We sometimes meet with problems which we are unable to resolve for ourselves. Since we are unable, we ask for advice from experts or the wise. Even for a personal matter, you need wisdom. If then you are a leader of an organization or a group, needless to say, you need wisdom. Thus, men’s success and failure depend on how much they have wisdom of goodness.
- The value of wisdom
Wisdom is defined in the dictionary as the ability to reason things out and discern between right and wrong and between goodness and evil. But the wisdom stated by God refers to using the knowledge we have accumulated. Men’s brain cells have a memory device. With it people can remember what they have experienced. A new-born baby has no knowledge in the memory device because he or she hasn’t seen and heard anything. They acquire knowledge by seeing, hearing, and learning many things from parents, siblings, teachers, and people around them in their growth.
The right application of the knowledge one has is ‘wisdom’. If we utilize the knowledge well, we can show outstanding social skills and ability to reason and deal with things. On the contrary, if we lack wisdom, we may ruin things that are going well and make them difficult. Thus, wisdom is very important in family, society, and country, too. Wisdom has an influence on the lives and deaths of people and it affects a country’s rise and its fall.
Proverbs 3:14-18 emphasizes on the value of wisdom. It says, “For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.”
- Wisdom of goodness and wisdom of evilness
Not all wisdom is of goodness. From the heart of a good man comes the wisdom of goodness. From the heart of an evil man comes wisdom of evil. With wisdom of goodness, a country can be prosperous, families will have peace, and people will be peaceful and happy. In the contrary, evil wisdom only seeks its own benefit and uses evil schemes, so the things go wrong or go in the way of destruction.
The case of Ahithophel the counselor of King David shows this clearly. When Absalom, who was David’s son, rebelled against David, Ahithophel sought his own benefits. He had been with David for a long time as his counselor so he knew well about David’s weakness and the way to put him in difficulties. He told Absalom that he would definitely win if he pursued David with people and made a surprise attack.
However, Absalom chose Hushai’s advice who was David’s loyal subject, not Ahithophel’s. The advice of Ahithophel was as if one inquired of the word of God. But God thwarted the counsel of Ahithophel who was evil, so Absalom didn’t choose his counsel. In fact, Hushai received an order from David and pretended to help Absalom. By doing so, he made Ahitophel’s counsel foolishness and made a great contribution by making Absalom follow his counsel.
In this way, God takes sides with men of goodness. No matter how outstanding the scheme of an evil man, it turns to nothing (2 Samuel 17:14). Now when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he went to his home, to his city and strangled himself. In the end, Absalom was defeated and killed by Joab.
What about Rahab, who had the wisdom of goodness?
Rahab helped the two sons of Israel who came to Jericho to spy out the land and hid them in her house when they were in danger. Rahab had heard about great and amazing power God had manifested in Israelites and believed it, so she could show such wisdom of goodness that helped the spies. This allowed for all her family and her to be saved when the city of Jericho fell. When we follow the wisdom of goodness, life can be saved and blessings will come upon us.
Jesus taught people in the wisdom of goodness. He didn’t point out others directly but led them to realize their shortcomings for themselves. Since evil people use evil wisdom, they hurt others’ feeling, embarrass, and ignore them. But even when some tested Him, Jesus didn’t provoke their feeling and just taught them so that they could feel ashamed for themselves and no longer test Him (John 8). This is the wisdom that comes from goodness.
There is a story where King Solomon showed the essence of the judgment in the wisdom of God. In 1 Kings Chapter 3, two women came to Solomon with a baby. One insisted that she was his mother and so did the other. They both gave birth to their babies about the same time, but one of them laid her own baby by mistake and the baby died. Then, she changed her dead baby with the other woman’s living baby while she was sleeping. When the other woman awoke, she was surprised to see the dead baby, but it was not hers.
While arguing with each other that the living baby was their own, Solomon advanced a horrifying suggestion. It was to divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other. The woman whose child was the living one spoke to the king, for she was deeply moved over her son and told the king not to kill him. By this, the real mother was revealed. With the wisdom of goodness of God we can clear others of false charges and thwart evil men’s schemes. It causes goodness to overcome evil. Also, it causes people to fear for, tremble, and submit before God’s wisdom.
- To receive the wisdom of goodness
If one has no evil and achieves sanctification, he can come up with a good way to deal with things. Just as Luke 6:45 says, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil,” good thoughts come from good hearts. Thus, good men can present good solutions to problems.
Some people try hard to think of various ways to solve complicated problems. But thoughts and ways from evil hearts result in bad effects. Only when we cast off every form of evil and become sanctified can we use the wisdom of goodness. If we don’t have evil in our hearts, then we can think, speak, and act in goodness. Such good words, deeds, and thoughts work together with wisdom for good.
Suppose a man who had done great harm to you asked you for help. If you have evil in your heart you may speak ill of him and drive him away. But if you have no evil in your heart and have the wisdom of goodness, you might feel compassion for him though you hate his sin itself. So he may advise him to turn back from the sin. Rather pointing out his faults directly or rebuking him, the good man may use the wisdom of goodness to help him become a renewed person.
A saying goes, “A mouse even bites a cat when it is driven into a corner.” As said, people driven to the corner of difficulties will reveal more evil when they are pointed out. So we should try to move their hearts with good words and deeds and give realization in the wisdom of goodness lest their evil is not agitated.
James 3:17-18 reads, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” That is, if we have pure hearts, we can receive the wisdom from above.
If you achieve sanctification of your heart, you should ask God the method to receive wisdom. You should keep learning higher levels of wisdom and use it. After one learns one plus one is two, he will solve similar kinds of questions. But it doesn’t mean he is good at multiplying and dividing. He should learn again about multiplying and dividing. Then, he can solve relevant questions.
If we have the wisdom from above, we will apply the wisdom of forefathers of faith in the Bible to our lives. If we learn about the wisdom in every incident in the Bible and make it ours, when we are faced with similar incidents, the Holy Spirit lets us come up with it and we can overcome everything wisely.