God possesses the wisdom to help our problemsPublished 9:29am Friday, September 7, 2012
Across the Pastor’s Desk
By the Rev. Nancy Overgaard, Chaplain at Thorne Crest Retirement Community
“The Lord will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” — Isaiah 33:6
If ever we needed wisdom, it is now; but, where can enough wisdom be found to solve the complex problems facing our nation? Who, on earth, is wise enough to figure out how to erase a $16 trillion national debt without cutting vital programs, while at the same time making Medicare and Social Security solvent, providing affordable sustainable health care, and reforming the tax code in a way that is prudent and fair? Who is ingenious enough to restructure immigration and border control policies in a way that balances all the various needs and interests? Undoubtedly, there is no one on earth who possesses that kind of wisdom.
But, as the prophet Isaiah testified years ago, there is a God in heaven who possesses more than enough wisdom to help us resolve our problems. Moreover, as the Apostle James wrote, God is more than willing to generously impart wisdom to those who ask (1:5).
But, what does Isaiah know about today’s world? Remarkably, Isaiah’s world shared uncanny similarities to our own. Isaiah lived in a nation that once honored God and enjoyed His blessings, a nation that, in Isaiah’s younger years, had been strong and prosperous. But, over the course of Isaiah’s lifetime, the nation had turned away from God and become corrupt in its values. Internally, the nation had never been more divided. Externally, it had never faced graver threats from its enemies. Economically, Isaiah’s homeland teetered on the brink of collapse. It is in this context that Isaiah urged his fellow citizens to look to the Lord for wisdom.
In the Old Testament, one area in which God granted wisdom to His people was in the area of technical skills and abilities. How often I thought about this as experts struggled to find ways to stop the flow of oil and clean up the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2012. What would happen if we would only ask for his help?
God also granted wisdom in the area of political leadership. One well known example is the wisdom God gave King Solomon when two women came to him claiming the same baby. Solomon calmly called for a sword to cut the baby in half, knowing the true mother would not bear to see her child harmed. The horror of the mother and silence of the imposter revealed who the mother was. How we need that kind of divine wisdom to help us divide the baby, so to speak, on immigration, on health care, on the debt and deficit! On the national level, God gave wisdom to Joseph to feed a nation during seven years of famine. Other examples abound.
Isaiah indicates that God has an entire store house of wisdom available to us. There is just one problem. There is a key to this storehouse, and it is one we have tossed aside as carelessly as had the people of Isaiah’s day. The key to this treasury of wisdom, Isaiah wrote, is the fear of the Lord. By that he means, not a kind of terror or dread that would cause us to distance ourselves from God, but love and respect for God that leads to insight into His ways and readiness to live by His commands. To fear God is to trust and rely on Him in all circumstances.
The first step to solving our problems is to pick up the key. May God grant us all the wisdom and the will to do just that!