The Wisdom of God Part Two
The previous article focused primarily on the wisdom of God the Father. Proverbs 2:6–7 states, “The Lᴏʀᴅ gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright.” However, the Bible also reveals that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit possess great wisdom as members of the triune Godhead.
The Wisdom of Jesus Christ
The Gospel of Luke records the fact that, as a child, Jesus Christ “grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (2:40).
Jesus demonstrated that wisdom when He was 12. His parents took Him to Jerusalem for the annual Feast of the Passover. After the feast, He entered the Temple and conversed with Israel’s official teachers. He listened and asked questions. All “who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers” (vv. 41–47).
After returning with His parents to their home in Nazareth, He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (vv. 51–52).
Later Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River and tested by Satan in Jerusalem and on a high mountain. Then He went to Galilee for an extended time of teaching and healing people. After returning to His hometown of Nazareth, He taught in the synagogue. The townspeople were astonished and asked, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” (Mt. 13:54–56).
The apostle Paul told believers at Corinth, “You are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lᴏʀᴅ’” (1 Cor. 1:30–31).
The apostle John recorded the following heavenly scene that was revealed to him:
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5:11–12).
The Wisdom of the Holy Spirit
The apostle Paul told the Corinthian Christians,
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:1–5, 13–14).
God’s Distribution of Wisdom
The Bible reveals that during Old Testament days, God distributed true wisdom to Israel and significant individuals.
The Nation of Israel. At the end of his ministry, Moses declared to the Israelites,
Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lᴏʀᴅ my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people” (Dt. 4:5–6).
Gifted Artisans. God said to Moses,
See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, indeed I, have appointed with him Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and I have put wisdom in the hearts of all the gifted artisans, that they may make all that I have commanded you: the tabernacle of meeting, the ark of the Testimony and the mercy seat that is on it, and all the furniture of the tabernacle—the table and its utensils, the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering with all its utensils, and the laver and its base—the garments of ministry, the holy garments for Aaron the priest and the garments of his sons, to minister as priests, and the anointing oil and sweet incense for the holy place. According to all that I have commanded you they shall do (Ex. 31:2–11).
Joseph. Joseph’s brothers, “the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house” (Acts 7:9–10).
That happened as a result of God giving Pharaoh two puzzling dreams that none of his wise men could interpret. So Pharaoh called for Joseph, whom he was told could accurately interpret dreams. Joseph told Pharaoh that God gave him that ability.
Joseph explained that the dreams revealed Egypt would experience seven years of abundance, followed by seven years of famine. He said, “The thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass” (Gen. 41:32).
Pharaoh asked his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” (v. 38) and then told Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you” (v. 39).
Joshua. The Lord told Moses,
Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient (Num. 27:18–20).
Scripture then says, “Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the Lᴏʀᴅ had commanded Moses” (Dt. 34:9).
Solomon. Near the beginning of Solomon’s reign as king over Israel, he asked God to give him “an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 Ki. 3:9).
God was so pleased with Solomon’s request He responded by saying,
Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked long life for yourself, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern justice, behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you (vv. 11–12).
Not long after, as a result of Solomon’s wise judgment when confronted by a difficult situation (vv. 16–27), “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” (v. 28).
And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. Thus Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men, . . . and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon (4:29–31, 34).
After hearing of Solomon’s fame, the queen of Sheba traveled far to Jerusalem: “She came to test him with hard questions” (10:1). Centuries later, Jesus said “she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon” (Mt. 12:42). “She spoke with him about all that was in her heart. So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for the king that he could not explain it to her” (1 Ki. 10:2–3).
After hearing his wisdom and seeing the magnificent splendor of what he had built, she told Solomon,
It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard. Blessed be the Lᴏʀᴅ your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! (vv. 6–7, 9).
More than 200 years after King Solomon died, his wise proverbs were copied by the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah (Prov. 25:1).
Ezra. After the Medo-Persian kingdom conquered the Babylonian kingdom in 539 BC and ended the Babylonian captivity of the Jewish people, the Jews returned to their homeland in three stages. The second group returned under the leadership of Ezra, a Jewish priest and scribe. In 458 BC King Artaxerxes of Persia gave Ezra permission “to return to Jerusalem to carry out a religious reform.”1
“And you, Ezra,” he said, “according to your God-given wisdom, set magistrates and judges who may judge all the people who are in the region beyond the River, all such as know the laws of your God; and teach those who do not know them” (Ezra 7:25).
- Steven Barabas, “Ezra,” The New International Dictionary of the Bible, ed. J. D. Douglas and Merrill C. Tenney (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1987), 338.