dord (dôrd), n. density of mind; chiefly exhibited by one who attempts to demonstrate supposed knowledge --adj. dord'ish

11.28.2006

To Whom Belong Wisdom and Might

Earlier this year, God began to show me that my devotions, while consistent, were not consistently meaningful. Because of this, I began a practice which many other Christians before me have found helpful: devotional journaling. In the past I would read a few chapters from the Scriptures, yet come away without having slowed down to meditate on any of it. Sure, I'd become more familiar with the Word in a general way, but I wasn't digging into the passages and being fed as I could have and should have. Scripture is powerful, and I still learned, but I'm prone to notice the same verses from any given passage each time I read it. The upside to this is that it might help me to remember teachings I'd heard on that subject; the downside is that I wasn't really learning from about 95% of the Scriptures.

I began journaling early in the summer, and I can say that it's made a definite difference in the extent to which reading the Scripture impacts me. I try to pick at least one short passage every day to copy down and journal some thoughts below it. Sometimes this is easier than others. One benefit, though, has been that, when I read a passage and nothing "jumps out" at me, I'll go back to find something that does. If I'm not learning from the Word, it's not because God isn't speaking through it, but rather because my mind is distracted. I've especially learned from the Old Testament, which I had enjoyed primarily for its historical accounts. Now I'm learning from these stories, and often learning from verses which I had never even noticed before.

The reason I bring all of this up is first to encourage other people who have either never tried journaling or tried it and had a difficult time sticking with it. Let me be one more voice to say that meditating on Scripture is definitely worth the time, and journaling helps to keep a wandering mind on topic. Second, I wanted to share the following passage from Daniel, an example of the type of passage I'd never before stopped to consider. I'll share how it impacted me, but feel free to add any additional insights. Finally, I almost didn't post this, fearing that people might think that I think that I have it all together. Then I realized how convoluted that thought was.

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king's matter.” (Daniel 2:20-23, ESV)

God is not merely the wisest and mightiest; wisdom and might belong to Him. That fact in and of itself is something to meditate on. Daniel goes on to say that only He to whom might belongs can change times and seasons and can set up and depose kings. He also "gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding." It is not that He finds the wise and decides to give them more wisdom. Rather, I think Daniel is saying this: "Look around and see those who are wise and remember this: all wisdom that they have has been granted them by God. Do you see those who have understanding? Recognize that all of their knowledge has come from God. Recognize that all of your knowledge has come from God as well."

Finally we look at the last portion. What it says is more significant than I realized from a cursory reading. When we see things, we see only because our sight is illuminated. What is in the darkness is hidden to us as long as it remains in the darkness. But "light dwells with Him." Light itself belongs to Him. There are some important things for us to take away from this. First, the power of God. He is more awesome than we realize, and we often fail even to consider His greatness. His power is a great comfort to those who serve Him, but a terror to those who do not.

A second thing to see from this is our pride. When I see wisdom in others, I want the same. But why do I want it? To try to further my own name? And what do I think of this wisdom? How do I seek it? Yes, it is definitely important to seek wisdom (not "I'll sit and wait for it to come to me") but we are called to seek wisdom from God (not from anywhere else) and to use it for His glory (not for anything else). He is the source of all wisdom. God's wisdom is not a supplement to our own. What can happen for us Christians is that we have wisdom, which God has granted to us, but we "forget" where it has come from. Anything that we understand we only understand because God has revealed it to us. And the things we don't understand but desire to? We must seek the Lord, who "reveals deep and hidden things." There are things that only He can reveal; if it is His will that we know, then He will reveal it to us.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing about this topic, Jason. It often seems that people are embarrassed to write about devotions because they're either going well and the writer would seem judgmental or they're going terribly and the writer would seem lazy/inept/etc. I'm glad you found something that works! I was encouraged to pursue my own devotions more.

About that passage...it made me wonder why I haven't been asking God directly for help with school! I seem to have divorced academia and God in my mind, which most likely has affected my performance.

gxreknl
Gross Xylophones Reek Elegantly, Like New Leaves

12/01/2006 11:26 AM

 
Blogger Jason said...

I'm encouraged to know that you were encouraged :-)

RE your second paragraph: you give me a little extra incentive to finish writing a series of posts that's been in the works for quite awhile.

12/02/2006 11:56 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay! I'm looking forward to reading more! Plus, I will be in Akron in two week so I'll get to talk to you too. Are you doing anything in the Christmas show this year?

12/04/2006 1:08 AM

 
Blogger Jason said...

It looks like I'll be a wiseman again. (Ironic, considering my recent posts. I'll try not to let the title go to my head.)

12/05/2006 6:11 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh man! That was just evil Jason! I MEAN EVIL!!! LoRl!!!

You guys have me laughing....HARD!!

12/07/2006 10:38 PM

 
Blogger Sterling said...

Jason, I started leaving a comment the other day, but for a variety of reasons I didn't complete it. Now that I think about it, maybe I can actually feel a touch of the dreaded “Jason syndrome” (hang-out in the draft stage) coming on?

Anyhow, I can very well identify with the predicament you posed on your post. It is easy to merely look at the words on the page, set the Bible down, and go on your way. Yet pausing to reflect, to apply, to meditate, now that is a discipline. I have found that keeping a devotional journal does indeed help me spend time to truly listen and learn from the Word, too. But your post was extremely timely, for you caught me in a lull in my habit; or, is it a habit if you lapse?

I needed an extra nudge to get me back in the discipline, another voice to tell me that I can make time, a brother to remind me that taking possession of God’s Word is IMPORTANT. So, thank you, gratias tibi ago, dankeschoën, dank je wel, & gracias!

As an aside: when reading this post, I was once again struck at your humility. Yes, don’t let it go to your head, but I realized again that the theme of your Blog is an effort to slay Pride in your life; I find this commendable, so be encouraged!

12/08/2006 6:26 PM

 
Blogger Jason said...

I'm reminded of something Josh Harris said in a New Attitude message about humility being simply a call to reality. I know that I'm a terribly proud person. Nonetheless, I'm encouraged to know that you see something of Christ in me. The more you see of Him, and the less of me, the better.

Again, to both of you, I'm just blessed to think that you have been blessed. Thanks for encouraging me to continue to seek to encourage others.

12/11/2006 9:36 PM

 

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