Summary: God’s unlimited knowledge and wisdom are greater than ours, and form a basis for faith and hope.
How many sent children off to school this week? How many for the first time? Here’s a question: Why? [Other than because it’s the law, or to get them out of your hair] What is it you’re hoping they’ll learn there? Math, reading, science, history . . . but is that all? No, of course not. You hope that they’ll learn social skills. You hope they’ll learn how to relate to people, how to get along with others. You hope they’ll learn the value of working toward a goal, succeeding at something. If they’re in sports, you hope they’ll learn teamwork, how to deal with winning and losing. You want your children to learn good life lessons.
Of course, we don’t entrust this entirely to the schools, nor should we. Mothers and fathers, families have a lot to do with this kind of learning. As parents, we do everything we can to instill the right kind of values in our kids, to teach them right from wrong. We don’t just want them to learn facts. We don’t want educated fools. We want them to develop good judgment. We want them to gain wisdom. Why? Because there’s more to life than just having the skills to do a job. There’s a spiritual dimension to life that doesn’t come out of textbooks.
And we not only want it for our children; we want it for ourselves. Don’t you? Wouldn’t you rather be wise than foolish? After all, you can’t pass on to your children something you don’t have yourself. But where does it come from? I think a lot of people these days are searching for wisdom, in all kinds of ways and in all kinds of places. For example, a search of Amazon.com brings up 4392 books with "wisdom" in the title. Examples:
· Jewish wisdom, Quaker wisdom, Celtic wisdom, wisdom of the Zen masters, wisdom of the native Americans, Amish wisdom, wisdom from ancient Egypt, Irish wisdom, Chinese wisdom, folk wisdom, african-american wisdom
· Wisdom from the Dalai Lama, wisdom from the ’Nanny’ (Fran Drescher), wisdom from Abraham Lincoln, King Solomon, Ben Franklin, Billy Graham, Mahatma Ghandi, Tom Landry, Winston Churchill, Confucius,
· Wisdom from taxi drivers, cowboys, football players, bumper stickers, from dogs and cats (!), wisdom from greeting cards, and wisdom from country music songs (must be a short book)
People are seeking wisdom from every possible source [even bumper stickers and country music songs]. Why? Because they sense something missing. A wisdom deficit. Our society is better educated than ever before, we have more information than any other generation (so much that we suffer from information overload), we’re unlocking the secrets of the human genome; millions of books and magazines and technical journals and newspapers are published every year just chock-full of new information, new scientific discoveries, new revelations. But where’s the wisdom?
A century and a half ago it took news three weeks to travel across the Atlantic from England to America, now we can watch CNN and see news happening in real time literally anywhere of the world - from North Dakota to Outer Mongolia. The internet is opening up vast information resources to anyone with a PC and a modem. I read somewhere that there is more information in one Sunday edition of the New York Times than a person in the Middle Ages was exposed to their entire lifetime.
Yet there’s a sense in people’s minds that all of our technological and scientific knowledge, all of our almost limitless access to information, hasn’t made us any wiser. If anything, the pace of change in modern life seems to be eroding our foundation of shared beliefs, so that we’re not sure what wisdom even is any more. So people are searching. They’re examining the world’s religious traditions. And making up new religions. They’re reading books written by all kinds of wisdom ’gurus’, like Deepak Chopra and Thomas Merton. They’re searching through ancient and modern cultures. They’re attending seminars. Miracle of miracles, they’re even listening to their elders [books, "Tuesdays with Morrie". "The Greatest Generation speaks."]. They’ve found that accumulating data and information and knowledge does not confer wisdom, and they’ve gone looking for something that will. It’s almost as if they’re yelling at the top of their lungs, "Will someone please explain to me what’s going on!"
This morning, we’re going to look at where this wisdom, that we all seek and desire, for ourselves and our children, can be found.
God’s knowledge and wisdom are unlimited
First, the ultimate source of wisdom is God the Creator. Not man, not nature, not reason, not mystical experiences, but God. The Scriptures, the ancient writings of the Hebrew prophets and poets, tell us that God’s knowledge and understanding are infinite, unlimited.
"The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom." - Isaiah 40:28 (NIV)