June 18, 2019
The Bible teaches that we as people are all seen the same ways in the eyes of the Lord. Though we are individually different and unique in some ways, our general makeup is basically the same. This is why the Bible teaches that all things are common among us as people. If we all fall short of the glory of God, the most essential things about us are the same. We are all depraved in nature. Since we are depraved by nature, we are all lacking some significant tools and abilities that are required to please the Lord. For example, in 1 Corinthians 4:7, the Bible says:
“For who makes you differ [from another]? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive [it], why do you boast as if you had not received [it]?”
The Apostle Paul brought up a compelling point. The scriptures teach that the air we breathe comes from God (Acts 17:25). The physical ability we have comes from God (John 15:5). Our ability to exist in human form comes from God (Colossians 1:17). The faith we need to please God comes from the Word He spoke (Romans 10:17). The wisdom we need to understand these things comes from God as well (Proverbs 2:6). This means that our ability to know the truth about who God is, how He works, and what He does for us, comes from wisdom and knowledge that only God provides. If He doesn’t provide this wisdom to us, we don’t have it, and thus, walk though life thinking that we have ability within ourselves, only to find out in the end that we are wrong.
Unfortunately, wisdom is one of those things that many people feel they have and/or can develop on their own. The scriptures teach that this is impossible. True wisdom comes from above and is first pure. We are neither “above” nor pure. Therefore, unless we humbly seek the Lord to know as He knows, we cannot have what He has. Recall that Adam and Eve both ate of the tree of “knowledge of good and evil” in the Garden of Eden. Their consumption of that fruit did not do them good. Their pursuit of “knowledge” apart from God was no profitable for them. When God addressed Job in Job 38:34-38, the Bible shows that God had to remind Job of these things. God sought to humble Job because his trials and difficult circumstances had caused his natural self-righteousness and self-entitlement to lead him astray for a moment. God wanted to lovingly correct Job by reminding Job about the weakness of his stature, his mind, his authority, and his existence. In other words, God wanted to remind Job that he wasn’t like God – not even close. By reminding Job about who He was, God was able to humble Job, thus, leading him to repentance. Here, we learn that it is the remembrance of who God is, acknowledging that He is supremely exalted above us, that causes us to live humbly and rightly before God.
In Job 38:34-38, God asked Job some simple questions that Job was obviously unable to answer, showing the weakness of his wisdom. Since Job’s wisdom was so weak and pitiful compared to God’s, the Lord proved that Job had no right to criticize or despise the manner of God’s work in his life. God asked Job if he could lift up his voice to the clouds to command the rains or lightning to come down from the sky. God asked Job if he was able to speak to the sky to cause rains or lightning to cease. Did Job have command over something as simple and basic as rain and lightning? Consider the nature of rain. It rains all over the earth all of the time. Water is perhaps the most common natural element in all of our planet. Yet, Job had no charge over rain. He could not cause the rain to start or stop. As familiar as rain is to all people all over the earth, Job had not developed a way to speak to rain so as to command it one way or another. For all that Job felt he knew about the complexities of his own life, God proved he didn’t even know about the basics of common natural processes.
Consider how God commands the rain. God speaks to the clouds to ensure that the rains come in just the right amounts. The rains come and flood regions to a certain degree, but not to ruin life on the whole planet. The rains come at the right amounts to ensure that life continues all over. When the rains come, they don’t flood the whole world. They know when to stop so that rain is not destructive like it was in the days of Noah. Then, God commanded the storehouses of the oceans to give up their waters, and brought rain from the sky, using water from beneath and above to destroy the whole world. Since then, God has not given such a command, and as a result, the world has not been flooded. At the same time however, when it does rain, it rains enough to soften the earth, but not to the point of total destruction. God brings enough rain to let the water penetrate the ground, nourishing important plants and trees, but not to the point where the plants and trees are unable to endure. God’s command over the sky is perfect to ensure that, while certain regions have been devastated by natural disasters, God’s authoritative command ensures that the world continues to go on. Do we know how to talk to the clouds in such a way? If so, why could our authority in the world not stop the global flood of Noah, or even various local floods that have destroyed communities and livelihoods? Obviously, the wisdom we think we have is not as great as God’s.
The Lord also mentioned lightning to Job. Lightning is an incredible marvel. It strikes so quickly in ways that seem random. However, the Bible teaches that God’s command and authority over lightning is not random at all. God commands the clouds to strike with lightning, and they respond with obedience. If we want lightning to come, can we speak to the clouds to summon lightning? Do we have the wisdom to communicate with clouds so as to stop lightning that is striking in dangerous areas? Do we have the wisdom to predict the specific spots in which lightning will strike? Lightning strikes quickly, but we don’t have the wisdom to know much about something that exists for such a short period. If we can’t know about something so simple as lightning, how can we predict and understand all the facets of our lives that have more variables?
God plainly asked Job: Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or, who has given understanding to the heart?
Who gives the brain ability to process information and retain it? Who gives the ability to recognize patterns and learn? While we as people might be able to harness certain learning processes to help teaching and understanding, where does the ability originate from? If we don’t first have the ability to learn, how then can we develop understanding to teach? When a child is born with a learning disability, medical science has aided families to cope with the circumstances. Medical science has not cured the circumstances so that the disability is gone and the individual is at full learning capacity. Who determines whether a person will learn by auditory stimulation or visual stimulation? How is it that two people can hear the same lesson, and only one might understand? On a more spiritual level, how is it that so many can read the Bible in their native language, but still struggle to understand its contents and meaning? On the flip side, how is it that so many people throughout history, who were not intellectual or academic, have clear understanding of the Bible, while intellectuals don’t?
The span of human history emphatically proves that wisdom and understanding are not accidental or random. The ability to know and understand has nothing to do with a person’s physical ability, mental capacity, discipline, diligence, or anything else related to self. A person’s ability to know anything, especially that which is Biblically considered “wise” comes from God and God alone. In that we as people haven’t figured out ways to understand, control, or change the basic and fundamental working mechanisms of our planet, shows that, for all we think we know, we really don’t know much at all. For all that we think we know, it pales in comparison to God! The Apostle Paul wrote that, “the foolishness of God is wiser than men.” This means that, if God was ignorant about anything (which He isn’t), that ignorance would still be wiser and smarter than all the wisdom and knowledge people could summon on their own collectively! Knowing this, it is unwise to figure we know better than God. We don’t; and since we don’t we should be careful about how we think about God. Though our lives may seem difficult and things might not be going as we hope, this doesn’t mean that God is at fault. God always knows what He’s doing. We don’t. The next time we feel like criticizing God for the ways things are going, look up to the sky and command a cloud to produce rain on your circumstances in a manner that is perfect to produce fruit. When we inevitably see that such an exercise is silly, remember about the One who has that wisdom and authority all of the time, and humble yourself before Him with faith.