What is wisdom?
In a quotation attributed to him, C.H. Spurgeon described wisdom as the right (or judicious) application of knowledge.
Wisdom is that ability to apply knowledge in a purposeful manner. We are wise or act wisely when we make judgments or decisions that are based on knowledge and that reflect prudence and good sense. Applied to God, wisdom is that attribute possessed by God whereby He always chooses the best goals and the best means for achieving those goals.
Says Berkhof, “God’s wisdom is His intelligence as manifested in the adaptation of means to ends. It points to the fact that He always strives for the best possible ends, and chooses the best means for the realization of his purposes.” God is most wise because He is all-knowing.
God is the fount of wisdom. Several passages of the Bible refer to this quality in God, including: Job 9:4, Prov. 21:12; Rom. 16:27; 1 Tim. 1:17; Jude 25. All his works are specimens of wise planning and execution. Creation, Providence, Redemption – they all bear the marks of infinite wisdom, thus showing that the One who carried them out is absolutely wise.
God is wise in Creation (Psalm 19:1-7; 104:24; Jer. 10:12)
Modern science reveals the delicate balance in the constitution of our physical universe. A little more heat and all life will be burnt, a little less heat and we would all freeze to death (cf. D. James Kennedy, Why I Believe, p.47). He established the universe with wisdom. Everything declares his praise and glory. The sun governs the day; the moon rules over the night. Vegetation is provided for both man and animals.
As Thomas Watson wrote, ‘We may see the glorious wisdom of God blazing in the sun, twinkling in the stars.’
He is wise in Providence (Psalm 33:10,11; Romans 8:28)
God displays wisdom in preserving and governing all he has made. He directs all the events of our world to their appointed end.
Sometimes, God carries out his purpose through strange and unusual means. For instance, He elevates Joseph to the position of ruler above all his brethren, but he does this by first taking him through slavery and prison. He delivers the people of Israel from the Midianites through Gideon and his band of merely 300 soldiers. In all these He works in ways that often surprise and amaze us. Who could have thought that a crowd of more than 5000 could be fed with just 5 loaves of bread? That’s like a thousand people to one loaf! Yet God did it, and he is wise enough to handle the present challenges of his people.
Thus when we are in covenant with God, we need not be afraid nor anxious, for we have the promise of our wise God that, ‘all things work together for good to those who love God’.
His wisdom shines forth in Redemption (Romans 11:33; 1 Cor 2:7; Eph 3:10)
Here is a world, rebellious, guilty and miserable. How can you turn things around? Get an army from heaven and descend in great glory and power to renew the world. But no, God didn’t do this. What do we have instead ? A helpless baby. A poor and unscholarly preacher. Finally, a death on a wooden cross and an entombment. The wisdom is brought to light on the third day when the buried corpse becomes the Risen King who now has dominion over the nations and renews them by His Spirit. Through His death he had conquered Satan, paid for the sins of his people and ransomed humanity back to God. Unexpected strategy, yet full of wisdom.
He displays his glorious wisdom in Creation, Redemption and Providence so we may rightly worship and exult in Him alone.