God at Work (3)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever. Psalm 111.10
Wisdom to know God
Since God is so active in revealing His splendor, majesty, and faithfulness, as He works throughout the field of the world, we may find it difficult to understand why more people aren’t taking notice. It would seem to be the part of wisdom to acknowledge the works of God, listening to the message He speaks, so that we might know, love, and serve Him better in all the work we’ve been given to do.
And this is precisely the problem: Many people lack the wisdom necessary to engage with God in His works, not only those who are trapped in an under-the-sun frame of reference, but even those who claim to be living under the heavens by believing in Jesus Christ.
The wisdom needed to discern the knowledge of God in His works comes only from God, and only to those who fear Him, who love and obey Him according to His Word. Solomon sought this wisdom out of love for God and desire to serve Him well, and wisdom was granted to him, at least for the greater part of his reign.
The wisdom of God comes to us today through the knowledge of Jesus Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2.3). They who know Christ receive wisdom from God, so that they might discern His works and bring their works into line with His, making the best use of their time in wisdom, rather than in folly (Eph. 5.15-17).
That leaves out a good many people. As we’ve seen from Romans 1.18-32, all people know God is speaking to them in the works He has made. They know God, because He has revealed Himself clearly to them. They may deny that, and, in our under-the-sun generation, denying belief in God is widespread, even fashionable.
But God’s Word is more reliable than any human being’s confident assertion. God is plainly and unmistakably making known His eternal power and divine nature, and a measure of that revelation lodges indelibly in the soul of every person, since every human being is made in the image of God.
But, as Paul explains, those who do not fear the Lord bury that revelation in lives of ingratitude, idolatry, and unrighteous works, just as Solomon did for many years. God deposits a seed of revelation in their souls, by which He urges people on in seeking Him, as Paul explained to the philosophers in Athens (Acts 17.26, 27). Yet the vast bulk of the world’s people deny that what they observe around them has anything to do with God. Turning from Him, they seek idols of various kinds, to which they devote their affections, interest, time, and strength – self and happiness, primarily. Meanwhile, they suppress the knowledge of God under the rubble of rebellion and sin.
For people to discern the splendor, majesty, and faithfulness of God in all His works, they must first come to Him and receive the wisdom only He can give. As Paul explained to the Athenians, God is commanding all people to repent and believe the Gospel. Jesus Christ embodies the wisdom of God (Col. 2.2, 3), which means that only those who know, love, and serve Jesus can obtain His wisdom – wisdom without which, they will not hear the voice of God in His works.
Hence the importance of sowing the good seed of Christ and His Kingdom in the sectors of the field assigned to each of us. As we sow Christ, and people come to know Him, they can discern the work of God in the field of the world, and join with Him in that work in every area of their lives.
Are we listening?
But why do so many who do know Jesus seem not to benefit from the revelation of God in His works? Why ae they so easily troubled and discouraged by the works of unbelief? Why do not the works God is doing in the field of the world inspire, direct, embolden, and move more of His people to take their place in His sowing?
Perhaps they do not understand the times in line with the teaching of Scripture? As we have seen, the Scriptures insist that God is everywhere active and working in the world. He calls us to understand His works, to join Him in them, and to give Him praise for what He reveals about Himself in His works. Unless we understand our times through the lens of God’s Word, we will allow the works of unrighteousness and unbelief to cow and discourage us from actively joining the Lord in sowing good seed throughout His field.
The Scriptures guide us to learn from God’s works of creation, providence, and redemption, as we observe these in the creation, culture, and lives of people around us. The more we read and study the works of God, the more we will realize that, as active as the sowers of tares appear to be, God is far more active throughout the field of the world, with greater power and more lasting effects. And thus the better equipped we will be to understand that the splendor, majesty, order, goodness, and wisdom we observe in the world are but manifestations of God at work.
And seeing God at work in the world, preparing a harvest for His glory, we will more readily, consistently, and effectively work with Him in our sector of His field.
1. Why should we listen to the Bible concerning the works of God in the world? How do the Scriptures guide us in discerning God’s works?
2. What is wisdom, why is it so necessary for discerning God’s works, and how can believers increase in wisdom?
3. The works of God are more, more constant, and more varied than all the works of all under-the-sun people and projects. We would see the world more as a wheat field than a weed field if we could keep this fact in mind. Why?
Next steps – Preparation: Pray for wisdom, that you might see God more at work in your Personal Mission Field, creating, sustaining, enhancing, and redeeming the time He entrusts to you. Share your observations with a fellow believer.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.