33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” 35 “Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?” 36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33–36, NKJV)
The gospel reveals the purposes of God to save sinners – us – through the redemption He makes available through His Son Jesus Christ. Paul had plumbed the depth of the riches of God’s wisdom and knowledge in the first eleven chapters of his letter to the Romans. Today’s passage summarizes with clarity and force that the judgments and ways of God are not measured and tempered by human wisdom. It is not man’s place to teach God. We must resist the temptation to make God in our own image, and then expect Him to agree with the ingenuity of our intuition, insight, expectations and knowledge. No, we must humble ourselves before the magnitude of God’s wisdom and knowledge. He is our Creator, our Sustainer, and our Redeemer. Every blessing we have is because God is all wise, all powerful, and all merciful. To Him be the glory forever.
3 Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; 4 By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. (Proverbs 24:3–4, NKJV)
The Bible says, “every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4). What building materials are you using to build your house? Of course, we are talking about building your life and your family, not a brick and mortar house. Some build their lives and families on the sand of humanism and secularism. Everyone is encouraged to “seek their own path to find out who they are,” oblivious of a knowledge of God and its value to guide our path (Psalm 119:105; Jeremiah 10:23). Some build their lives and families on the uncertain foundation of materialism. For them, life is about satisfying the desire for wealth and leisure, unaware of the need to address their immortality as creatures made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Ecclesiastes 12:7). Some build their lives and families with wisdom, understanding and knowledge. By teaching your children to respect God you help instill within them wisdom, knowledge and understanding that will go with them throughout life and into eternity (Proverbs 9:10; 1:7). Build your house on the firm foundation of wisdom and understanding. Fill your house with a knowledge of God. These are the enduring materials that will enrich your life prepare you for eternity.
10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Ephesians 3:10–11, NKJV)
Paul acknowledges the great grace he was given to preach to the nations the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). By preaching the gospel everyone can see how God dispenses the riches of human redemption (Ephesians 3:9). What had previously been a mystery (hidden) is now revealed to all. God’s eternal purpose to redeem sinners is accomplished in Christ Jesus (v. 11). The church (the redeemed) manifests the immeasurable wisdom of God to all who are in places of spiritual rule and power (v. 10). It is futile to view the church as nonessential and disposable. If the church is not essential, then neither is making known God’s manifold wisdom. If the church is not essential, then neither is its part in God’s eternal purpose of redemption. Yes, the church is essential. By definition, it is the saved ones who belong to Christ (Matthew 16:18). The church is central to God’s eternal purpose and makes known His wisdom. Instead of minimizing the church, we must exalt it. Instead of saying the church is optional, we must honor it as a vital part of God’s eternal purpose.
20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:20–21, NKJV)
Without a doubt, this passage warns Christians against falling away from Christ. The ones described here had escaped sin through knowing Christ; they had been untangled from sin’s snare by the power of the Lord (Romans 6:17-18). They had known the way of righteousness and the holy commandment of God, but now they had returned to sin’s filth and were overcome by it (2 Peter 2:22, 20). The Scriptures reveal the way of righteousness as the pathway of life (Proverbs 12:28). Wisdom travels its byways (Proverbs 8:20). Truth is spoke by its travelers (Matthew 21:32). The Lord knows those who walk its path (Psalm 1:6). He also knows those who turn aside to the right or to the left, leaving its holy commands for the unholy, sinful allurements of the world. Protect yourself against sin. Walk the path of righteousness in faith, guided by truth and strengthened with wisdom, and you will have life. If you have turned from its way, repent and return to the Father. He is ready and able to forgive you (1 John 1:8-9).
21 My son, let them not depart from your eyes— Keep sound wisdom and discretion; 22 So they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck. 23 Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble. (Proverbs 3:21–23, NKJV)
A vital component of wisdom is forethought, the ability to look ahead and to arrange one’s actions and reactions accordingly. “Look before you leap” is an everyday way of expressing this basic trait of wisdom. It is not enough to know right and wrong (truth), it is essential that a knowledge of the truth is coupled with prudent discretion. Note the proverb praises “sound wisdom,” because not all wisdom is sound. There is a wisdom that is “earthly, sensual, demonic” (James 3:15). Such wisdom is like a “bull a china cabinet,” wreaking havoc as it thrashes about, destroying in the name of truth. On the other hand, when wisdom is trained using God’s truth, it will use forethought to evaluate the best way to achieve a righteous outcome (James 3:13, 17-18). Properly applied wisdom will “be life to your soul and grace to your neck,” enabling you to live safely. Wisdom anticipates what is likely to happen, and uses discretion to prepare for and to avoid danger while advancing righteousness. It seems that is what Jesus had in mind when He told the twelve, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. 22 His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. 23 He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. (Proverbs 5:21–23, NKJV)
God sees everything about you (v. 21). He observes everything you do, everywhere you go, even everything you think (Psalm 139:1-4). Therefore, it is a given that God sees all your sins. Which begs the questions, “Are you able to see your sins?” You need to see your own sins, lest you fall under sin’s deadly power. Sin captures and ensnares the wicked (v. 22). When a person refuses the instruction of the Lord, he will die in the foolishness of his sin (v. 23). Do you view your sins as a path to freedom, happiness and fulfillment? If so, you have believed a lie. That is a fool’s errand. Sin always enslaves and destroys (2 Peter 2:19). Denying your sins does not make them go away; they are still before the eyes of the Lord. Thankfully, there is a path to forgiveness, freedom from sin and life’s true fulfillment. It begins by fearing the Lord and accepting His instruction (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
17 Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge; 18 For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; Let them all be fixed upon your lips, 19 So that your trust may be in the LORD; I have instructed you today, even you. (Proverbs 22:17–19, NKJV)
We all need the guidance of wise counsel (Proverbs 19:20). Therefore, we should lean in and hear the counsel of the wise (v. 17). Furthermore, we should commit ourselves to applying our hearts to the wisdom we learn (v. 18). There is no greater source of wisdom than the words of God. We are made wise and gain understanding through them (Psalm 119:98, 104). By storing up God’s wisdom in your heart you are equipped to conduct yourself wisely (James 3:17-18). By being inclined to obtain wisdom and armed with dedication to live by God’s wisdom, we show our trust is in the Lord and not in ourselves (v. 19). And so, turn to Christ, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” to satisfy your longing for wisdom (Colossians 2:3). Lean in and listen to the word of Jesus. Apply yourself to know, keep and speak His word. To whom else shall you go? He has the words of eternal life (John 6:68).