Tag Archives: knowledge

Wisdom or Folly?

“If I only knew then what I know now, I would have approached my life back then so differently.” I bet almost all of us have stated that lament at one time or another, either on looking back at high school, college, or maybe that first job. Ah, wisdom; that wonderful gift from God that opens our eyes to a grander plan than we could ever comprehend on our own. Wisdom helps us realize that life is a much larger picture than even the wisest among us can perceive at any given time, and although we cannot see the entirety of that big picture we know it exists. As we gain in wisdom we begin to look beyond our own well being and seek the well being of others. We begin to realize that the world wasn’t created solely for our benefit, but we were created to serve the world around us. If we seek wisdom we can find it.

“Then I saw that there was more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness.” Ecclesiastes 2:13 

Why, then, do some seem to choose to wallow in folly? What is folly, anyway? Merriam-Webster defines folly, “the lack of good sense or judgment; a foolish act or idea; foolish behavior.” Truly, folly is all around us. Now, to be fair, I must confess that I have spent my share of time pursuing folly. I remember making decent grades in high school without having to put in a whole lot of effort. I remember making the Dean’s list my freshman year of college – not the list of students who excelled, but the list of students whose admission was in possible jeopardy because of a lower-than-acceptable GPA. It seems that my studies in “Texas Dance Hall” my freshman year did not support my major at Concordia Lutheran College. I remember the early days of my working career, in which my priorities included occupying my favorite bar stool at the local watering hole. “If I only knew then what I know now…”

Succinctly stated, folly gets us nowhere constructive. Pursuit of folly keeps us in darkness; it is a barrier to success both personally and professionally. Unfortunately, folly often presents itself as the path of least resistance, thus it is relatively easy to follow. But following folly’s path is like starting down that hiking trail that ventures into the woods. At first the path is wide and easy to follow. As we move deeper into the woods the path grows narrower, weeds begin to obstruct the way, and we soon find ourselves standing in the middle of the woods with no clear sense of direction as we wonder how to get out. Having followed folly’s path, we find ourselves worse off than we were upon beginning folly’s journey.

Our country seems to have embraced folly these days. Our national debt climbs at an alarming rate with no effort by our government nor demand by the people to reverse the trend. We seek after short-term pleasure without seeing the big picture of the long-term consequences of those choices. Have we killed the cure for cancer or the next great composer through abortion? As we continue to whittle away at our moral foundation, shouting slurs and insults at one another along the way, are we not sacrificing the long term health and well-being of our nation? As we, in our passivity, hand over increasing amounts of power to our unelected Supreme Court, are we not squandering the freedoms that thousands of men and women fought and died to win and preserve? Folly, indeed. It won’t be long before the path vanishes into the weeds and we find ourselves standing alone in the dark, cold woods wondering how in the heck we got there and where do we go now.

The United States is headed down a dark path, but it is not too late to change course. I choose wisdom. I choose Light. I choose to share the virtues of those things as I shun the foolishness of folly. I don’t want our nation to look back at today from fifty years hence and lament, “If I only knew then what I know now…”

What say you?

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Those Beautiful Ancient Paths ~ Jeremiah 6:1-30

This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ ~ Jeremiah 6:16

As I read the book of Jeremiah, I have come to understand his reluctance to follow God’s calling and share His message. God is angry and His wrath is expressed very powerfully. The common theme of Israel’s sin is their turning away from God and seeking their own path. They have rejected God’s sovereignty and placed themselves in His rightful place. Rather than follow God’s ways, they have embraced the false teachings of foreign gods. Yes, God is angry, and rightfully so.

Today history is repeating itself; we haven’t learned. In our modern times we seek human wisdom. I have a friend who grew up with me in the same church. Now a self-declared non-believer, he recently posted on Facebook, “Science and knowledge will save us. Nothing else.” What a succinct and sad testimony about our society today! Human wisdom tells us that the things of God are foolish, and that we who seek to truly follow Him are ignorant and close-minded. But we who seek to walk with God in faith know better.

Path

Path (Photo credit: greeneydmantis)

God, in His perfect wisdom, gave us a very clear roadmap to living a Godly life. It is presented in the Ten Commandments. While humanity tells us they’re outdated, God tells us through Jeremiah to seek the ancient paths and walk in them. My heart breaks when I hear former believers and even those in the modern church reject the ways of God and instead follow the crooked path of human wisdom. God, in his sovereignty, knows what is best for His children.

