is an impartation that comes only from God. The wisdom of God has nothing to do with sounding intelligent or understanding difficult problems. In fact, to understand anything of God’s wisdom is to know that as the heavens are higher than the earth, God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts, (Isaiah 55:9). We may feel weak; we, rightfully, doubt our understanding. The Apostle Paul made a point of confessing his weakness and inadequacy.
“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (II Corinthians 3:5-6 NASB).
The Book of Proverbs teaches that wisdom abides with those who seek it. Wisdom isn’t found in men who claim it as their own. Like a fool who claims to be the world’s humblest man, man’s wisdom is self-contradictory. The scripture teaches, “Do not be wise in your own estimation.” (Romans 12:16 NASB).
God’s Wisdom vs. Man’s Wisdom
The cultures of Greece and Rome prided themselves in skilled oratory and debate. In God’s wisdom, He sent them Paul, whose personal presence was deemed unimpressive; his speech was considered contemptible, (II Corinthians 10:10). Raised in the orthodoxy of the Jewish Pharisees, Paul was as demonstrably “born again” as one could imagine, meeting the Risen Christ on the Road to Damascus, (Acts 9). The Power of the Gospel violently uprooted Paul and caused him to condemn his former ways by preaching Jesus as the Son of God. In every possible way, Paul stood in harsh contrast to both the message and the messenger that might have been sent by the wisdom of men. Such is the wisdom of God.
“Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” (I Corinthians 1:20-21 NASB).
It’s not simply the speech and mannerisms of Paul that seem out of place. In Philippians 3:5 Paul calls himself “of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee.” In making his defense before the people in Acts 22, Paul mentions that he was “educated under Gamaliel,” who was a prominent Rabbi of his day. Though it seems that Paul is impeccably prepared to minister to the Jews, God sends Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles.
“But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised (for He who effectually worked for Peter in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the Gentiles)” (Galatians 2:7-8 NASB).
And Peter? Peter is the unschooled fisherman, known for impulsiveness and occasional profanity. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God establishes Peter as the head of the church to testify to the Jews in Jerusalem. God has not purposed to be contrary. Rather, He chooses to “nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God,” (I Corinthians 1:28-29 NASB). The wisdom of God stands far above the wisdom of men.
The Hidden Wisdom of God
The wisdom of God is a heavenly mystery and has no need of our defense. To the natural man, God’s thoughts are a mystery which only God can unlock. The revelation of His thoughts is by invitation only. Consider the fact that Jesus often spoke the words, “For him who has ears to hear.” God’s wisdom stands unmovable; His thoughts are Truth. The legendary preacher, Charles Spurgeon once said,
“Defend the Bible? I would as soon defend a lion! Unchain it and it will defend itself.”
Just as many hearers didn’t understand Jesus’ words, we needn’t be surprised to find many who are blind to the mystery of the Gospel. Others will mock us for our unbending belief that Christ rose from the dead. The power of God’s Word is maligned as nonsense and the person of the Holy Spirit is considered a folk tale. God’s wisdom is a mystery known only to God’s people. Jesus said,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NASB).
Paul knew God’s wisdom. He considered himself the least or unlikeliest of apostles by human understanding, (I Corinthians 15:9). In the face of torment and opposition from those who opposed the Truth of God’s wisdom, he said,
“Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;” (I Corinthians 2:6-8 NASB).
The wisdom, of which Paul spoke, was taught to him by the Holy Spirit. Though God’s thoughts are hopelessly above our thoughts; God’s Spirit knows, understands and communicates God’s wisdom. This is why the Father found it necessary to send us a Helper who will teach us all things, (John 14:26). It is God’s Holy Spirit who makes us know God’s wisdom.
“For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” (I Corinthians 2:10-13 NASB).