Harriett Hinkle has rubbed off on me. When I look at hymns for worship, one of the first things I do is notice the date when the words were composed. It’s interesting to correlate the songs we sing and the times in which they were written. For example, many of our songs about Heaven come from the Great Depression era. It’s not hard to see the connection. Many of our favorite songs were written between 1850 and 1950.
As we were preparing this Sunday’s song service, we were searching for songs that talk of God’s wisdom, I noticed something in those dates that caught my attention. Very few hymns written in the 1800s or 1900s mentioned the wisdom of God. Generally speaking, only very old songs and very new songs mentioned God’s wisdom. This gap made me wonder—why have we neglected this attribute of God? Hymnals overflow with songs of his love, power, and holiness—but not his wisdom. Why?
Perhaps in the last two centuries, our technological achievements and scientific breakthroughs led us to believe that our wisdom approached God’s? Maybe we no longer felt as acute a need for his wisdom? It could even be that we have come to neglect wisdom as a virtue at all.
Whatever the reason, I’m grateful that scripture reminds us to praise God for his wisdom. Our pride needs the reminder. God is not the cosmic valedictorian and we the salutatorians. He alone is wise. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His wisdom is beautiful and powerful. It draws us to it as we see our own simplicity. We are not his advisors; we are fools who desperately need guidance. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33 ESV)
Try this paraphrase: “Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out. Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do? Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice? Everything comes from him; everything happens through him; everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise!” (Romans 11:33-36 MSG) Praise God for his wisdom!