Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Where to Find Wisdom

Leslie Basham: Are you looking for true, Godly wisdom? Nancy Leigh DeMoss says there’s one place to look.

 

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: No amount of human effort or money or resources will lead man to find wisdom. There’s only one person who knows how to find it, and if you want to get wisdom, you’re going to have to know how to find that person. He holds the key to all wisdom and true knowledge.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, August 19. Where do you find wisdom? Ask most people and they’ll list books, libraries, maybe even the Internet, but it isn’t found in any thing. It’s found in a person. Nancy will explain, continuing in the series, The Way of Wisdom.

Nancy: We’ve been talking a lot about the value of wisdom, the surpassing treasure that wisdom is, worth more than any jewel or gold or silver, how important it is, how much we need it. If you were to go to look for wisdom, where would you go? Where would you find it? How easy or hard would that be?

If you have your Bible, open to the book of Job, chapter 28. I wish we had time to read the entire passage. We’ll read several verses from it, but you may want to go on your own and just meditate on this passage. There are some real riches hidden here.

Job 28, verse 1, Job says, “Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place for gold that they refine.” Now where would that mine and that place for gold be? On top of the earth? No. It would be deep down under the surface, right?

And he says that in verse 2, “Iron is taken out of the earth, and copper is smelted from the ore. Man puts an end to darkness.” Now, notice that word, man, because there’s going to be a contrast in this chapter between man’s search and God’s search.

“Man puts an end to darkness and searches out to the farthest limit the ore in gloom and deep darkness" (verse 3). Man goes down into the earth, those miners, looking for silver, looking for gold, looking for diamonds. They go deep down into the earth, and they “search to the farthest limit.” They go down into that gloom and deep darkness, and they search.

Now, man, who is created in the image of God, wants to know, wants to search out, wants to discover, wants to explore the universe, wants to solve the mysteries of the universe. That’s why you have some of these TV shows, these hidden mysteries and exploration shows, searching out the origin of life, searching out the universe, the stars, the planets, searching out the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle. Man is driven to discover.

In fact, we have a whole TV channel called The Discovery Channel. This is all a reflection of man’s desire to penetrate the secrets and mysteries of the universe and of his world and find out the treasures, the mysteries that are hidden there.

Verse 9 tells us, “Man puts his hand to the flinty rock and overturns mountains by the roots.” It gives you a picture of cutting tunnels through the mountains. “He cuts out channels in the rocks, and his eye sees every precious thing. He dams up the streams so that they do not trickle, and the thing that is hidden [man] brings out to light” (verses 9-11).

So what’s the picture here? This is man who will put forth Herculean efforts to harness energy, to mine the earth, to build highways and roadways through the mountains, to tunnel through those mountains, to mine the earth for its treasures. Man will put forth incredible efforts and time and sacrifice to overturn the mountains by their roots. Yet, this passage goes on to say that finding wisdom is more challenging by far than all of those human exploits and achievements.

Look at verse 12. “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living.” Man can find silver and gold in the earth. He can overturn the mountains by their roots and make a highway, a tunnel through the mountains, but man cannot find wisdom. It’s not found in the land of the living.

“The deep says,” verse 14, “It’s not in me,’ and the sea says, ‘[Wisdom] is not with me.’” Men find these gold and precious stones in the depths of the earth, but no matter how deep you explore, no matter how hard you try, no matter how much human ingenuity and effort and creativity you apply, Job is saying, “You won’t find wisdom by yourself.”

Man can do a lot of things, but he can’t find wisdom on his own. Verse 15, “[Wisdom] cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price.” Verse 17, “Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.” Verse 20, “From where, then, does wisdom come?”

Tell me how to find wisdom, and of course, why did Job want to know this? Because he was suffering excruciating pain, and he wanted to understand, "What is God saying? What is God doing? What is God’s purpose? I want to know the wisdom of God." So he said, “I’m going to search for wisdom,” but it’s not that easy a search. It’s not something man can find on his own.

Where does wisdom come from? Where is the place of understanding? Verse 21, “It is hidden from the eyes of all living and concealed from the birds of the air.” No amount of human effort or money or resources will lead man to find wisdom. There’s only one person who knows how to find it, and if you want to get wisdom, you’re going to have to know how to find that person. He holds the key to all wisdom and true knowledge.

