"Our Whys and His Wisdom"

by Kathi Pelton

"And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD..." Isaiah 11:2

Over the past couple of months many people I talk to are asking deep questions regarding their families, ministries, and lifestyles. It seems the way we have been living no longer suits the day. This is causing us to dive into deep waters, where we have never dared to go, and ask the Lord, "How then shall we live?"

His Spirit Will Rest Upon You

In the above verse (Isaiah 11:2) we first read the words, "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him..." The word rest in this verse means to dwell, stay, let fall, place, let alone, withdraw, give comfort, cease, lay, let down, (be) quiet, remain, be at rest, set down. The Spirit of the Lord comes to dwell and stay with us, not just to visit us, but to remain with us. As we see in the definition above, this dwelling of His Spirit with us ushers us into His comfort, His quietness and His rest.

The interesting thing is that, as His Spirit rests upon us, it settles us, releasing us from the striving and the anxiety that has disturbed God's people with more questions than we have answers for. For example, as we look upon the devastation in China and in Myanmar, I am sure that the people living in those devastated areas are crying out, "Why, God?" I doubt if there is any answer to the whys that would bring relief from their pain, but there is a comfort and rest that can take them through the pain. In Psalm 46:10 David takes us from the knowledge of the troubles in the world to God's comfort and rest:

"Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Psalm 46 begins by speaking of many changes in the world that have most likely caused questions and fear in those who have witnessed these things, yet David draws us into the truth of God's counsel:

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.

"There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

"Come, behold the works of the LORD, who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. 'Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.' The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah."

The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding

As we begin to allow His Spirit to rest upon us, along with a "cease-and-desist" order from all our strivings (which in legal terms means to "halt an activity"), we will find that we have come into a renewed peace that makes room for the Spirit of wisdom and understanding to come upon us. In the courts of law, a judge can issue a cease-and-desist order to stop an activity that can bring harm to someone or something. God is issuing this kind of order from His courts to us in order to halt striving so that His Spirit can rest upon us. This may require us to stop frantically looking for answers and allow the Spirit of wisdom and understanding to guide us as we rest in the knowledge that "He alone is God."

Sometimes the Spirit of wisdom and understanding comes differently then we think. We seek answers that will give some explanation for why God allows some things, but often the Spirit of wisdom only tells us to rest and trust. That may be our answer and, though our flesh wants more, our spirit can enter into the comfort and rest of a dependent child that trusts his father's wisdom.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Psalm 46 gives us both wisdom and understanding in our many questions, and is an amazing comfort to us all:

"This Psalm encourages us to hope and trust in God; in His power and providence, and His gracious presence with His Church in the worst of times. We may apply it to spiritual enemies, and the encouragement we have that, through Christ, we shall be conquerors over them. He is a Help, a present Help, a Help found, one whom we have found to be so; a Help at hand, one that is always near; we cannot desire a better, nor shall we ever find the like in any creature.

"Let those be troubled at the troubling of the waters, who build their confidence on a floating foundation; but let not those be alarmed who are led to the Rock, and there find firm footing. Here is joy to the church, even in sorrowful times. The river alludes to the graces and consolations of the Holy Spirit, which flow through every part of the church, and through God's sacred ordinances, gladdening the heart of every believer. It is promised that the church shall not be moved. If God be in our hearts, by His word dwelling richly in us, we shall be established, we shall be helped; let us trust and not be afraid." (Matthew Henry's Commentary)

We must remember that God's thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways. Sometimes His understanding is too deep and too wide for our minds to comprehend. When my children were toddlers their favorite word was, "Why?" But, because I understood that there was not any way their young minds could understand the many reasons that I did some of the things I did (such as telling them not to stick their little fingers in plug sockets or pet a strange dog), I would sometimes say, "Just trust me."

In comparison, with God's wisdom and understanding, we are like those toddlers and sometimes must rest in the words, "Trust Me."

This is not to say that God does not give us many answers and reveal deep mysteries to us, for surely He does! As we mature we are entrusted with amazing revelation and answers, but some answers will never be understood while we are on this earth and we must rest in the place of knowing that He will accomplish amazing things as we stand upon the Rock of our Salvation.

