He replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. Daniel 12:9-10 (NIV).
Who is wise? The wisest man who ever lived was Solomon, and that’s because he specifically asked God to bless him with wisdom (when he could have asked for anything else). Dr. Fauci doesn’t seem wise. Neither do the talking heads on TV or in our political parties. Or on the internet. Pope Francis seems like a wise man, even with certain failings; we all have them. Billy Graham seemed like a wise man; ditto Norman Vincent Peale, C. S. Lewis, my grandpa Julius, and a hundred other people who’ll come to mind if you give me a few minutes to think about it.
Who is wise and what makes wisdom?
No, it isn’t academic degrees. My parents practically worshipped knowledge, and both my sister and I are college-educated with multiple degrees. But college doesn’t make you wise. Indeed, most colleges today disparage anything Biblical, especially, it seems, colleges like Harvard, Yale, and the other Ivies that were originally chartered as Christian institutions.
Experience helps make someone wise, but that’s not all of it.
What about me? Am I wise? I’m very interested in apologetics. Ten-plus years of these blog posts seems to be proof of that. I really enjoy studying the Bible and looking for how it plays out in our lives, how God speaks to us daily through these timeless verses, and what we can do to better live them out. It’s a great thing, but my interest (or even just study) doesn’t make me wise. Indeed, many people would insist (and maybe rightly so) that I’m not very wise at all.
So, what makes people wise?
Isaiah 29 brings up a very good point: if someone doesn’t know how to read, or even interpret scripture, then the scripture is sealed. If Scriptures can’t be understood because they can’t be read, then they can’t be comprehended. More and more this is becoming the case. When study or use of Scripture is taken out of the public domain, as it has been in our civic and public school lives, understanding of it is removed as well. By their own choice, most people willingly fail to understand God’s word in their lives because it is sealed off by their own willful ignorance.
What makes us wise? You know the answer. Wisdom begins and ends with faith in God alone. Only in faith – like Daniel had – can we understand what God reveals to us.
For further reading: Isaiah 29:11, Daniel 12:11
Lord, open my mind to understanding Your Word. Let me understand what You speak to me so that I might share it in Your world.
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