God is described in many different ways throughout scripture. We might be familiar with “parent” language about God, where Jesus taught his disciples to pray to our heavenly father with the Lord’s prayer and many passages in John’s gospel. But there are many ways humans have used words to describe our relationship with God:
- God is a shepherd- Psalm 23 comes to mind, as well as Jesus speaking about humanity being his “flock.” God is indeed the good shepherd who seeks our protection and welfare!
- God is a rock- This signifies the steadfastness of God and how God will not move depending on worldly changes.
- God is a mother- Hosea 11:3-4 speaks of God as a tender mother, nursing her young and teaching them how to walk.
- God is a mother hen- In Matthew 23:37, God seeks to “gather her chicks under her wing.”
- God is wisdom- We’ll explore this kind of idea now…
As a side note, if you are interested in why the bible might use lots of metaphors, check out the following:
There are many ways in which people might define wisdom. I’ve heard it said that wisdom comes through life experience—the young or inexperienced don’t necessarily have it! It could be “street smarts” of knowing how to handle certain situations. Even other define it as applied knowledge. We can have all the “book knowledge” in the world, yet still lack true wisdom, so wisdom does differ from simply knowing facts.
This topic applies to discipleship. When we follow Jesus, hopefully we attain Godly wisdom. We understand the character of God. We steer our thoughts and actions in the right direction, with the help of the Holy Spirit. And in turn, we live out God’s intentions as we treat others in a loving way. In short, biblical wisdom means we know what God desires for our life and we act on it!
As you might recall, the bible has quite a bit to say about wisdom. There are even entire books dedicated to wisdom sayings and teachings. Wisdom itself is often personified as a a woman. Her reward is more valuable than any sort of riches. Wisdom herself is even described as being eternal. Consider some of these sayings from Proverbs 8, where wisdom is deeply intertwined with God’s character (and perhaps synonymous with God Godself!):
Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. I, wisdom, live with prudence, and I attain knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. I have good advice and sound wisdom; I have insight, I have strength. By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; by me rulers rule, and nobles, all who govern rightly. I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, endowing with wealth those who love me, and filling their treasuries.
This poetry from Proverbs reminds us of several profound truths for our faith. True wisdom begins with loving the Lord. Pursuing the “rewards” or “fruit” of wisdom is unlike any sort of human praise we could attain. When we have wisdom, we live righteous lives.
There are other ancient writings that aren’t included in every bible, particularly the Apocrypha. Many of these teachings and history books were well-known around the time of Jesus. I personally think they make for interesting reading. Some books are actually quite similar to others like Proverbs. Here’s an insightful passage from Sirach 6:24-28, speaking about wisdom:
Put your feet into her fetters and your neck into her collar. Put your shoulder under her and carry her, And do not be angry with her bonds. Come to her with all your soul, And keep her ways with all your strength. Search for her and seek her out, And she will become known to you; And when you become self-controlled, do not let her go. For in the end you will find her rest, And she will turn to you in gladness.
So with Proverbs and Sirach in mind, can you think of anything else in scripture that might ring a bell? Is there another “character” or thing that seems to embody Godly wisdom?
The answer is simple… It’s Jesus Christ! He is the fulfillment of Godly wisdom. The nature of God was made fully known in his life and ministry. Jesus taught countless lessons on what Godly wisdom looks like, from forgiving others, worshipping God, to praying for guidance.
When I read Proverbs 8, I cannot help but think of the kingdom of God and how Jesus taught us what that looks like. You might remember Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, how we are to store up heavenly treasures. True wisdom will not give us earthly riches, but the best treasure we could ever discover is with God’s kingdom.
Sirach 6 reminds me of Matthew 11, where Jesus teaches us to put upon his yoke in our life. We must be steered and guided by God alone. Godly wisdom leads us in the path of righteousness. When we follow Jesus, we truly find rest, too.
As you continue your growth as a disciple of Jesus, remember that wisdom originates with God. The most important thing we could ever learn, remember, or apply is the fact that God loves our world and has a plan for it. We are a part of God’s redemptive plan. Everyone has the opportunity to seize that wisdom and to know Christ. Paul describes it this way in this beautiful passage from 1 Corinthians 1:26-31:
26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”