The Spirit of Counsel and Might

Years ago, my husband was going through a time of deep soul-searching. He is a very deep thinker and walks with a strong sense of mercy and justice. During this time, many questions would grip him regarding the suffering of the innocent.

One night, during a healing service at our church, my husband began to laugh (and laugh and laugh). You must understand that this had never happened to him before. When he finally stopped laughing, I asked him what he was experiencing. He said that as he began to ask God questions about things such as, "What about all of the kids in Africa that are starving?" or "What about the widows and orphans?" God would seem to say with a chuckle, "Oh, I know what I'm going to do about that!" This caused him to laugh each time God would respond. Though it doesn't sound like much of an answer, it broke a spirit of grief off of him that ushered him into a renewed trust in God's sovereignty. In this case, God's counsel to my husband was to trust in His might!

I do sense that the Body of Christ is being taken into the grip of the Spirit of Counsel and Might. I believe that we are about to go from a place of visiting God's counsel chambers to living in His counsel chambers. Within His counsel, His might is released. It is like seeing the practical intersect with the miraculous. When we enter into the counsel of God, then we enter into the sovereignty of God which releases the miraculous (His Might). In this place we see world-changing events. Not only are individuals healed and changed, but nations are changed, governments are changed and people groups are changed.

We know the big questions like, "What are You going to do about the orphans and widows?" but we must enter into His counsel chambers and ask Him, "What are You doing right now and how can I (we) be a part of that?" Then our simple act of obedience to do only what He is doing (when He is doing it) releases the power and might to see it accomplished. It is by His Spirit that His Might is released.

"This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, saying, 'Not by force or by power, but by My spirit,' says the Lord of armies." Zechariah 4:6 (Basic English Translation)

The Spirit of Knowledge and of the Fear of the Lord

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck." Proverbs 1:7-9

The fear of the Lord is the foundation for the Spirit of knowledge to be released in our lives and in the Church. In His counsel chambers and through His written Word, we are taught by God, just as a father and mother teach their son or daughter. Then in the fear of the Lord we come to trust the wisdom given to us as our safety and covering, even when we don't understand the "whys."

In Easton's Bible Dictionary the word fear, in connection with the fear of the Lord, is defined like this:

"In the Old Testament 'the fear of the Lord' is used as a designation of true piety (Proverbs 1:7; Job 28:28; Psalm 19:9). It is a fear conjoined with love and hope, and is therefore not a slavish dread, but rather filial reverence (filial means: of, relating to, or befitting a son or daughter; having or assuming the relation of a child or offspring). A holy fear is enjoined also in the New Testament as a preventive of carelessness in religion, and as an incentive to penitence (Matthew 10:28; 2 Corinthians 5:11; 7:1; Philippians 2:12; Ephesians 5:21; Hebrews 12:28, 29)."

To fear the Lord is to trust Him. It is the act of submitting to His counsel and the knowledge that His counsel is both good and right. In respect to the fear that we are speaking of, if I were to say that my teenage children walk in the "fear of their mom and dad," it would not imply that they walk in the fear of getting caught in wrongdoing, but rather they honor and respect our counsel and know that remaining in our counsel guards and protects their lives from harm.

A Standard of Living

"Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established." Proverbs 15:22

Proverbs is a book of wisdom and instruction. It was one of the first books in the Bible that I read as a young believer. I remember reading this verse early on in my Christian walk and thinking, "How can I get many counselors around me so that I can learn wisdom?" It was not an easy task at the time, since I didn't see many people willing to mentor a young 18-year-old who had so much refining to go through. But through the years I have been blessed to walk with many "counselors" or mentors who taught me as spiritual parents.

It has been wonderful to be in relationship with people who walk in both the counsel of the Lord and the counsel of one another as their standard. It is vitally important as believers that we not only posture ourselves to live in full light of the counsel of the Lord, but that we also surround ourselves in the "multitude of counselors" so that we do not live in disappointment due to lack of wisdom. This should be our standard for living.

I will leave you with the words of Paul from Ephesians 1 that wrap up all that I have said, with words of truth and life.

"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the Heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

"In Him we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the Heavens and things on the earth.

"In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

"For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

"These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the Heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all."