June 02, 2021 | Don Horban
References: Psalm 104:24Romans 8:28Job 23:8-102 Corinthians 1:3-4, 4:7-10, 12:7-9Colossians 1:24
Topic: Attributes of God

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A central conviction of the Scriptures is that God is never other than wise

in anything He does - Psalm 104:24 - “O Lord, how manifold are your

works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your

creatures.” The Psalmist takes note that everything God does - His

“works” - are directed towards the wisest ends. In other words, not only

does God know everything (omniscience), but His knowledge is never

wasted knowledge. Everything God does is going somewhere. God never

spins His tires. The goal of His knowledge and power - all of God’s divine

ability - is wisely used.

J.I.Packer said it as well as anyone in his classic book, “Knowing God” -

"Wisdom is knowledge harnessed to the right end. It's the power to

see, and the inclination to choose, the best and highest goal and the

surest means of attaining it."

Because God has access to all information, all His judgements are made

wisely. He never makes a mistake. He always moves everything toward the

proper end. In short, He, and He alone, can “work all things together for

good”(Romans 8:28).

Think about this for a minute. God is never wrong. God is never confused.

He is never caught wondering how He will handle any situation. He can

never improve on any decision He has made. He has never had to

correct an error He has made - never. He always does the right thing the

very first time.

True, there are those tricky passages where the Bible speaks of God

repenting and changing His mind. The people of Nineveh turn from their

sins and God changes His mind about His coming judgement. But while

God, in very human language, reveals the anguish of His heart, this isn’t so

much a changing of God’s plan (He told the people they needed to repent

to avoid His judgment) but rather it’s the people realigning themselves

with what God intended all along. It’s a bit like walking into the wind and

walking with the wind. You experience the wind in different ways, but it isn’t

really the wind that changed.

Sometimes we get so familiar with the language of certain truths we get

used to speaking the words without knowing what those words actually

contain. When considering the wisdom of God here are the basics to keep

in mind. I have three points. We’ll study one tonight and two next week:


I will always be stubbing my toe on the wisdom of God if I'm

measuring it by my own assessment of the appropriateness and

pleasantness of my circumstances. God’s goal for my life never has

been and never will be its pleasantness.

In fact, we will come huge strides in understanding the ways of God if

we remember just two features of the motivation behind everything

God does. First, He is looking for the development of my Christlikeness

and, second, His eternal glory.

This means if my whole life is bent on the pursuit of self-fulfillment

and instant reward God and I will constantly be on two different

pages. And I can’t win if I’m not on God’s page. If I am going to see

the wise hand of God on my life, I must be looking at it with His goals

and ends in view.

So important is this truth, the Scriptures bulge with examples of

learning to submit to the ultimate end of God’s wise agenda for our


a) Job 23:8-10 - “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,

and backward, but I do not perceive him; [9] on the left hand

when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the

right hand, but I do not see him. [10] But he knows the way

that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

Now, from a certain perspective, there is nothing good

happening to Job at all. Certainly, everything looks confused

and chaotic. Measuring from the outward circumstances of Job’s

life, either God doesn't exist, or He doesn't care, or He's unable

to do anything about Job’s problems.

Yet we know from the solid revelation of Scripture that all of

those conclusions are dead wrong. Today, solid gold Job has a

clear, complete picture. Back then, only God did. Job had to

trust in God's wisdom. And as pious and poetic as those words

sound - “Just trust in Almighty God’s wisdom!” - the reason

Job was able to trust was he understood the goals of God’s

wisdom - “....when he has tried me I shall come out as

gold....”(10). God’s wisdom is directing everything to shape

Job, not please Job.

b) 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 - “Blessed be the God and Father of our

Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all

comfort, [4] who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we

may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with

the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by


Behold the wisdom of God. He uses the difficult situations of life

to prepare us for ministry we haven’t any inkling about yet. In His

wisdom He knows the end from the beginning. He’s getting Paul

ready for ministry opportunities Paul couldn’t see yet. Paul was

patient and prayerful enough to see the wisdom of God. God

was putting Paul in some situations where Paul would have to

really rely on the Lord for hope and comfort.

