Law & Wisdom
Daily Reading: Today’s bible reading is Acts 25.
Often times in life, we have to quickly make decisions that feel complicated and unclear. Paul finds himself in this situation in the end of the book of Acts. He’s having to be his own lawyer, defending his very life in court. What catches my attention is how clever Paul is. He navigates the situation masterfully. This is because Paul didn’t just know a few rules from God’s law, he had wisdom.
Paul keeps “the law.” He stays true to his confession of Christ even when his life is at stake. Yet he does this with wisdom. For instance, he is always very straight forward, but careful with his words. Maybe he knew the wisdom of Proverbs 21:23, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.” He “appeals” to Caesar in verse 11; he doesn’t demand a presence before Caesar. Maybe he knew Proverbs 25:6, “Do not claim honor in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of great men.” He always seems to have favor with he Roman officials even though they are holding him prisoner. Maybe he applied Proverbs 25:15, “By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded, And a soft tongue breaks the bone.”
Sometimes we can reduce the Christian life, and God’s word, down to a set of rules. “Do this, do not do that,” becomes the essence of our faith. The problem is, life is more complex than a set of rules can handle. The beauty of life in Christ is that it informs every piece of our lives with the depth to handle all of life’s nuances and complexities. This is one of the reasons we want to stay studying and learning God’s word. In the gospel, we have access to know God though his Word. As we get to know God and his Word, we learn wisdom. Wisdom takes us a layer deeper than “right and wrong.” It helps us ask, “Will this bring honor to God?” “Will this help me flourish?” “Will this help serve those around me in a lasting way?” “Does this decision fit in with the way God has ordered the world to work?” Wisdom will never take us outside of God’s law, but it will teach us how to live a vibrant life within God’s law.
Paul shows us a great example of wisdom in action. There aren’t “three easy rules for navigating the ancient Roman court system.” He needed to know God’s law, and have wisdom from God. James tells us if we ask for wisdom, God will give it to us. Proverbs tells us to seek wisdom like a treasure. Let this be one of your great goals in life: To know God and to gain wisdom.
Grace & Peace.