Verse 23, here’s the key. “God understands the way to [wisdom], and he knows its place. For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.” Man thinks he sees everything. He thinks he can burrow down under the earth or under those mountains and see everything, but he can’t see a fraction of what there is to see. God sees everything under the heavens.

Verse 25, He sees it all because He made it all. “When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned to the waters by measure, when he made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightening of the thunder, then He saw it and declared it.” What did He see? Wisdom. What did He declare? Wisdom.

What we see here is that God knows everything. God sees everything. God controls everything—the thunder, the lightening, the wind. God gave to the wind its weight. I can’t even fathom what that means. How much weight does the wind have? Well, God knows, and God gave it however much it weighs so that it will do just what it’s supposed to do, nothing more, nothing less. God made all this.

God understands these intricacies, these miracles of creation and marvels of the created universe. God made everything. Did you ever think about the fact that God doesn’t ever discover anything? We discover things. We’re just searching out what God has already created, but God already knows it all. He made it all. He sees it all. He controls it all.

He made the treasures of the earth that are buried deep under the earth that men have to exert such effort to explore and to conquer and to tame. God made it all, so He sees it all. He knows it all. He controls it all, and that’s why He’s the one who understands wisdom and knows how to find it.

Thankfully, not only does God have wisdom and know wisdom and know where it is, but God has revealed Himself and His wisdom to man. Man who searches and digs and scouts and explores and discovers can know wisdom if he knows God. God has revealed to man the only way to find wisdom, and it’s not in our own strength. It’s not in our own energy. It’s not in our own efforts.

Verse 28, “And [God] said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding,’” period. You want to find wisdom? Where do you start? With the fear of the Lord.

I grew up attending a Christian school, for which I’m very grateful. This particular Christian school believed that education wasn’t just tacking Bible class and chapel on to an otherwise secular education, but that the goal of Christian education was to teach every subject from a biblical and godly and wise point of view.

Well, the school, when I was growing up . . . Now, it’s much expanded and has some big, fancy buildings. But it started in an old, English, Tudor mansion—you know the big, stone mansions they have in the northeast? It looked very huge when we were little kids walking into the big front door of this old, English, Tudor mansion.

There was a sign, a plaque on the side of that door that said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." It comes from the book of Proverbs. As we would walk in that front door, I don’t know that we were probably usually conscious of what that sign said. But it was in the thinking, in the atmosphere, in the way of life there that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and that verse goes on to say in Proverbs 9:10, “and knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

What is that verse saying, and what is God saying in Job 28 when he says, “Behold the fear of the Lord. That is wisdom”? He’s saying that to fear God, to have a reverential awe of God is the starting place for finding wisdom, that you can never have wisdom apart from knowing God.

That’s why, by the way, I would say that education that is not Christian is not education at all because the starting place of wisdom and knowledge, according to Proverbs, is the fear of the Lord. If you have an education that is devoid of reverence to God and God’s authority and God’s wisdom, you’re just learning facts. You don’t have wisdom. You don’t have true knowledge.

The starting place is a relationship with God, a knowledge of God and surrender to Him as the Lord and God of the universe. That’s the foundation. That’s the starting place, the fear of God, which ultimately will result in a love of God and a hatred of sin. It’s a God-centered life.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back with the second half of today’s program. That message is part of a series called The Way of Wisdom. Let me tell you about an effective next step in gaining wisdom. Get a copy of the workbook Nancy co-wrote called Seeking Him.

When you spend time in prayer and God’s Word each day while going through this study, you’ll find yourself reacting like Nancy just described. You’ll hate sin and love God. We’ll send Seeking Him when you support Revive Our Hearts with a donation of any amount. Just call us at 1-800-569-5959, or donate any amount online at ReviveOurHearts.com. Now, let’s get back to Nancy’s teaching.

Nancy: I don’t know about you, but I want to be wise. My goal in life since I was a little girl—some of you have heard me say this before—has always been: I want to be a wise, godly, old lady. I have found, as I’ve said before, that the old part comes more easily than the wise and godly part. But I have this vision in my mind of this wise, old lady, this godly, old lady and what she looks like.