Notice His promise: “…you will find rest for your souls.” There is a beautiful peace that comes with following the Lord. It’s a peace that enables us to face life’s difficulties knowing that God is in control and His will is good and perfect. Several years ago, I was facing difficulties at work and knew I was about to lose my job. I wasn’t worried even though I felt I should be. A non-believing coworker came into my office and shut the door. “How is it that you are so calm as all this is going on? Aren’t you concerned?” I told him that I believed God had everything under control; I could lose my job but God would ultimately take care of me and my family. With God’s peace, His rest for our souls, we approach life with a sense of peace and calm that only God can give.

When one truly comes to faith in Christ, our perspective and our focus change. We no longer seek the wisdom of this world; we seek God and His wisdom first and foremost. As for me, I am resolved to stand firmly for Christ, no matter what society thinks and no matter what consequences may befall me. Of course, I am incapable of this on my own; I can only do that which God enables me and empowers me to do through the Holy Spirit. I will stumble and I will fall, but I will do my best to surrender to Him and strive to be a person who deals honestly and seeks the truth.

Ponder this: What nuggets of human wisdom have I elevated to God’s rightful place?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing Your wisdom through Your Word. As I seek to follow You, show me the ancient paths, help me to walk in them, and give me the courage and trust to share Your wisdom with those around me. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Judgment and Mercy ~ Jeremiah 1:1-19

Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” ~ Jeremiah 1:9-10

God called Jeremiah to deliver bad news to a divided Israel. Over a span of 40 years, Jeremiah delivered God’s message of judgment to an audience that didn’t want to hear it; no wonder, as the message foretells destruction because the people have turned away from God: “I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods, and in worshiping what their hands have made” (vs 16). We must always remember that God is righteous, just, and sovereign. There is judgment for sin, and everyone will face it. God’s judgment is pure and just; never forget that.

Two points strike me about God’s calling of Jeremiah:

  1. God chose Jeremiah “before I formed you in the womb” (vs 4). What an insight this offers into the eternal scope of God’s plan! Our all-knowing God has already chosen those who will come after us to proclaim His Word! Here we see clearly that God has a plan for everybody, even before He makes us.
  2. Jeremiah was anything but enthusiastic as he received God’s calling. He was reluctant. He said he was too young; that he could not speak. But God knew better; He had made His choice. Even in spite of Jeremiah’s reluctance, God calls him anyway.

The news God is calling Jeremiah to deliver will not be received well, and Jeremiah appears to know that. God reassures him, instructing Jeremiah not to be terrified in front of the leaders. God has made Jeremiah a fortified city, able to stand up to anything as long as he trusts God. What great reassurance for all of us who love and trust the Lord!

Many modern-day Christian churches don’t like to talk about God’s righteous judgment. The reality, though, is that God’s righteous judgment still applies today. All of us are sinners and will face God’s righteous judgment.

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”  “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.”  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. ~ Romans 3:10-20

God’s righteous judgment applies to all – whether they believe it or not. There is a price to be paid for sin; justice must be served on the sinner.

Indeed, God’s judgment is perfect, yet His mercy is immeasurable:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” ~ John 3:16-17

You see, the world is already condemned because of sin. Jesus came that those who believe in Him would be redeemed and have eternal life. Only through Jesus can the sinner be saved: Buddha cannot save us; Islam cannot save us; Mother Earth cannot save us; human knowledge and wisdom cannot save us; there is no “universal salvation.” Scripture tells us clearly that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~ John 14:6

After Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to His disciples and gave them this command:

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:16-20

Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” He is our righteous judge, and in mercy for us sinners, He Himself suffered our punishment on the cross. Through His act of mercy, all who believe in Him have had their sentence served in full!

The commissioning of His disciples recorded in Matthew applies to us believers today. People need to be made aware of their sin and their condition under sin so they recognize the need for a Savior. Once they see their condition and realize the severity of the judgment that awaits them, the good news of the Gospel is ever so sweet.

God called Jeremiah to deliver bad news, and Jeremiah responded to that call in faith and trust in spite of his human limitations. Today we are called to deliver wonderful news, yet we often hesitate to do so. Let us not live our lives in fear of what others might say or think of our faith. Let always remember that God is with us. Let us live out the Great Commission and faithfully share the Gospel with a nation and a world that so desperately needs to hear it!

Ponder this: Am I responding to the Great Commission as God would have me do so? Who within my reach needs to hear the Gospel?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, I come to you today a poor, miserable sinner who takes great comfort in the reality that Jesus paid the price for my sins. Forgive me for my sins, and help me live a life that constantly and consistently reflects Your goodness and mercy. Show me, Lord, how You would have me share my faith with those who need Your Gospel. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

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