But why? What was God up to in His wisdom? Paul says it was

so he, Paul, would be able to comfort others who would face the

same kinds of situations. In other words, God was preparing

Paul for helping hurting people on a deeper level than Paul

could give if he had only advice to offer them, rather than the

kind of genuine compassion that is borne from sharing the same


Pause over this truth for just a minute. I think this idea of

suffering in the wise plan of God so we can minister more

effectively the love of Jesus to others in their need and pain may

be the best explanation for one of the most difficult verses in the

New Testament - Colossians 1:24 - “Now I rejoice in my

sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what

is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that

is, the church....”

Certainly we can’t make up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions

in the sense of helping redeem sinners. But we can, by trusting

in the wisdom of Father God, know that everything He brings us

through is done with the wise agenda of ministering the kind of

love Jesus demonstrated when He suffered for us. We love and

care for people on a deeper level when we can empathize fully

with their suffering rather than merely spin out tidy advice for

their situations. In His infinite wisdom God uses our trials to give

our hearts over to those who need our help.

c) 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 - “So to keep me from being too elated

by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was

given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me,

to keep me from being too elated. [8] Three times I pleaded

with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. [9] But he

said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is

made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the

more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ

may rest upon me.”

Buried in the theology of these verses is the subject of

unanswered prayer - or at the very least, prayers that don’t

produce the answer we desired. Here is the great apostle Paul,

a man who had been caught up in the spirit into heaven itself,

who had raised the dead and cast out demons - here is this

apostle, bumbling along like the rest of us, not knowing why God

won’t listen to him.

If you've prayed over and over again for healing or help in some

area, and the Lord hasn't shown you any reason to stop

asking, then keep asking, seeking, knocking. But at some point

in time, at least stop and seek His face on one very important

issue: "Lord, what can I learn from this? Do you have some

higher purpose? My love for you doesn't depend on getting

you to perform a miracle. Teach me Your way."

That last phrase is so important whenever we’re studying the

wisdom of God - “Teach me Your way.” Every Christian needs

to learn deeply that God wants to do more than constantly just

tell us what to do. He wants us to learn His way. Learning His

way is just another way of saying “learning His wisdom.”

Learning His way is learning the way He does things. It’s

learning His goals and striving for His agenda. And it’s learning

to do this by nature - without always having to be told.

Do you want to constantly have to tell your children to brush their

teeth? Even if they obey you, do you want to always have to tell

them? No. What you want is for them to mature in knowing what

is truly important for themselves. Paul said he actually had to

learn from the Lord that God was more interested in Paul’s

humility than his comfort. This was learning God’s ways. And

Paul would not have known this had God immediately answered

his prayer for physical relief.

Here again, trusting in God’s wisdom has a maturing influence

on our lives. This is the way it worked for Paul.

d) 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 - “But we have this treasure in jars of

clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and

not to us. [8] We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;

perplexed, but not driven to despair; [9] persecuted, but not

forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; [10] always

carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of

Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”

Again, we have to understand how the wisdom of God works or

we're going to be confused. This relates to one of the most

common mistakes Christian people make as they assess some

form of service for the Lord.

We feel that our sense of inadequacy for some task means we

can’t possibly be called to it. We think the only criteria for

spiritual usefulness comes from qualifying to be used by God.

We feel that our weaknesses put us on the sidelines of what

God has for us in this world.

But Paul unfolds another aspect of the wisdom of God in these

verses. He describes his condition under the load of ministry in

words that don’t sparkle their way into many “how to” ministry

best sellers - “afflicted,” “perplexed,” “persecuted,” and

“struck down”(8-9). Like it or not, Paul says he goes through

untold garbage - he feels crushed and overwhelmed all the time

- and he's right smack-dab in the middle of the will of God for

his life!

But God has a plan - a very wise plan - in this difficult situation.

God’s plan is to cause people to marvel at the glory of Christ in

Paul’s situation. God’s plan is to make sure no one gets the

impression Paul strides through life in his own strength. That

would only bring glory to Paul, not Christ. And God loves this

world too much to allow people to focus on Paul rather than


God’s wise plan is to have lost people reached evangelistically

and Christians encouraged spiritually through Paul’s Christ

glorifying life. Now, God in His wisdom has a totally different


This is still God’s method of operation in our lives today. In

everything I do He wants it to be obvious that my strength is in

the Lord so when I get through some difficult situation people will

stand and say, "How wonderful of Christ to enable Pastor Don’s

life like that. That’s the kind of God I want to serve! Because if

God can do that through him, just imagine what He could do

through me.”