Then I realize, I’m not going to wake up at 80 years of age and be this wise, godly lady. How do I get there, from here to that point? Well, thankfully, the Word of God gives us some practical counsel on how we can become wise, and let me say that I think the starting place is to make it your goal to be wise. If you don’t have that goal, you’re probably not going to be making progress toward wisdom.

Set out to become wise, and remember that becoming wise is a life-long pilgrimage and process. We won’t be as wise as we should be until we see the Lord, but incline your heart toward God. Incline your ear toward His wisdom. Develop a heart attitude, a lifestyle that is always listening to God, kind of just on the edge of your seat, on tip-toe.

What’s God saying? What’s God doing around me and in me and through me and through His Word? What is He saying to me? Make it your life goal to be a wise woman. Think how different this world would be if women were wise instead of foolish, and if you don’t know the difference between what that looks like, go back to the book of Proverbs and see the description of foolish women and the description of wise women.

We need wise moms. We need wise grandmoms. We need wise wives. We need wise women who are in the market place. We need wise women in our churches. Set your heart to become a wise woman.

And then number two, and you may think this isn’t that profound, but it is really crucial, ask God for wisdom. Ask God for wisdom. Pray for it. Even as I’ve been working on this series, I have found myself more often just saying, “Lord, please give me wisdom.”

It’s interesting that I’ve been doing this study at the same time that our ministry has been facing a major decision about one of our outreaches, and it’s a real tough decision. We haven’t made it yet. I still don’t know what the answer is. There are pros and cons galore on every side. I don’t know what God wants us to do, and I have been put in a place where I have to say, “Lord, please give us wisdom.”

I think God loves us to be in a place where we don’t know what to do, where we can’t handle it. It may be with that one child you have for whom no textbook was ever written, and you’re saying, “Lord, please, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to parent this child. I don’t know how to handle this person in my workplace. I don’t know how to handle this person in my church. I don’t know how to deal with these issues that my husband is struggling with. Lord, please give me wisdom.”

Ask God for wisdom. The Scripture talks about calling out for wisdom, raising your voice. We call out to God for wisdom for two reasons, first of all because God is wise. God has all wisdom. He created the earth by wisdom, Proverbs 3:19 tells us. “The Lord of hosts is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom,” Isaiah 28:29 says.

Romans 11, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” God knows everything, so when we ask Him for wisdom, we’re acknowledging that we don’t know everything. That takes humility.

If you remember earlier in this series, we said humility is the number one characteristic of a wise person, realizing he doesn’t know everything, that we are foolish left to ourselves. We need to humble ourselves and say, “Lord, I acknowledge my need. I need You. Please give me wisdom.” We are finite. Asking God is an expression of humility and dependence. We ask Him because He is wise and then because He has promised to give wisdom to those who ask.

The Lord gives wisdom, Proverbs 2, verse 6, says, “From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Remember reading about Daniel and how he was given wisdom from God to interpret the king’s dreams? All the wise men in the country, all the soothsayers and the astrologers, they couldn’t interpret the king’s dream. You know why? Because they didn’t have a connection to God.

God is the one who gives wisdom and understanding, and when Daniel interpreted the king’s dream, and everybody was singing Daniel’s praises, Daniel said, “Oh, wait a minute. It’s not me. That wisdom didn’t come from me. God gives wisdom.”

God gives wisdom, so that’s why we ask Him, and that’s what James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.” So ask God for wisdom. Then number three, and again, I want to say, these aren’t all that profound, but they are profound. They’re so simple that sometimes we miss them.

Make sure that you look to the Scripture to find your wisdom. God has revealed His heart, His ways, His Word in the Scripture. We have the Word of God.

I got an email recently from a woman who said, “I say that I want to know God better, but my prayer time is little, and my Bible study is brief.” Now, she was acknowledging what a lot of people don’t realize. We say we want to know God. We say we want wisdom, but we’re not praying. We’re not asking Him, and we’re not studying His Word, so how in the world do we think we’re going to get wisdom?

