Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Living Ethically in the Light of the Bible
Matthew 25:1-13; Romans 11:25-36; Psalm 70; Deuteronomy 3-4
Two days ago we looked at Romans 10 and how people can learn about God when those who know him go out and tell others about him. Deuteronomy 4 presents another important way that people will be drawn to God. It reflects the general adage that knowledge is often caught, not taught, or that people learn from our walk, not just our talk. Throughout the book of Deuteronomy, Moses urges the Israelites to keep the commands of God. He reminds them in several places (v. 40 here) that living God’s way will be better for them and their children. But in verses 6-8 he gives them a very different motivation. If they live according to God’s ways, the nations around them will see a difference and be drawn to get to know their God. This is part of how Israel could fulfil the promise given to Abraham that he and his descendents would bring blessings on all the families of the earth (Genesis 12:1-3).
This passage presents two ways by which the people of God were to gain wisdom and understanding. We have access to the riches of God’s wisdom and the mind of the Lord (Romans 11:33-34). One way is through the statutes, judgments and commands of God as found in the Bible. Do we know what the Bible says well enough to see how its teachings apply to the questions and choices we face? We should turn to those more knowledgeable than ourselves for advice. But we must also be able to discern if their advice is biblical. In addition, we must all know how to apply the Word if we are to make it known to our children and grandchildren (v. 9).
The second way of developing wisdom has to do with our hearts (v. 9). We are to hold on to the Lord (v. 4) and draw near to God in prayer (v. 7). Biblical wisdom is not just head knowledge. It is not just knowing the right thing to do. Biblical wisdom arises out of a relationship with God where we know his ways because we know Him. We are then motivated to do what he says is right because we know that he has our best interests in mind.
This is what will attract the interest of others to learn more about our God. This means that those who follow God must be different—in an attractive way. Are we? Am I? When people in the world look at Christians, do they admire what they see even if they disagree with what they believe? Do they see people with wisdom, contentment and purpose? Are they drawn to understand what motives these people? If not, we need to allow God to transform us so that we reflect better the way of life he offers to everyone.