Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous;
And the wisdom of their wise men will perish,
And the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed,” (29:14).
I had that feeling, like Scrooge when confronted with his future that awaited him and cried out to the Ghost of Christmas Future, “Spirit. Don’t show me anymore!” And I too wanted it to stop; I wanted the words of His judgment to cease, overwhelmed by it all. Perhaps it’s because I love redemption stories with a happily-ever-after ending. But more significantly, perhaps it hit too close to home when reflecting on loved ones who rely on their own understanding as the determining factor for their future.
But Christmas Future did not stop as he continued to reveal every horrid detail. And the result, Scrooge repented. And I wondered, why didn’t the people of God? Why weren’t they moved to turn in repentance upon learning of their terrifying fate delivered by His prophet?
But the answer came quickly.
For the Lord has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep,
He has shut your eyes, the prophets;
And He has covered your heads, the seers.
11 The entire vision will be to you like the words of a sealed book, which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, “Please read this,” he will say, “I cannot, for it is sealed.” 12 Then the book will be given to the one who is illiterate, saying, “Please read this.” And he will say, “I cannot read,” (29:10-12).
But why would He do that; shut their eyes to His Words? Doesn’t He want people to see His Truth? And again the answer came quickly.
Then the Lord said,
“Because this people draw near with their words
And honor Me with their lip service,
But they remove their hearts far from Me,
And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, (29:13).
Lip service as opposed to heart surrender. Rote reverence rather than authentic adoration. God’s people had merely put Him on their schedule, as though showing up at an appointed time and outwardly fulfilling the requirements of the Law was somehow acceptable to Him. And God was over it!
Woe, O Ariel, Ariel the city where David once camped!
Add year to year, observe your feasts on schedule, (27:1).
In our day, we might call this checking off the boxes. Go to church: Check. Give money: Check. Serve on a committee: Check. Attend a Bible study: Check. While all of these undertakings are good, they are not the barometer of one’s spiritual condition; it is always a matter of the heart with Holy God.
And God would send both His judgment and His mercy, that His people would realize the Wonder of His Wisdom, that they would come to grips with the reality of their heart condition and recognize that apart from Him, they know nothing at all.
Consider the Wonder of His Wisdom
(verb): 6381. פָּלָא pālāʾ: A verb meaning to do something wonderful, to do something extraordinary, or difficult…”
(noun): 6382. פֶּלֶא peleʾ: A masculine noun meaning a wonder, a miracle, a marvel. This word is used to represent something unusual or extraordinary…”
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
God’s ways are so very far beyond our own; and He extinguishes and overshadows the deficiency of man’s wisdom and discernment by the Wonder of His Wisdom.
Therefore I will again confound these people with wonder after wonder.
The wisdom of their wise men will vanish,
and the understanding of the perceptive will be hidden, (29:14 HCSB).
Once again, we are directed to look to that day, the future when the wisdom of man is confounded by the Wonder, the extraordinary, the difficult, the unusual, the marvel, the miracle of His Wisdom. But even in Isaiah’s day, the people would be given a promise of hope in what was yet to come.
The prophecy begins with judgment; God will discipline and punish His people (29:2-4), judge the nations (29:5-8), stop the false prophets (29:9-12), reveal hearts (29:13), confound the wisdom of man (29:14), and rebuke pride (29:15-16); but then He will open ears to hear and eyes to see (29:18), bring joy to the afflicted and needy (29:19), put an end to evil (29:20-21), and by the work of His hands His children will treat Him as Holy as they come to understand and accept His Truth (29:22-24).
And when God speaks of confounding the people and putting an end to their wimpy wisdom, He again calls them to look to that day.
On that day the deaf will hear words of a book,
And out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.
19 The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the Lord,
And the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the ruthless will come to an end and the scorner will be finished,
Indeed all who are intent on doing evil will be cut off, (29:18-20).
And once again, as we look to the future, we too will see the Wonder of His Wisdom perfectly fulfilled in the cross of Jesus Christ.
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men, (1 Corinthians 1:19-25).
- The Wonder of His Wisdom is foolishness to those who are perishing, but destroys the wisdom of man.
- The Wonder of His Wisdom is a stumbling block and judged as foolishness by some, but saves those who believe.
- The Wonder of His Wisdom is unattainable by the wise and the strong, but is revealed to those who have ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts to bow in repentance.
How do we respond to the Wonder of His Wisdom?
The very inception of Isaiah’s call to his prophetic ministry was a commission to proclaim what would absolutely confound the nations by the Wonder of His Wisdom.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go, and tell this people:
‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.” (Isaiah 6:8-10).
And many today are still confounded, insisting that His Way is too narrow, too demanding, too preposterous; the cross, come on? But the Wonder of His Wisdom will put the wisdom of man to shame.
“The wise men are put to shame,
They are dismayed and caught;
Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord,
And what kind of wisdom do they have?” (Jeremiah 8:9).
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised, (1 Corinthians 2:14).
But let’s be honest, even when we have trusted the Wonder of His Wisdom in Christ for our eternal salvation, even when we have been declared righteous in Him, there is much that challenges our daily perseverance in the faith. Because the truth is, there is something in all of us that looks for heaven here on earth.
While we are certainly to pray that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, the truth is, we all must wait for that day to see our prayer completely and perfectly answered. And in the meantime, if we try to make sense out of a world that is fraught with pain and sorrow, corruption and evil, we can find ourselves questioning the Wonder of His Wisdom.
That is why we are desperate to renew our minds to discern the Wonder of His Wisdom, even when it doesn’t make sense to our natural mind.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect, (Romans 12:2).
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ, (Colossians 2:8).
And He has given us all we need, not only for our salvation, but for our instruction, reproof, correction and training in His righteousness through the Wonder of His Wisdom revealed in the Scriptures.
and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:15-16).
Oh, let us fill our minds with the truth of His Word, that we would never be satisfied to merely check off the boxes, but rather we would desire to be transformed as we grow in our understanding of the Wonder of His Wisdom.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God, (Colossians 3:16).
As we grow in our understanding, let us submit to Him in obedience, that we would live out the Wonder of His Wisdom demonstrated in purity, peace, gentleness, and mercy.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace, (James 3:17-18).
And may we never be ashamed to share the Wonder of His Wisdom in the cross of Christ; for it is the only hope for salvation for all the world.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith,” (Romans 1:16-17).