We’re listening to the radio, reading the newspaper, watching television, reading magazines, reading novels. How do we think those are going to give us wisdom if wisdom comes from God? Psalm 19 says, “The law of the Lord makes wise the simple” (verse 7). Psalm 119, verse 98, “Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies.” 

Let me especially point you to the book of Proverbs as a great source for wisdom. Proverbs is a book that shows how the principles of God’s Word can be practically applied to every aspect of everyday life.

When I was in my early twenties, a friend challenged me to memorize the book of Proverbs, and my eyes did what some of your eyes just did. They got real big, I think. I thought, “Oh wow! I don’t know that I can do that.” But you know what? I set out to memorize the book of Proverbs, and over the next several months, as I recall, I did, one verse at a time.

Now, it was a lot easier for me to memorize when I was in my twenties than it is now that I’m in my forties. I could not quote the book of Proverbs to you today at all, but I want to tell you, God used that season of time in my life of just meditating on God’s Word and hiding it in my heart and getting it into my system that to this day has produced huge blessing and benefit in my life.

Could I say this to some of you who are moms? If I were parenting today, one of the things I think I would really make a high priority is to get my children memorizing Scripture. Your children could memorize the book of Proverbs in the 18 years that they’re under your roof. I’m not saying they have to memorize the book of Proverbs, but a lot of them could.

It may be impossible for you at this season of life, but it’s amazing how children memorize things, how quickly they do. Your children are memorizing all sorts of other things. Why not have them getting the Word of God hidden in their heart. As you read through the book of Proverbs, you may not be into the memorizing thing, but I would challenge you to read it and do what I’ve been doing recently.

Mark your Bible. I have, for example, gone through the book of Proverbs and circled every time the word wise or wisdom appears, and then I’ve used some little letters as codes to help me see every time there’s something about the tongue, every time there’s something about generosity.

I put a "G" next to that verse. Every verse about diligence or slothfulness, I put a "D" and an "S." Verses about anger or temper, I put an "A." Verses about pride and humility, a "P" and an "H." Sexual issues, I put an "S." Verses about women and wives, I put a "W" next to those verses.

Now I can go through the book of Proverbs in my Bible if I want to see, what does Proverbs have to say about . . . Here’s one I have to go back to a lot, the tongue. Then I can just go through the book of Proverbs and find all those "T" verses and pick out and do a little topical study right there just because of the way I’ve marked my Bible.

Then you may also want to mark things in the book of Proverbs that have to do with cause and effect. If you do this, then this will happen. If you are diligent, then this is how you will be blessed. If you are slothful, then this is the consequence you will experience—cause and effect. If you’ll go through the book of Proverbs looking for cause and effect, connecting the dots, that will help you in your pathway to becoming wise.

Let me just recommend to you, by the way, a resource that somebody made me aware of recently, and we’re offering it here on Revive Our Hearts this week. It’s a book, a nice, hardcover book called, Proverbs for Parenting. The subtitle is: A Topical Guide for Child-Raising from the Book of Proverbs.

We’re going to talk in the next couple sessions about what Proverbs has to say about training children, but this is a great resource. In fact, it comes with a coloring book so your children can enjoy that, too. It has the book of Proverbs broken down into different topics and then just has the verses under say, diligence or slothfulness so that you can become familiar with these verse as you’re training your children in these different areas.

Now, I don’t have any children, but I’m treasuring this book because I’m a child who needs to be raised, too. God has been using this resource to provide help for me as I look into these different topics and say, “Here’s what God’s Word has to say about each of these practical areas of life.”

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been describing a valuable resource that will help your children and you apply Godly wisdom. It’s called Proverbs for Parenting, available at ReviveOurHearts.com. I hope you’ll get a copy, along with the study Nancy co-wrote called, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.

There’s really nothing more important than gaining godly wisdom, so this is a very valuable book, helping you understand how God’s wisdom is lived out through purity, honesty, holiness, forgiveness, and other practical ways. We’ll send you a copy of Seeking Him when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. Just visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1-800-569-5959.

Nagging, bitterness, gossip—wisdom says stay away from these ugly qualities. Nancy will explain why tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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