Wisdom of Man = Uselessness

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” – Proverbs 3:5-8

My dad sent me these words as I headed into work today based on our conversation last night on JR Vassar’s message, Answered and Unanswered, a book I’d been reading, and on man’s wisdom vs. God’s. I know this may be a real struggle for many of you to read, and your first response may very well be to rail against it. But this is not mere opinion but God’s truth/opinion as revealed plainly in Scripture:

What God says about the wisdom of man, the wisdom of this world, the “intellectualism,” which is so very admired in our day, is a protective hedge for us and a decisive argument for applying ourselves to “live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Paul writes, “The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless.” (1 Cor. 3:20)

Useless? Ouch. That’s harsh. God, do you mean it has no value? Is the lofty wisdom of man not able to accomplish that of which it so confidently boasts? Is there no area of life in which man’s wisdom can deliver what God’s wisdom cannot? The divine response to all such questions is “useless.” Man’s wisdom in every area of life, the settled wisdom of this world on all subjects – political, moral, religious, social and personal – is useless futile, empty, vain, powerless, unable to do or enable what it promises. It is a placebo that seems to address the problem. But, it is all in our heads. God’s pronouncement here intends to keep us from getting carried away by the frothy headiness and boastful arrogance of the so-called intellectuals or wisemen of our day. It also means to keep us from wasting time on their babblings.

More importantly, God’s judgement on this world’s wisdom directs us to invest ourselves in His word, learning Jesus Christ in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden.  Men of this world cannot reason themselves out of a paper bag. In Christ, we have the mind and wisdom and knowledge of God who created all things.


Rachel B. Duke


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