by Stuart Gray
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Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12).
This psalm contrasts the permanence of God, ‘You have been our dwelling place before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God’ (verses 1 and 2), with the frailty of humanity, ‘Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death— they are like the new grass of the morning: In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered’ (verses 5 and 6).
To contemplate and resolve this contrast and human dilemma, the psalmist asks God to give us a heart of wisdom.
Wisdom. How often do you hear the word these days – he or she is a wise person; that leader made a wise decision; the wisdom of our elders? It’s a while since I have even heard or read the word. Even in church, I don’t hear ‘wisdom’ mentioned very often.
Maybe that’s a reflection of how the Western world has largely turned its back on religion, particularly Christianity. Proverbs 9:10 says, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom’.
We don’t fear God anymore. Despite the ups and downs of our economic, personal and political life, we live comfortable lives over which we believe we have full control. Many people are more concerned about which ‘group’ they belong to – identity – than they are about fearing and loving God.
God values wisdom. When Solomon asked for a ‘discerning heart’, God gave him wisdom as well as riches and honour.
In Proverbs, wisdom is extolled. ‘Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold’ (Proverbs 13: 13–15) and ‘Her [wisdom’s] ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace’ (Proverbs 13:17).
As Christians, we have access to God’s wisdom through the Bible. I particularly like the description and value of wisdom described in the first four chapters of Proverbs. Let us proclaim that wisdom in the world.
Heavenly Father, we pray that through your word, we can be wisdom in the world. Give us hearts of wisdom that give witness to your saving grace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
Stuart, with his wife Pamela Dalgliesh, lives in Mansfield, Victoria. Stuart has a background in agricultural science, rural journalism and corporate affairs. He loves living on a small farm in the beautiful High Country of Victoria, being involved in the Mansfield community and travelling, having in the last three years done extensive travels in Western Australia, Queensland, the United Kingdom and Ireland.