Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. – Psalm 25:4, 5
During a recent Bible study, I learned that the Hebrew word for “wisdom” is interchangeable with the word for “skill.”
That makes sense!
After all, wisdom is more than mere knowledge. One may have a head full of mathematical equations, or even many memorized portions of Scripture, and be quite knowledgeable – but not necessarily wise.
As with any worthwhile skill, wisdom must be sought after and acquired. It doesn’t always come naturally, but it will come, with patience, practice, persistence, and prayer. Often, other pursuits must be sacrificed in the quest for wisdom.
Though the “wise men” were so named for their knowledge of astronomy and other sciences, they were also wise in the deeper sense.
A quick Google search revealed that they are estimated to have traveled 9,000 miles for more than 2 years to reach a toddling Jesus. I can only imagine what they may have encountered during their journey – extreme desert temperatures, wild animals, bandits, dwindling supplies, disagreements with one another, heartache at being far from family and home, storms that hid the star, sore feet, flagging hope, and more.
Knowledge of prophecy and the stars wouldn’t have been enough to keep them going. They needed wisdom. They needed to practice patience, persistence, and prayer.
When the time was right, their hard-won wisdom led them to their Savior.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. – Matthew 2:10, 11
For many, this year has been difficult – heartbreaking, even.
But how comforting it is to know that we can still travel the path of the Magi! We can go to the Father for wisdom. He is the source of all the strength of character we need.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. – James 1:5
Whether our journey consists of just making it through the day, or completing a quest of months or years, we can do it by practicing the skill of wisdom – just as the Magi did.
What is a lesson you’ve learned this year? What are you looking forward to most about Christmas? I welcome your shared wisdom.