The Benefits Of Wisdom
A daily devotion for February 17th
29 This only have I found:
God made mankind upright,
but men have gone in search of many schemes."
1 Who is like the wise man?
Who knows the explanation of things?
Wisdom brightens a man's face
and changes its hard appearance.
Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man's face and changes its hard appearance. (Ecclesiastes 8:1)
There is a marvelous, fourfold description of what happens to one who discovers the true wisdom of righteousness as a gift from God, one who walks with God in the fear of God.
First, it will make that person a unique human being.
Who is like the wise man? One of the follies of life is to try to imitate somebody else. The media constantly bombards us with subtle invitations to look like, dress, or talk like some popular idol. If you succeed in that, of course, you will be nothing but a cheap imitation of another person. The glory of the good news is that when you become a new creature in Jesus Christ, you will be unique. You will become more and more like Christ, but unlike everyone else in personality. You will not be a copy, a cheap imitation, but an original from the Spirit of God.
Secondly, the Searcher says, godly wisdom will give you a secret knowledge:
Who knows the explanation of things? The implication of that question is that the wise person knows. This is what Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 2:
The spiritual man makes judgments about all things (1 Corinthians 2:15a). Spiritual people are in a position to pass moral judgment on the value of everything, not because they are so smart, but because the God who teaches them is wise.
Thirdly, such a person will experience a visible joy:
Wisdom brightens a man's face. Grace—not grease—is what makes the face shine. Manufacturers put grease in cosmetics to make the face shine artificially, but it is grace that does it from within. Grace and the joy that results from it visibly expressed make a face shine.
Finally, it changes the inner disposition of a person:
[Wisdom] changes its hard appearance. Have you ever watched somebody whose life was under the impact of the Spirit of God soften, mellow, and grow easier to live with? That is the work of the Spirit of God.
All of us have sung the hymns of John Newton. One in particular is a favorite of many:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound—that saved a wretch like me! That is John Newton's story. He was raised by a godly mother who prayed for him all his life. As soon as he came of age, he joined the slave trade, running slaves from Africa to England. He fell into wild, riotous living, involving himself in drunken brawls. He ended up at last, as he himself confesses,
a slave of slaves, actually serving some of the escaped slaves on the African coast, wretched, miserable, and hardly even alive. Then he found voyage on a ship back to England. In the midst of a terrible storm in the Atlantic, when he feared for his life, he was converted; he remembered his mother's prayers, and he came to Christ. He became one of the great Christians of England, author of many hymns that set forth the joy, the radiance, the gladness of his life as he found it in Jesus Christ.
Here the Searcher has clearly declared what he emphasizes throughout the whole book of Ecclesiastes: that it is the man or woman who finds the living God who discovers the answer to the riddles of life.
Father, thank You that when You came into my life, You granted me wisdom from above. Teach me to listen and live by the wisdom You give through Your Word.
Life Application: Media bombardment encourages us to always imitate and copy somebody else, but God made us individually unique. Have we discovered the benefits of godly wisdom?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.