Two Kinds of Wisdom
For thus says the Lord God: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet and rejoiced with all the malice within your soul against the land of Israel, therefore, behold, I have stretched out my hand against you, and will hand you over as plunder to the nations. And I will cut you off from the peoples and will make you perish out of the countries; I will destroy you. Then you will know that I am the Lord. Ezekiel 25:6-7
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:13-16
James warns his readers about the dangers that lie in the power of the tongue. While it may be attractive to be a teacher, one must beware of the danger of stricter judgment that will come to teachers. A teacher who lacks wisdom will lack meekness and will be subject to judgment. Godly wisdom is accompanied by a gentleness and humility not known in the world where those who are considered wise are frequently arrogant, boastful, bitterly jealous, and selfishly ambitious.
The Ammonites, in Ezekiel’s day, demonstrated precisely that kind of earthly, demonic “wisdom” in their attitudes and statements at the time of the fall of Jerusalem. They rejoiced at the judgment upon the city and kingdom. God promised to bring worse judgment on them for this. They were not the only ones to receive God’s punishment. In each case, the prophet concludes by telling them, “then you will know that I am the Lord.”
Not knowing the Lord is at the heart of the problem because it is the foundation for not fearing the Lord. Since Scripture is clear that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; [and] fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7), it is obvious that those who lack fear of the Lord will be ignorant fools no matter how educated and esteemed they may be in this world.
Think about it
Beware of those modern-day Ammonites who boast about themselves and arrogantly look down on those wayward believers whom God is judging. The absence of the meekness of wisdom is the evidence of an earthly counterfeit wisdom we must avoid.
© 2017 John A Carroll Used by permission