Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Light to the Nations! Of God’s Wisdom and Understanding

“Observe [the decrees and laws the LORD gave me, Moses] carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

—Deuteronomy 4:6 (TNIV).

Who—as a people—can even come close to the people of God? This is no idiotically proud statement. It is a statement of truth, simply because the people of God run passionately after the character of God—a God who is the very nature of wisdom and understanding—to the detriment of no person in their midst, even foreigners.

And this is what sets God, and the people of God, apart.

Certainly the other nations had their laws too, but their moral codes were written and issued by kings, not the Creator of the universe and all things in it.[1] In this way, the Law of the Israelites was unique—no wonder it proved Yahweh as having a personable, yet utterly holy, character. No other deity was like him.

Wisdom is the Trojan Horse of truth from the LORD. It doesn’t portray itself as a disguise but the world won’t readily reckon it to be any force at all until the moment God wishes for it to be—then it’s revealed; and almost always it’s revealed through God’s people.

And when the moment comes, anyone with eyes to see will see, and ears to hear will hear, and a heart to know will feel, that God is real and following him brings blessing.

There’s a fuller sense of impact in living according to God’s wisdom:

“Practicing God’s wisdom means you don’t just make a living, you make a life.”[2]

God’s wisdom engineers for the obedient people of God a blessed destiny; one which proves itself with influence over (and for) others who don’t otherwise believe (yet); for they (may) see some of the very many moral benefits of his wisdom in the way the people of God live—a life, not simply a living. It’s a broader reality of blessing.

God, in the final analysis, is close to his people regarding the moral wares of life. He judges incisively now, and to come. These are both moral judgments. Both of these judgments are inherently loving and intended to help guide us further in (learning) his ‘decrees and laws.’

Our quest is to learn moral wisdom from our holiest God. His nature and Presence are both witnessed and felt. As we draw near to God he draws near to us (James 4:8)—such is his personal nature and Presence.

And when we achieve this moral congruence—thought to action; word to deed—the integrity we have is a light to the nations. Finally people begin to see God.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

[1] J. Gordon McConville, Deuteronomy – Apollos Old Testament Commentary (Leicester, England: Apollos/InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 104-5.

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary – Old Testament Pentateuch (Genesis – Deuteronomy) (Colorado Springs, Colorado, Victor/Cook Communications, 2001), p. 382.

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