Give me understanding according to Your word. Psalm 119:169
When the psalmist prayed, “Give me understanding according to Your word,” he obviously knew something that we too often forget: True wisdom and understanding are found ONLY through the eternal perspective of the holy Scriptures.
Trying to achieve true wisdom any other way is
futile, and even dangerous, not because there is no wisdom or understanding apart from God’s Word, but because there is. According to James, any wisdom that is accompanied by envy and self-seeking, confusion and evil, is “earthly, sensual, demonic” (James 3:15). God’s wisdom, however, is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (v. 17).
The world is already too full of earthly, sensual, demonic wisdom, as people everywhere seek to promote their own selfish agendas—at any cost. If we ever expect to see peaceful resolutions to the many conflicts that inundate us daily, we need to seek—and model—God’s wisdom. And that’s not easy, is it?
In fact, apart from God’s Spirit revealing it to us as we read His Word and then planting and growing it in us as we yield to His direction, we can never possess it. We will instead continue to be caught up in that self-seeking wisdom that exalts self, pampers self, pleases self—and yes, even worships self. And that will get us nowhere but across a wider chasm from God Himself.
We can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. If we choose to pursue worldly wisdom, we may enjoy a few moments of temporary satisfaction or even fame, but in the end, we’ll be left with ashes. If we choose to pursue godly wisdom through the study and application of God’s Word, we may never be acknowledged or revered here on earth, but we will ultimately shine “as bright as the sky” and “like stars forever” (see Daniel 12:3).
The great King Solomon is often referred to as the wisest man who ever lived. Why? Because he knew enough when offered the wealth of the world to pray instead for godly wisdom. God heard and answered—and rewarded him with riches as well.
May we too make the choice daily to seek after God’s wisdom, as we search and memorize and meditate on the Scriptures, for it can be found nowhere else. Rather than lamenting the tragic state of the world around us, may we dedicate ourselves to growing in the wisdom that is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (v. 17), and then sharing it with others as we lead by example.