As we stumble into the period referred to in the Bible as the last days (of this age) we wonder at how far our society has deteriorated in the past fifty years. Morality in our personal and business life seemingly has become a non-issue with lying and deceit occurring on a regular basis. It seems that, “the bottom line” in particular the material things in general become the objects of man’s affection and any means to attain them has become acceptable and gratifying. The fraudulent practices of big businesses like Enron and the big American banks caused a huge upheaval in American business, leading to recessions, which wash over our border into Canada.
At such time, when we need to assess our own morality and teach our children, we are stricken with a great apostasy, shown in the declining numbers of church goers, and even within our own Israel organizations through aging and lack of recruitment of new members. So why is this happening? We do know that the falling away was prophesied by St. Paul but why have circumstances occurred which have caused this to happen? We are aware of Moses’ charge to the people to choose life and he specified just how they would prosper if they followed the laws of the Lord and showed them in detail the curses that would befall them if they did not follow the Lord’s ways. To-day, we are suffering the curses because we have departed from the Lord’s directions. Hear what Jehosophat said in his day on going into battle; 2nd Chronicles 20:20, “And they rose early in the morning and went into the wilderness in Tekoa; and as they went forth, Jehosophat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God and so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye PROSPER.” Indeed, Jehosophat did prosper because he was a righteous ruler, remembering the charge of Moses to follow the Lord’s law and prosper.
So, why don’t we do the same? I think in our modern minds, we have dismissed God as irrelevant to our needs. Since the Second World War we have come through a tremendous period of prosperity. And science has been responsible for a lot of our progress. I was telling my son that, as a boy, I did not know TV or computers, only radio. My grandmother spent a whole day laundering clothes in a washtub and a scrub board, whereas my mother had a washing machine and dryer. What a difference! And that is only part of it. We have had a disproportionate share of the world’s assets and wealth and have wanted for nothing. The nuclear family with a house, two children and two or three cars seems like the ultimate measure of prosperity. But Moses had a caution for us! It is found in Deuteronomy 8:17 after he had shown the prosperity the Israelites would enjoy in the land of milk and honey, “And then say in your heart, my power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth.” Is this not the heart of our troubles? Have we forgotten that God has been our provider, starting with this continent, which has provided every material thing we required for gracious living?
My personal belief in scientific discovery is that God rewards researchers by revealing truths so that we might develop and grow as a fruitful society. Further, hasn’t scientific discovery and practical application been one of the methods of being a blessing to all nations, as specified in the Lord’s covenant with Abraham? But here again, I feel that the scientists are saying a slight variation on Moses caution; such as, “By our minds, skills and wisdom, we have made this discovery!” And what about the wisdom of man. The day is coming when it will be shown to be foolishness. We have seen it many times where a latest scientific discovery is disproved with later research. One outstanding example was the use of thalidomide in pregnant women with the disastrous results we all remember. We are told the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of man.
Speaking of wisdom, there are some interesting comments found in II Esdras where he is asking some profound questions of the Lord, who has sent Uriel to provide answers. But in some cases, Uriel tells Esdras that he is stepping over the line and without getting into the details of the conversation between the two, I offer some examples. II Esdras 4:26-27, “For the world hasteth fast to pass away and CANNOT COMPREHEND the things that are promised to the righteous in times to come.” Chapter 5:34-35, “….while I labour to COMPREHEND the way of the most High and to seek out part of His judgment. And He said unto me, Thou CANST NOT.” Or 7:19, “And He said unto me, There is no judge above God and none that hath UNDERSTANDING above the Highest.”
So, the atheists are saying, “There is no God, so don’t worry and enjoy life.” We think our progress in social comforts is by our learning and intellect and wisdom without God. The Bible clearly tells us, “The fool says in his heart there is no God.” Or 1st Cor. 1: 20, “Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” We would do well to ponder in our hearts these matters to realize that God gave us a set of perfect directions leading to safety from enemies, happiness and prosperity. How could we expect anything else from the all-wise Creator of everything that is, seen and unseen. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians discusses wisdom; part of the essay includes the following in chapter 2: 6-8, “Howbeit we speak wisdom to them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought; But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory; Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
And what are God’s words for us on this topic? They are found in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” In spite of these words, we think our wisdom will prevail! The height of arrogance!!
Finally, the source of wisdom and its availability is summed up in Proverbs 2:6, “For the Lord giveth wisdom; out of His mouth commeth knowledge and understanding.”