“Concerning Edom: This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Is there no longer wisdom in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom decayed?” Jeremiah 49:7 NIV
I came across this verse in my devotions, and it grabbed my attention due to the current uncertain events we are experiencing today. The questions God is asking through his prophet Jeremiah paint a picture. On this prophetic canvas is a picture of a country who would go from wisdom, strength, and power to a place where wisdom would fade, due to its sin against God and His people.
“Has their wisdom decayed?” Something that decays is no longer living. The life, the vibrancy has vanished. Edom was where wise people resided. They would have been considered a “woke” country in today’s vernacular. Founded by Esau, they were known for their trading. Though related to Israel, they were a continuous enemy, and for their rejoicing over the fall of God’s people who were facing judgment for their falling away, God was bringing about their demise that would eventually take them from prosperous and powerful, to a country that would eventually disappear. A people known for their wisdom, would simply be forgotten.
When coming across this verse through the perspective of today’s super charged politically correct climate, I wrote in my journal Bible the following, “Good question God! It’s like when a nation turns their back on God, they get stupid. Wisdom flees!” Sin will never make you smarter! Anyone who has allowed pride to live in their heart is not elevating their IQ to a higher standard. Wisdom will flee when we think we are smarter than God.
“Is there no longer wisdom in Teman?” One truth I have discovered during these uncertain times is my need for God’s wisdom to lead my heart, home, and ministry. The last thing I would want a future generation to say about the church I pastor or the family I lead is, “Why did they do that?” How many people have fallen because they were blinded by pride, greed, anger, or bitterness? People so blinded that they could not comprehend that they were no longer walking in wisdom but instead the comfort of their echo chambers that kept them dumb to the very things they needed to be aware of. It is a story that is ancient. Start humble, find success, forget how you got there. Pride and partisan strongholds make us stupid. Ouch!
COVID, racial tension, shutdowns, and furloughs have taken many of us to unfamiliar places that have given us the opportunity to seek God, search our hearts, and depend each day on the wisdom He gives. As we look at our nation what do we see? I know what I see. I see the evidence of wisdom slipping through our hands. I will not get into the politics of it all. That is not my job nor area of influence. I have a vote just like you do. I might not be consulted to make public policy, but I am filled with the Holy Spirit and in recognizing the need for wisdom in our homes, for our neighbors, communities, and nation, I can pray!
We are an influence through prayer! Yes, wisdom may be decaying, but we can ask God to restore us through repentance. The wisdom of God can still flow to us if we will position our hearts in Christ and ask God to pour it out. His word promises us that He will give it to us without finding fault. Imagine leaders all over our nation not knowing what to do but realizing they can ask God. The same for parents, teachers, and administrators. When I pray for my president, governor and mayor, I can ask God to give them wisdom. When I pray for my school, I can ask God to give them wisdom. When I pray for those I lead, I can ask God to keep them humble and sensitive to God and His Word and seek the Lord for wisdom.
I end with this. We can find comfort and the words to pray for ourselves and others in this uncertain season in Isaiah 11:2-3, as spoken prophetically about Jesus who lives in us...
“The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD- 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.”