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Wisdom for Life’s Journey

• David Clark

Dr. David Clark of Bethel Seminary generously filled the pulpit for Greg this week on short notice. We were blessed to have such a powerful message delivered in such a timely manner! Dr. Clark encouraged us to seek “Wisdom for Life’s Journey.” Wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord. This fear is not one of terror but rather one of awe, deep reverence and recognition of the glory and holiness of God. This fear reminds us that God has plans and ways that are not our own and that this can offer us hope in situations that seem hopeless to us otherwise. God is the God of possibilities and infinite resources! Remembering this can give us peace in the midst of circumstances that seem insurmountable.

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The fear of the Lord is the beginning point for all godly wisdom. This fear of the Lord inspires us to take and trust God’s perspective on our situation more than our own or that of others. Taking God’s perspective requires discernment, trusting God’s perspective requires faith. Fearing God in this way involves: experiencing God’s passionate care in everything; taking God seriously and giving praise, glory and credit for God’s faithfulness; loving God with all our energy; recognizing God’s proper place as Creator and King of the universe; bringing every aspect of life under God’s eye; sharing delightful moments with God; and viewing every event with God’s love, holiness, and joy in mind.

Godly wisdom is the opposite of foolishness. Dr. Clark explained foolishness in the following ways: trading something valuable for something worthless, acting on a short term view, acting with a wrong set of values, operating with an overly narrow perspective. Some examples of foolishness used were: Esau giving up his inheritance for soup (Gen. 25); those who build on a poor foundation (Matt. 7); and the Arameans in their plot to capture Elisha (II Kings 6:8-23).

In this third example, the King of Aram—who is at war with Israel—is upset because he is realizing that Elisha is telling the King of Israel what the Arameans plan to do before it happens. Ironically, the King of Aram seems to think that perhaps if he sends troops to capture Elisha at night they might surprise them—even though Elisha had been able to know what the King says in his own bedroom! Elisha’s servant encounters the troops of Aram and is alarmed. Elisha speaks the powerful words: “Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.” Then Elisha prayed for his servant that he might be able to see the fiery army of God that was all around them! And so the servant was able to see them. Then Elisha prayed God to blind the troops of Aram, and they were blind. So Elisha told the troops of Aram to follow him and he led them to the king of Israel and effectively captured his own would-be captors without actually engaging in a physical battle. Elisha instructed the king of Israel to feed them and send them back home. Dr. Clark pointed out several important things about this story: it reveals the power and glory of the God of Israel to all nations, it explains why Elisha was so famous as a man of God, and it invites us to make the servant’s experience our own. Elisha’s servant suddenly sees a bigger picture! He saw the problem first, but there was a much bigger reality that was at hand which put things in their proper perspective.

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