Those who err in spirit will come to understanding, and those who grumble will accept instruction. Isaiah 29:24
If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. James 1:5
Wisdom – and understanding – sounds like something we should all aspire to. What is wisdom? Is it knowing a lot of facts, reading to learn all about a subject? That may be part of it. Dictionary.com differentiates wisdom from knowledge by saying that wisdom involves perspective, putting together facts and experience, leading to the ability to make sound judgments. “Anyone can become knowledgeable about a subject by reading, researching, and memorizing facts. ...Wisdom is knowing when to say it.”
In Isaiah verse 24 comes at the end of a chapter titled “Woe to David’s City” where the leaders are not demonstrating much wisdom at all. However, by the end of the chapter things are looking up. God promises that those who err in spirit, or as other translations say, “wayward” or “go astray” will learn to understand. Those who are grumbling will also listen and learn. A merciful God does not just give up on those who are in opposition to Him.
James meaning of “wisdom” is, according to one commentator, “the sum of practical religion.” As he uses the terms, and we might read in Psalms or Proverbs, sin and folly are two names for the same thing, vs. religion and wisdom. It includes knowing God, and the “bounds of right and wrong, and which regulates conduct. . . with power far beyond that of knowledge.” So, wisdom sounds like a good thing that we should have and use especially when those times come where all we want to do is grumble. Plus, it doesn’t really have to be all that hard to receive wisdom – we just need to ask God, our generous God who gives to all who ask.
When we go astray, we need to return and ask for forgiveness, and our gracious God will listen and forgive us (over and over.) When we have times of despair, when all we want to do is grumble and complain, we can remember to step back and ask God for help, for the wisdom to guide us.
Great Educator, our lives are full of much conflict and strife. Forgive us when we err and grumble. Grant us the wisdom to remedy these situations in a way that would honor you. Teach us your ways; we are ready to learn and serve you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.