Eighth Sunday after Trinity                       02 August 2020    MP/HC 

 Psalm 119: 33-48      First Lesson   Zechariah 4:1-10        Second Lesson  John 7: 14-24

                                  O GOD, whose never-failing providence ordereth 
                                  all things both in heaven and earth; We humbly
                                  beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, 
                                  and to give us those things which are profitable for us; 
                                  through Jesus Christ our Lord.                             Amen.

                                           “Knowing Wisdom”

Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
In the three sets of scripture we will study today, we see the theme of wisdom interwoven in the Word. Sometimes we get so far from God’s word, we don’t see the simple message, in this case, we are looking at the concept of wisdom.  Not necessarily having it, but being able to understand what it looks like, what it is shaped by, why it is important to our daily spiritual and temporal walk in life. It can be very hard, trying to seek the wisdom of God especially when you are daily bombarded by the cares and wears of the world. It can be so hard to try and stay on the path of righteousness, we must daily renew our walk, each morning or before we retire at night, we need to spend a while in the Word of God.  We need a daily feeding of the Word as we find in the Holy Bible. This will lift us up, this will help to strengthen us..one day at a time.  
35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.
36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
  We need wisdom to get along in life “....Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.”

Verse 37 of this passage is very practical, just turn my eyes from the junk in life, give me life instead. In verse 40, the psalmist asks for the desire to seek God’s precepts, to get the life caused by righteousness of those precepts.  Let us listen to what a great churchman of the last part of the 19th century wrote concerning a Christian’s daily walk:
“He endeavors to live according to God’s will, to do the things that please God, to avoid the things that God hates. His aim and desire is to love God with heart and soul, and mind and strength, and to love his neighbor as himself. His wish is to be continually looking to Christ as his example as well as his Savior, and to show himself Christ’s friend by doing whatever Christ commands. No doubt he is not perfect. None will tell you that sooner than himself. He groans under the burden of indwelling corruption cleaving to him. He finds an evil principle within him constantly warring against grace, and trying to draw him away from God. But he does not consent to it, though he cannot prevent its presence.In spite of all short-comings, the average bent and bias of his ways is holy—his doings holy—his tastes holy—and his habits holy. In spite of all his swerving and turning aside, like a ship going against a contrary wind, the general course of his life is in one direction—toward God and for God. And though he may sometimes feel so low that he questions whether he is a Christian at all, in his calmer moments he will generally be able to say, with old John Newton, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world—but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”
~ J. C.  Ryle
Let us now look at the writings attributed to King Solomon, especially in his early days as king of the nation of Israel. This very familiar passage gives us simple instructions to how to find wisdom. That the marks of such wisdom are shown in your behavior towards others. That those who are wise will increase in this wisdom and learning. It really isn’t very hard to understand, wisdom takes discernment , you must notice and learn what wisdom is.  Dealing with justice and equity, listen and increase in learning. Understand and obtain guidance.  Notice the warning at the end of this passage: Have a reverence for God, know that He is in control, this is the beginning of knowledge, which leads to wisdom.  But the warning to the fool must also be understood, if you despise wisdom and instruction, it is to your peril.  Be aware of foolish behavior.

7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

 Now let us see what St. John wrote about wisdom and knowledge. 

14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.

 This account is early in Christ’s ministry, people are still wondering about his credentials. They want to know how he knows so much, and yet is a simple laborer, a carpenter. 

15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
   So Jesus explains. 16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

 It is interesting, that Jesus put the discernment back on the listener.  This of course was due to the need for those listening to believe what was being taught, this would divide out the believer from the non-believer.  This would be based on wisdom, or as would later be given, the Holy Spirit. He would give wisdom to those who were to receive it, they would then be able to discern the good from the evil.  In the next passage, Jesus gives the listeners a clue as how to discern a person who is from God.

 18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

 If that person speaking does not try to puff themselves up, but point to the Glory of God, that person is of God. This is the application of wisdom. So many times in the past centuries people have followed false teachers, prophets, and leaders, they wouldn’t have if they had stopped to think about what they were saying. “Did they honor God? Did they point to Jesus as the ONLY WAY ? Did they seek to stay out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do his job?”  Just in our lifetime there have been many a false teacher and so called prophets who have lead people to perdition.  Think of Jim Jones and Jonestown, David Koresh and Waco, plus countless others who have just taken financial advantage of unwise believers over the years.  Look at verse 18 of the seventh chapter of John again. Make sure those who seek to teach you are in God’s word, for God’s work, for God’s kingdom, not something they are doing for themselves.
 Let us pray.

GOD be merciful unto us, and bless us, * and show us the light of his countenance, and be merciful unto us;
That thy way may be known upon earth, * thy saving health among all nations.
Let the people praise thee, O God; * yea, let all the people praise thee.
O let the nations rejoice and be glad; * for thou shalt judge the folk righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.
Let the people praise thee, O God; * yea, let all the people praise thee.
Then shall the earth bring forth her increase; * and God, even our own God, shall give us his blessing.
God shall bless us; * and all the ends of the world shall fear him.

ALMIGHTY God, who alone gavest us the breath of life, and alone canst keep alive in us the holy desires thou dost impart; We beseech thee, for thy compassion's sake, to sanctify all our thoughts and endeavours; that we may neither begin an action without a pure intention nor continue it without thy blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of the mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, we may in heart be inspired by thy wisdom, and in work be upheld by thy strength, and in the end be accepted of thee as thy faithful servants; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.