Over many decades of attending Bible study and church worship, I would often encounter one of those questions about the nature of God or how He works that would seem mysterious to me at the time. I’m sure we all have questions that we would want to ask our Lord when we see Him. Thankfully, we often do not have to wait until we die or until we go to heaven. Many times, we only need to ask God. He promises in his Word to share His wisdom liberally if we only ask (1 John 1:5). Over the years, He has continuously revealed His wisdom to me by: teaching me during prayer time, by sending someone to me that had wisdom that I needed (or me to them), by letting me see or hear something that expanded my wisdom or changed my perception, by leading me through a difficult experience that matured me or revealed wisdom to me, or by leading me to wisdom in His Word.
One of the earliest and most crucial lessons I learned was the importance of obedience. We are taught in 1 Samuel 15:22, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” God desires our obedience much more than our sacrifices, to include our adherence to a list of legalistic rules that we have chosen. Newer Christians typically succumb to the desire to be perfect in their behavior to please Him. Of course, it is important to set ourselves apart and to avoid the things of the world or the activities of the world that tend toward greed, selfishness, hatred, violence, materialism, lasciviousness, etc. We do want to be holy for Him. But if we simply resist these things and seek Him on a regular basis, then He will change us over time, building up His spirit in His sanctification of us. Nonetheless, we also want to avoid slipping into legalism where we are trying to please Him with adherence to certain rules on the surface while we are not giving Him our hearts such as what the scribes and Pharisees were doing and for which Jesus constantly rebuked them.
In Matthew 23:27, Jesus described them this way: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” In seeking adherence to a rather limited set of rules that we might cobble together in our spiritual ignorance, we often flatter ourselves that we are doing better than we really are, just as the Pharisees were doing. This often leads to pride, and pride quickly separates us from God. God desires to work in a humble heart. We are taught in Isaiah 57:15 that God dwells with the humble: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit...” Also, we learn in Psalm 51:17 that, in addition to obedience (1 Samuel 15:22), God wants the sacrifice of our humbled hearts and spirits: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart…”
I pray that you will be filled with His wisdom and that you will walk in holiness, obedience, and humility with Him every day.