The Wisdom of the World
For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
~ Romans 8:24-25
Proverbs 9:10, one of the most crucial verses in all the wisdom literature, reads: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
To summarize, here is a paraphrase of the first half of this verse: The cultivation of a reverential attitude of awe for the eternal, holy, and almighty Ruler of all creation and a humble attitude of radical trust and dependence upon Him in every facet of life is the foundation upon which true skill in the art of living is built.
When we ask why so few people seem to nurture this twin attitude of awe and humility before God, we arrive at a fundamental struggle which is unfolded and illustrated in most of the pages of Scripture. It is a clash between two utterly different value systems--the temporal versus the eternal.
The temporal value system demands no trust and dependence upon God because it is based on what is seen; the eternal value system, on the other hand, is unseen and therefore requires a walk of faith (2 Cor. 5:7).
Our culture bombards us with the mentality that this world is all there is and tells us, in effect, that the goal of life is “Maximize your pleasure and minimize your pain. Build a name for yourself if you can, and establish a progeny.” There are many variations, but the enticing wisdom of this world, as observed by the Preacher in Ecclesiastes, is always derived from what is “under the sun.” The wisdom which comes from above, from beyond the sun, tells us that we are immortal creatures and that this brief moment on this planet is as nothing compared to the eternal existence that awaits us.
Lord, let me always find my values and wisdom in your word, rather than the world. Amen.
~ Ken Boa
Dr. Boa is devoted to a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a B.S. in astronomy from Case Institute of Technology, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a Ph.D. from New York University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in England. Visit his website at KenBoa.org.