Wisdom from the Mouth of the Most High
Beginning tonight, and running through the last seven nights of Advent, the Christian Church, for many centuries, has used seven short poetic phrases [called antiphons] to preface portions of theevening prayer service called Vespers.
They are beautiful summaries of various names and descriptions of Christ. Pastor William Cwirla features a nice series of devotions on these classic devotional treasures, and I’m going to be sharing them with you here as well. Many of us are familiar with these antiphons in their hymnic setting in the ancient Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter,
suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
proceeding from the mouth of the Most High,
pervading and permeating all creation,
mightily ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.
Wisdom is God’s spokeman, the One who speaks the truth about God from
the mouth of God. By wisdom the simple gain prudence, and the foolish
gain understanding. Wisdom is more precious than jewels; wisdom’s
gifts are worth more than gold. Wisdom is a gift from God. For the
Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and
understanding. Wisdom is knowledge and understanding shaped by the
fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
Wisdom permeates the created order. Through Wisdom all things were
created. Wisdom was with God before all things, and through Wisdom all
things were made. The beauty of the stars, the splendor of the seas,
the marvelous variety of birds and fishes, the intricacies of a DNA
double-helix, the mystery of distant galaxies. These are Wisdom’s
fingerprints. Science can dust for the Designer’s fingerprints, but it
cannot see nor can it comprehend the designing hidden Hand. Holy
Wisdom is not revealed to reason and sense through science but through
Man turned away from God seeks knowledge without the Wisdom of God.
Information and facts without faith. Study the creation without
worshipping the Creator. Worship the creature instead of the Creator.
“You can be like God,” said the original Lie. “You can have knowledge
without God. Just reach in for yourself and grab it.” That is not the
way of Wisdom but Folly, foolishness, unbelief. “The fool says in his
heart there is no God.” The end of Folly is death.
Jesus Christ is Holy Wisdom incarnate, in the flesh. He is the “power
of God and the wisdom of God.” “He is before all things, and in Him
all things hold together. He reflects the very glory of God and bears
the very stamp of His nature, upholding the universe by His word of
power.” He is the “glue” that holds the universe together. Your
cells, your DNA, a table, a chair – all hold together by the power of
His Word. He is what the scientists search for and the theologians
long to understand. The ordering Wisdom of the universe. The
Intelligence of the Designer. His name is Jesus Christ – the One born
in Bethlehem who hung on a cross and rose from the dead.
He teaches us the way of prudence, the way of Wisdom that leads to
life. That way is the way of His cross, of dying and rising in Jesus,
of repentance and faith. This way is foolishness to the wordly-wise,
yet to those made wise through His Word and Spirit, it is God’s holy
wisdom to save and to raise from the dead.
And then those who are wise in Him will shine as the brightness of the heavens.
Oh, come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who ord’rest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel! (LSB 357:2)
Artwork: Spiral galaxy as seen through the Hubble telescope.