Wisdom and Welfare
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to preach on Judges chapter 6 and the story of Gideon. Gideon was called upon by God to lead the people of Israel against their enemies. Gideon was a bit insecure in his calling so he asked God for a sign. Not one, not two, but three different signs were given to him before he finally embraced his calling with confidence. One of the lessons we can learn from Gideon, is that in the midst of jumping into God’s story of reconciliation, it is important for us to pause, reflect, and pray. It is important for us to sit in God’s presence, and to listen for God’s voice and His calling on how we can participate. In the sermon, I quickly moved on from this pause for reflection to discuss the fact that Gideon was given signs, but still struggled to act. In this post, I want to back up for a moment and talk about what our pause for reflection looks like.
Being still in God’s presence is a struggle for many of us. All too often we want quick answers and clear direction. We want God to reveal his specific plans for us. Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen. In his book, Just Do Something, Kevin DeYoung suggests that rather than asking for God to reveal his specific plans for us during this time of pause and reflection, we should instead be asking for wisdom. Proverbs 2 speaks specifically about wisdom. In verses 2-3 & 5-6 & 9-11 it says, “If you listen for Lady Wisdom, attune your ears to her, and engage your mind to understand what she is telling you, If you cry out to her for insight and beg for understanding, Then you will grasp what it means to truly respect the Eternal, and you will have discovered the knowledge of the one True God. The Eternal is ready to share His wisdom with us, for His words bring true knowledge and insight; With this wisdom you will be able to choose the right road, seek justice, and decide what is good and fair. Because wisdom will penetrate deep within and knowledge will become a good friend to your soul. Sound judgment will stand guard over you and understanding will watch over you as the Lord promised.”
All too often our hesitation comes, not just from the fear of jumping in, but also from a lack of clarity on where to jump. If we don’t get our specific assignment, then we wait around until we do. But what DeYoung is suggesting, and what Proverbs 2 promises, is that if we seek wisdom, we will recognize the wise move. God’s story of reconciliation is big and to think there are only specific things we can do is a cop-out. There are many ways we can seek the welfare of this city, and understanding each of these requires wisdom.
In an age where information is found at our fingertips, it seems as if wisdom is lost. While information is increasing, wisdom seems to be decreasing. Perhaps this is because we aren’t quite sure how to attain wisdom. I want to offer three specific ways we can attain wisdom. We can begin by reading Scripture. God’s Word is living and active, which means God continues to speak to us today through the words of the Bible. The second thing we can do is seek the counsel of other Christians. Proverbs 19:20 encourages us to listen to advice and accept instruction. There really are a lot of wise people who have important things to share with us. Finally, spend time in prayer asking for wisdom. Individuals who truly desire wisdom need only to ask. God is eager to share with His children.
As we learn the importance of discernment, my hope is that we would seek wisdom for how we are to get involved in God’s story of reconciliation. God is calling people to this place, and I believe He has something big in store. We all have a role to play and each role is unique. Seek wisdom, and seek the welfare of the city.