Nehemiah 11-13; Job 28; Galatians 1
A Short Summary
In Nehemiah, we read about how the recently rebuilt city of Jerusalem is repopulated and some rules to live by in the city. In Job, we read about where to find wisdom. In Galatians, Paul begins his argument about “the one true Gospel.”
There are many things that we are able to figure out because we are intelligent people. We once figured out how to tame fire and make tools from stone. We once figured out how to make the internal combustion engine. We were able to figure out how to put a man on the moon. We have figured out how to take a computer processor that once filled an entire building fit inside of a device that now fits in our back pocket. We even know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.
But does all of this amount to true wisdom? I know a lot of people that I consider to be book smart, but lack what I refer to as street smarts, which could maybe also be referred to as common sense. I think Job is also talking about the difference between book smart and street smart, in a sense. There is the intelligence that helped the people of the time create and discover amazing things. But then there is the wisdom that comes only from one place…God. We need to read our Bibles on a regular basis to seek this wisdom. But not just read. Read, research/study, and reflect. Within the pages of your Bible is insurmountable wisdom waiting to be unlocked.
In Galatians, Paul introduces himself and greets the recipients of his letter; the churches of Galatia. He then starts in with his argument about what the Gospel is truly about. To do this, he tells of his journey from being a model Jew who persecuted Christians, to being blindsided (literally) by Jesus, to being arguably the most important apostle. As we continue through Galatians in the next few days, you will see how he is setting the table by doing this. There is a lot that is covered in this one chapter. There is a lot that is covered just within the last 3 paragraphs. But I want to focus on verses 15-18:
15 But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son to me,[e] so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus. 18 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days;
Paul was a perfect model of seeking the true wisdom that can be found in the scripture. After his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, he didn’t just all of a sudden become a sage and start preaching. He went away for THREE YEARS! What was he up to during those years? No one really knows for sure, but one would speculate that he was partially running from his reputation as a Christian killer, but also to find solitude to meditate and study for his new purpose in life. I found this reference in my search for understanding:
We are not told his reason for going into Arabia, nor his employment when there. His mind would naturally long for solitude; and, in view of the work before him, he may have felt that by a season of calm contemplation, of prayer, of profound meditation on that new system which he had embraced, and which he had been so suddenly called to make known to the nations of the earth, he might be better qualified for his great mission. It may give some confirmation of this view to remember that the great Hebrew lawgiver, Moses, spent years in the desert of Midian before he was prepared for his great work of leading forth and delivering the people of God; that Elijah, the great prophet, wandered in such deserts before he came forth to his great work; that the forerunner of Messiah—John the Baptist—”was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel,” and there grew and waxed strong in spirit; and that the Redeemer himself was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness” to be tempted and tried, after His baptism, and before He entered on His public work as the Messiah. (Conybeare and Howson, voL i. p. 94.)
So to summarize, set aside time on a regular basis to study and reflect on scripture. From my own experience, the first 35 years or so of my life, I was always involved in a church, but didn’t spend much time outside of the hour on Sunday thinking about or studying the Bible. It wasn’t until a Kerygma whole Bible study with Dale and the advent of this blog page that things changed for me. I’m not anywhere close to a Bible expert. Most days when it is my turn to write for this page, I struggle through my words because I have zero seminary experience. But, with the start of this blog, I first made an effort just to read the entry each day, which at the time was only written by the pastors. I also, as often as I could, tried to pick out one thought about the entry of the day and make a comment of my own as I reflected on what I had read. This led to being asked to write for a first time. And that is when, for lack of a better phrase, all hell broke loose for me. I eventually became a regular writer. And each time that I write, I am forced to read (skim really), then pick out one or two things to think more about. Then I try to figure out how those one or two things relate to my everyday life. And the I write.
What’s my point? It is what I truly believe is an important part of the learning process. Not just the seeking of knowledge, but also reflecting on the learning process. To think back on what I just read, and find that connection between what is being said and what I already think I know. That is where the true learning, and ultimately, wisdom resides. Seek it…often.