Our Bible study group is reading through A.W. Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy together.
The book is challenging, as the divine attributes of God that Tozer presents are difficult to comprehend with our finite, human minds. Several times he has reminded us to persevere:
For the effort to understand, we must not turn back because the way is difficult and there are no mechanical aids for the ascent. The view is better farther up and the journey is not one for the feet but for the heart (p. 44).
This week’s chapter is on the wisdom of God. It’s so rich I just wanted to share a couple of nuggets with you. Perhaps it will inspire you to purchase the book and make the climb yourself.
Wisdom, among other things, is the ability to devise perfect ends and to achieve those ends by the most perfect means. It sees the end from the beginning, so there can be no need to guess or conjecture. Wisdom sees everything in focus, each in proper relation to all, and is thus able to work toward predestined goals with flawless precision (p. 60).
Perhaps you struggle to believe in an all-wise God as you look around at all the pain in our world. If God were so wise, why would He allow such devastation and hurt? Why wouldn’t He fix everything immediately, so that we could avoid all suffering? Tozer compares this attitude to Dr. Pangloss in Voltaire’s Candide (which I haven’t read) and shows us why we can trust the wisdom of God.
The Christian view of life is altogether more realistic than that of Dr. Pangloss with his “sufficient reason.” It is that this is not at the moment the best of all possible worlds, but one lying under the shadow of a huge calamity, the Fall of man. The inspired writers insist that the whole creation now groans and travails under the mighty shock of the Fall. They do not attempt to supply “sufficient reasons;” they assert that the “creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.” No effort here to justify the ways of God with men; just a simple declaration of fact. The being of God is its own defense.
But there is hope in all our tears. When the hour of Christ’s triumph arrives, the suffering world will be brought out into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. For men of the new creation the golden age is not past but future, and when it is ushered in, a wondering universe will see that God has indeed abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence. In the meantime we rest our hope in the only wise God, our Saviour, and wait with patience the slow development of His benign purposes.
We rest in what God is. I believe that this alone is true faith. Any faith that must be supported by the senses is not real faith (p. 61-62).
Why is it so important to believe that God is all wise? Tozer reminds us that it’s not enough just to believe it as a tenet of our faith, but we must exercise our faith and by prayer “bring it into the practical world of our day-by-day experience” (p. 63).
To believe actively that our Heavenly Father constantly spreads around us providential circumstances that work for our present good and our everlasting well-being brings to the soul a veritable benediction. Most of us go through life praying a little, planning a little, jockeying for position, hoping but never being quite certain of anything, and always secretly afraid that we will miss the way. This is a tragic waste of truth and never gives rest to the heart.
There is a better way. It is to repudiate our own wisdom and take instead the infinite wisdom of God. Our insistence on seeing ahead is natural enough, but it is a real hindrance to our spiritual progress. God has charged Himself with full responsibility for our eternal happiness and stands ready to take over the management of our lives the moment we turn in faith to Him. Here is His promise: “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them” (p. 63).
The world thinks we are foolish to believe in an all-wise God. So be it. I will leave you with a phrase from the Tozer’s prayer at the opening of this chapter:
Make us strong to overcome the desire to be wise and to be reputed wise by others as ignorant as ourselves.
All glory to the only wise God, the God of infinite wisdom!