Definition: Knowledgeable with superior decision-making skills. Sound judgment. The four Biblical characters we are studying this week were all called wise.
Synonyms: Assurance, Certainty, Sureness
Read Genesis 40:8b, 41:16, 45:8; Acts 7:10
Most of us know Joseph’s story. He was the favorite son and his jealous brothers sold him into slavery. Genesis 39:2 tells us that God was with Joseph and so he succeeded in all his endeavors. His first master, Potiphar, trusted him and put him in charge of the entire household, but because Joseph rebuffed the advances of his master’s wife he was unjustly jailed.
Even in prison his wisdom and integrity showed through, and he was put in charge of the other prisoners. During his imprisonment, he interpreted dreams for some of the prisoners, so when Pharaoh needed to know the meaning of dreams, Joseph was summoned.
God provided for Joseph by granting him unusual wisdom so that he rose to a very high rank in Pharaoh’s court, despite being a slave. Of course, Joseph’s powerful status also positioned him to reunite with his family.
Although bragging was a weakness when he was young, the adult Joseph never bragged about his wise decisions and success. He always gave God the glory.
Thought or Action Step for the Day: “All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever” (Romans 16:27 NLT).
Read Exodus 31:1—11, 36:1—6
You may not know the name Bezalel, but God knew his name and specifically chose him to construct the sanctuary and build the Ark of the Covenant. (Exodus 36:1 and 37:1) God filled Bezalel with the Holy Spirit and gave him wisdom and knowledge. Additionally, God gifted Bezalel with the skill to make artistic designs, work with metals, wood and all kinds of craftsmanship.
When Moses summoned Bezalel, the NLT says he was “eager to get to work.” NIV says he was “willing.” (Exodus 36:2) When you possess wisdom, you want to please God and do His work.
Integrity and wisdom go hand in hand. Like Joseph, Bezalel was honest and upright. Exodus Chapter 36 tells us how these craftsmen told Moses they had enough offerings to complete the job. They could have let the people continue to give and pocket the extra, but they obeyed God as all wise people do.
When we consider wise people, we think esoterically and philosophically. Yet God gave wisdom to Bezalel and the other workers. Their contributions required God’s blessings and were as important to God as those who taught and preached.
Thought or Action Step for the Day: “For we are laborers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9 KJV).
Read Daniel Chapter 1, Chapter 2: 1—19 & 46—49, Chapter 5: 1, & 4—7 & 13—17, Chapter 6
Daniel was a teen when King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah and took Daniel captive. He was selected to serve in the royal palace because he was educated and probably part of royalty or nobility.
When the king ordered them to eat food that went against the laws of God, Daniel’s wisdom guided him to tactfully negotiate a way to eat only vegetables. Of course, God protected Daniel throughout this perilous time. Verse 1:9 tells us that God gave the man in authority over Daniel respect and affection for this young man.
God continue to look out for Daniel and his friends. Daniel 1:17 tells us that God gave them an unusual aptitude for understanding and the ability to interpret visions and dreams. This knowledge came in handy at a later time. When he interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Daniel was given a high position in the court.
Daniel never forgot where his blessings came from. He always worshipped and prayed, even when doing so risked his life in the lion’s den.
Wisdom guided Daniel’s life, and he always remained faithful and obedient to God.
Thought or Action Step for the Day: “Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding” (Proverbs 3:13).
Matthew 2: 1—12
We don’t know much about the wise men who came to find the Messiah. They were probably educated men, but were they Jews or Gentiles? Were they astrologers who studied the stars and ancient manuscripts, or did God intervene in a miraculous way to speak to these men about this special birth?
One thing we do know is that they came from the east and traveled a long distance to see Jesus. It would seem they didn’t know the politics of the region, or they might have guarded their words more closely when meeting with Herod.
They were joyful when the star stopped, and they found the child. All wise men rejoice when they receive Jesus into their lives. Unlike most of us, they did not seek him to ask for blessings or favor. Instead, they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Of course, as always wisdom originates with God. He provided the star to guide these men to their destination. God communicated to these men through a dream, so they had the wisdom to avoid Herod on the return trip home.
Thought or Action Step for the Day: “Make your way plain for me to follow” (Psalm 5:8b).
What did we learn about wisdom this week?
Wisdom always comes from God.
- God gave Joseph unusual wisdom
- God selected Bezalel and gave him wisdom
- God gave Daniel unusual aptitude for understanding
- God provided the star to follow
“For the LORD grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6 NLT).
True wisdom gives rise to integrity and commitment
- Joseph rebuffed an offer from his master’s wife
- Bezalel told Moses that the offerings were sufficient
- Daniel interpreted dreams truthfully risking his life
- The Wise Men didn’t give up Jesus to gain favor from the powerful
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” (Proverbs 11:3 NIV).
Wisdom encourages lifelong growth and learning
- All these men grew spiritually throughout their lives.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
Meditate on Psalm 111 this weekend. It expresses the wisdom and greatness of our God.