While I was teaching today I was gripped afresh by the power of our gaze. For many years now I have asked the Lord through prayer and study to be one of wisdom in this hour. I desire to be a Daniel 11:33 man in the midst of humanity in the coming days. This verse states, “And the wise among the people will make many understand, though for some days they shall stumble by sword and flame, by captivity and plunder.” Being one of wisdom in the days ahead is a pursuit at the very core of my being.
This begs the question as to what this looks like? What does it mean to be a wise now, as well as in the coming days? In my own personal journey I have come to the conclusion that it has very little to do commentaries and academia. Yes, it is important that we give ourselves to studying the knowledge of God through books and hermeneutics, but earlier on in Daniel the prophet makes the statement that God, “changes the times and the seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those with understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.” (Dan 2:21-22) What makes this interesting is that Daniel makes the statement that the all-powerful and all-knowing God is One who gives wisdom to those who have wisdom and knowledge to those who already have understanding. Why is this? Would He not give wisdom to those who lack and knowledge to those who need? It is a mysterious thing until you see what wisdom is from God’s perspective.
Earthly wisdom can be cultivated by anyone. Anyone can read a book and learn something. Whether it be about God or not, over time they will become very wise people if they stay the course of study. Even so, this is not wisdom. Some of the smartest people this world has ever known walked the earth during Jesus’ day. The Pharisee’s most likely had the Old Testament memorized but, according to Jesus, they knew absolutely nothing. They were like the blind leading the blind. So what is true wisdom?
I believe the answer is seen clearest in Revelation 4. We see in vv. 6-9 the four living creatures taking their place before the throne of God. Their job description is to stare at Him who sits on the throne. Then out of the overflow of that a message is released that speaks of the transcendent holiness of the living God.
These creatures are covered with eyes. From head to toe they are completely blanketed with eyeballs, inside and out. What makes this worth noting is that in Jewish thought eyes refer to wisdom. So from a Jewish stand point the living creatures are the wisest created things ever. As such, they are putting on display what it means to be one of wisdom. Wisdom’s ultimate expression is to stare at Him who sits on the throne and there is no greater demonstration of this attribute with humanity.
Staring is not an ethereal. When we close our eyes and focus on Him then we are entering into the stare. But it is not minimized to this. The act of staring is fleshed out in our actions just as much as literally looking at Him as the four living creatures do. To read the Word of God is to stare. To fast is to stare. To pray is to stare. To serve is to stare. To give extravagantly is to stare. Yes, closing your eyes and thinking of Him in the heavens is staring but we must not limit it to this. The scope of the stare goes moves past the borders of your quiet time and the good worship service. Wisdom is having a focused gaze in every area of your life. That in all acts of our life we are exemplifying a stare that beholds the Eternal One upon the throne. I tell you, beloved, this is wisdom.