I’ve been wide awake for some time now and it’s just 4:30am. At first I made my mid-night potty pit stop and then couldn’t get back to sleep. Eventually I began to praise God by meditating on His attributes – I praise You for being a Good God, a Loving God, a Patient God.a Merciful God. Then I came to God’s omniscience and as I said You are an All-Wise God, there came over me an awkward feeling. Something didn’t sound right. It was the same kind of feeling I get when I write a word correctly but it doesn’t look right. Then it hit me. “Wise God” sounds like “wise guy”. And, oh, there is an universe apart between those two. Now my mind was engaged and sleep wasn’t going to come. So, I’m up trying to make sense of my wandering thoughts.
Whenever I hear someone refer to my heavenly Father as the old man upstairs I cringe. He is not an old sage with a white beard in the sky calling out commands that are dated and inappropriate for our lives today. God certainly is not a wise guy – a smart aleck and someone who is always trying to seem more clever and funnier than anyone else in a way that is annoying. Wisdom is not something God strives for – it is not something God fakes – it is part of His innate being. God is wise, always has been and always will be.
I love what Ann Spangler says in her book Praying the Attributes of God. “God is never at a loss. He’s not puzzled, baffled, bewildered, or confused about anything. He doesn’t need time to think things over or do more research or consider other opinions before making a decision. He never has to correct course, retract a statement, or apologize for mistakes he has made. God is infinitely wise, able to see the end from the beginning, and he always knows exactly what to do. No problem can stump him. No difficulty can defeat him. Because God is infinitely loving and powerful and wise, we can trust him.” (p.143)
The term “wise guy” is also used to refer to a member of the mafia. Now try to wrap your mind around that image of God. Yet there are many who believe God is out to get us, to extort us, and destroy us; using His wisdom to out maneuver us. If that was the case, why am I still plugging along in my 60’s and highly blessed by Him? We all should have been destroyed by now if God were out to take us down. No, the image of God as the mob boss is not connected to reality. Yet that is an appropriate image of Satan. He is the ultimate “wise guy” – smart aleck, trying to appear to be wise, evil mobster. Jesus said, “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they (you and me) may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) Both God and Satan are seeking to lead your life in different directions – one down and One up.
Think about God’s wisdom. Before God created mankind, He knew that each of us would sin and need a Savior, so the act of Jesus on the cross for us was drawn up long before Adam took his first breath (Revelation 13:8). When God made you in the womb He placed an innate desire within you for Him. He gave you latent talents to enable you to function in this world and make a difference. God’s Spirit seeks each of us out, long before we start to seek Him, in order to reveal God’s free gift of redemption, freedom, and eternal life. Does that sound like someone using their wisdom to pounce on us to destroy? No, in His wisdom, He has done everything possible so that we can have life, and have it to the full. On the other hand, His adversary and ours is out to steal and kill and destroy. Wise God vs. wise guy – which will it be in your life?