by: Sydney Mckneelen
A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain,
but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding
We all have things in life that we lack talent or skills in. Whether it is cooking, budgeting, home or auto repairs, knowing the latest in computer trends or home entertainment technology… we have our limitations, and we acknowledge them, letting professionals or friends who do show us the way.
But when we become overly critical and skeptical, scoffing at the wisdom of others, we’ll seek wisdom and never find it. Like going to the doctor and being told, “diet and exercise will really help this situation.” Oh no, anything but that. Doctors are so stupid. I’ll do what I want.
And yes, seeking after godly wisdom, we can reach the limits of our own skills and talents. Just like any other undertaking we can look to trusted spiritual guides for help. But we will be seeking in vain if we just hear the wisdom of our spiritual elders, then scoff at what they say. If you are learning to cook from a master chef, and they keep referring to a recipe you refuse to read… you’re not going to get very far. Or take a course in mathematics, and refuse to crack open the book to study? Scoffing at the source of knowledge you’re trying to learn from…foolish.
Same goes for our spiritual lives. Things are complex, difficult, and frustrating. But learning God’s wisdom? That’s easy. It’s right there in your Bible. But taking time every day to pick it up and be taught by God’s word? Who has time for THAT right?
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, even if we don’t all have the same skills and insights when it comes to scripture. But you don’t need a degree to read the word for yourself. The prophet Isaiah brought this wisdom from the Lord, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (55:11) And the real miracle, which we so often seem to forget, is that we as believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus told the disciples, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” (John 14:26.) The same Holy Spirit that inspired the Bible lives in each believer. Imagine how easy it would be to understand almost anything, if we could have that close of a relationship with the authors of the study guides.
But, we cannot be arrogant, and scoff at the counsel of other believers. If we think we are the only one who understands what a passage of scripture really means, we are seeking wisdom in vain. As a professor at a Bible college so eloquently put it, “If you think you’ve discovered something new in a book as old as the Bible, that has been poured over for thousands of years by the brightest minds in history… you’re wrong.”
Scripture confirms and builds upon scripture. From the first word to the last. As Paul told Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) And Paul would know. Once he had scoffed at Jesus and his wisdom. Once he was shown how wrong he truly had been, it was easy for him to seek the wisdom of Christ.
And that is the wisdom of our proverb today. That when we seek after God’s truth, it will be easy and readily accessible to us. But when we close off our mind and scoff at the parts we don’t like or understand… we are seeking wisdom in vain.
Prayer for Today
Father, thank you for the full counsel of your word. Let me approach the scriptures with a humble heart and an open mind so I can find the wisdom there. Jesus, guide me and teach me, you are my true teacher, friend and guide. By your Holy Spirit awaken in me a desire for your word, and the wisdom to seek after you in all areas of my life. Amen.