The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding

George Warnock shared the following:

Apollos, an eloquent teacher of the scriptures, had been to Ephesus before Paul, and had accurately taught the disciples about the Lord Jesus, knowing only the baptism of John. Then Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and explained the Gospel to him, and with this further enlightenment he powerfully preached the Lord Jesus, as the One that John had presented in his gospel of the Kingdom.

Then Paul in his journeys came to Ephesus and found the disciples, and asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit. They said they didn’t know anything about the Holy Spirit. They told Paul they only knew about John’s baptism. Paul explained the Gospel further, and they "were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus", the way the apostles had been baptizing ever since the Lord ascended. "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied" (Acts 19:6).

But writing to this same church later, we find the apostle Paul praying for them, that they might come still higher in the revelation of Christ:

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead.." (Eph. 1:17-20).

"Filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding" (Col. 1:9). This wisdom and understanding gives us the assurance and peace, that we are walking in His way. It does not necessarily answer all our questions — in fact He may answer very few of our questions. But like our understanding of the universe in which we live. We know very little about God’s intricate workings in creation — but "by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (Heb. 11:3). God did not make the worlds out of nothing. He made them out of things we cannot see — invisible things. Our whole way of life, if we are truly walking by faith — is full of strange and perplexing happenings — but He gives us wisdom and spiritual understanding to know that His ways are invisible — not meaningless nor indiscriminate. He works in our little world as He did in those worlds out there in space, with intent and purpose. And by faith we understand, because we know it is all clear in His eyes. And it is this spiritual understanding that causes us to say with His servant Job: "He knoweth the way that I take, and when He hath tried me I shall come forth as gold".

As the Spirit of God comes into our lives .. this is not the capstone. He has come to abide within us, and to lead us further into those realms in God that as yet we know very little about. The children of Israel were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea, but most of them failed to know God’s ways, and to enter the land of promise (see 1 Cor. 10:1-5). We are still far from the mighty Baptism of Fire that the scriptures talk about. God does not want us to feel we have attained to some spiritual height of glory, just because of certain experiences we have had along the way. Rather, the Spirit of God has come to be our Helper and daily Companion here on earth, to lead us into all Truth, to explore those unseen realms in God — the lengths and the breadths, the depths and the heights of His glory and presence — until we are filled with all the fullness of God. He wants to invade our lives with His mighty presence, until all the dross of our carnal ways are consumed with His holy fire. He wants to purge us with those seven flames that burn before the throne, and look upon us with those penetrating eyes of the Lamb, that our whole body might be full of light, having no part dark (Lk. 11:36).

His gifts are precious gifts from the Father, sent forth to adorn and prepare the Bride for the Son. But like Rebekah, when she catches but a distant glimpse of Isaac, she is off the camel and on her way to meet him. As the day of His appearing draws closer, we are attracted less by the gifts, in anticipation of seeing the Giver. We would not minimize the importance of gifts, any more than we would minimize the importance of the flower on the vine. But when the petals begin to fall off, we know it is time for the fruit to begin to form. Those flowers that adorn your church are going to fade away. Those prophecies sooner or later are going to fail. Many times they are failing even now. Words of wisdom and knowledge cannot stay fresh and vital for long if we continue to pursue the gifts, rather than the Giver. God begins to dry up the flowers, when the season is about to change. There are seasons in God, and He wants us to be aware that a change is coming. Be glad if in your desire for God you are sensing a certain futility in church activities that once were vibrant with life. True prophecy will encourage God’s people to move forward, and to look for something more. And if you sense that hunger and thirst in your walk with Him, be encouraged! He wants to prepare in us a permanent abiding place for Himself. We need to let Him know we desire Him to come closer. Let us love Him more. Draw still closer to His heart. Do those things which please the Father, as Jesus did.

"If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love Him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him" (Jn. 14:23). Does this sound far out and strange? It is! But still this is what we must pursue, for we know it is the passion in God’s heart to take up His habitation in the humble and contrite hearts of men and women. He asks us to choose His yoke, and walk in abiding union with Him.

Wisdom is related to understanding, so we speak of them as close brothers. God tells us: "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding" (Prov. 4:7). It is good if we have a heart that is searching for wisdom .. rather than for some kind of gift that might make us popular and famous. Wise men of old sought for it, as a hidden treasure. So let us search for wisdom, as Job did. He writes a whole chapter describing His search for wisdom. He speaks of the hidden treasures in the depths of the earth, with all its precious stones, and sapphires, and gold, and jewels of coral and pearl, and rubies. Yet he is aware that what he is looking for is still beyond his reach. He continues to probe the secret of wisdom. He asks the sea, and the sea says, "It is not in me". He scours the earth for answers, and wonders if it might be found in the lightning and thunder. But it is not there. He does not find it anywhere in all of God’s wonderful creation. But finally he gets his answer from God: "Then did He see it, and declare it; He prepared it, yea, and searched it out. and unto man he said, Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding" (Job 28:27, 28). O what a let-down, when men filled with worldly wisdom, are faced with a conclusion like that!

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