“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. 9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path;” Proverbs 2:6-9 (ESV)
I am writing this devotion on my 53rd birthday. I can honestly tell you that I am wiser now than I was on my 33rd birthday, though don’t tell the 33-year-old AB that. I am thankful that social media was not available back then, otherwise the young know it all would have been in trouble because he thought everyone would want to know what he really didn’t know.
Today, we are seeing the deadly and destructive effects of a nation that is not allowing wisdom to lead. The jury is still out on the COVID19 and the effects on the economy. What we do know is that a deadly virus got caught into the trappings of politics and that it produced division, anger and mistrust. Then you add the murder of a black man named George Floyd and once again we see a racial wound in our nation be opened.
The church family of PAG learned in February in a series called, “Love is Understanding”, that Black Lives do Matter! Why? Because in our nation there was a time when they did not matter. Spin it all that you want, but we cannot dodge our history and the stories still told today by our brothers and sisters who remember. They were there. It happened to them. This is still the case today. People have experienced injustice and we cannot pretend it is not there. But we cannot allow this truth to be used to destroy the good in our nation that is already wobbling from the effect of a shutdown. Wisdom gives us the way to walk through both. We need wisdom now more than ever.
Today the voices of protests are crying for understanding and justice. Before you judge, remember what many were feeling just a few weeks ago when we were told we could not open our business, go to our church, etc. Many felt unheard and pushed to the side while politics ruled medicine. Trust science! No trust People! I lean more to trust the One who created both. How about trust God?
Proverbs 3:6-9 I believe is the blueprint America needs and our churches need to pray. Wisdom leads to the pathway of good, righteousness and integrity. It is the level path in a turbulent journey.
Wisdom is in the fabric of our foundation as a nation. Look at the Constitution of our country and tell me that our forefathers were not led by One who could see into 2020 and beyond. Over 200 years ago they crafted a document that would be relevant today. Look at the First Amendment. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." It was wisdom that gave us the right to free speech, freedom of religion and the freedom to speak our minds in protest.
Look at the wisdom flowing in this amendment. Free to worship, free to speak, freedom for the press (hold those in authority accountable with truth) and the freedom to gather to protest what you feel is wrong. What happened to George Floyd was wrong! What has happened to our black brothers and sisters in the past was wrong. Protesting is using the wisdom given to us by those who wrote the Amendment. Martin Luther King Jr. did this and effectively changed our nation for the better. Wisdom prevailed in the United States and I believe it can again. What do we need to do?
Ask God! He gives wisdom generously! (James 1:5) I do not care who is Governor, Mayor or President, if they need wisdom, God says to ask. Church, pray for your leaders. Ask God to open their eyes to see the need to inquire of God. Solomon asked God for wisdom and it moved His heart to pour out so much wisdom that Solomon was a wisdom freak! King Cyrus of Persia was not a believer in God, but God used him to free God’s people to return to Jerusalem and begin to rebuild the Temple. Abraham Lincoln was a President who sought wisdom amid slavery. God poured it out along with strength to endure and slavery was abolished. There is much more work to be done, but politics is not where the power to solve problems dwells. Wisdom is the answer, but we must ask.
Wisdom leads us to listen. If you ask a question, be willing to listen to the answer. We are missing this in America today. No one wants to listen to the other. Everyone needs to be right instead of considering that we may be wrong. When people feel like they need to be heard it is probably because they are not. Wisdom will show us the problem and the answer if we listen. The protests were showing light on the problem. The message was being heard, but then the message got lost to the politics and the chaos. Ugh! Wy does this happen? Have you taken time to consider that there is an enemy who does not want us to hear the message? Rioting is rooted in anger, hate and chaos. Nothing good comes from it. Protesting brings voices together to amplify a message. This is why the Church must be in unity. Together we amplify the gospel. Rioting brings division, strife and message of confusion. Ask God to silence the enemy of partisan politics and open the ears of our leaders to His wisdom.
Understanding is the fruit of listening. Leaders who listen lead well. How many problems can be solved when we take the time to understand where another brother or sister is coming from. To hear their story and their pain can often help guide both parties to the path of clarity to fix or heal the problem. Understanding is calm. The journey may take time and be painful, but it brings us to what is right, and justice prevails.
Now more than ever, we need wisdom in America.