There is No Wisdom Against the Lord
1. This simple proverb makes one statement.
2. There are no contrasts; there are no comparisons; there are no parallel thoughts; there is no first and second part of the proverb.
3. Proverbs 21:30 makes one simple point… and it is without dispute.
4. The proverb is NOT saying that no wisdom, understanding, or counsel against the Lord EXISTS.
a. That would not be true.
b. There are whole realms in the universe that stand opposed to God and to His will.
c. There are myriads of fallen angels who oppose God.
d. Satan opposes God.
e. And whether conscious of it or not, the world of unsaved, fallen men also oppose God day in and day out.
f. The proverb is not saying that no wisdom opposes God.
5. Rather, it is saying that no wisdom can successfully stand against God.
a. It’s not that it does not exist; it’s just that it will not prevail.
b. The Bible abounds with examples of so-called wisdom that DARED to oppose God… but none successfully.
c. Such an attempt is the height of folly and pride!
d. Sinful men and fallen angels are unable to prevail against Divine wisdom and knowledge.
e. No creature can ever successfully oppose God.
f. Nobody can devise a plan to defeat God.
g. The wisdom, understanding, and counsel of men can never avail against Almighty God.
The Three Terms
These terms are similar in that they all deal with the mind; they all deal with a believer’s capacity to think, to know, to understand, and to reason. But they each have a slightly different shade of meaning.
1. Wisdom: Wisdom; prudence; shrewdness; skill; experience.
2. Understanding: Understanding; intelligence; insight; knowledge; reasoning; logic; debate; discernment.
3. Counsel: Counsel; advice; purpose; plan; plot; scheme.
1. Jer. 9:23 – Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom…
a. Man should never GLORY in his own puny wisdom.
b. Human wisdom is nothing to brag about.
c. What we SHOULD glory in is the fact that we know the Lord!
d. As Christians, we know Christ – “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col.2:3)
2. To think that our wisdom is superior to that of the Lord is preposterous!
a. It is unimaginable that anyone could think such a thing… yet our hearts are SO deceitful that it does occur.
b. Many of the great philosophers of the world have opposed the wisdom of God and referred to it as “foolish,” “archaic,” etc.
3. God’s wisdom is the TRUTH. Nothing can stand against the truth.
a. II Corinthians 13:8 “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.”
b. Men might attempt to fight and kick against the truth, but they will always be on the losing end.
4. In the early chapters of Proverbs, Lady Wisdom is seen crying out to the young, the simple, and the inexperienced. (Prov. 1:20-21)
a. Yet the simple rejected God’s wisdom.
b. They felt they had a superior wisdom… or that they did not need God’s wisdom.
c. Prov. 1:31-33 – There are dire consequences of making such arrogant defiance against the Lord.
d. You will be defeated by God. Your wisdom does not stand a chance.
5. Jonah 1:13 – Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not.
1. The second term used is “understanding.” This is the term that means intelligence; insight; knowledge; reasoning; etc.
2. Could you imagine anyone so foolish as to think that they could match wits with God?
a. Ps. 147:5 – Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite.
b. Our understanding is no match for God.
c. In fact, compared to God, there really isn’t much of a difference between the guy who dropped out of the sixth grade and the guy who finished top of his class at Harvard.
d. The gap between ANY man’s understanding and God’s is infinity.
3. Here is where a great divide is drawn between those who believe and trust in the facts recorded in God’s Word and those who trust the intellectual writings of men.
a. Scientists: Evolution vs. creation.
b. Psychologists: Man is born a sinner vs. man is born as a blank slate.
c. Liberal Theologians: Belief in the miracles of the Bible vs. belief only in observable scientific fact.
d. Higher Critics: Inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures vs. the Bible as a book on par with any other book written by man.
e. Unsaved men may lean on their own understanding and defy God’s understanding in this life… but eventually their opposition shall not stand.
f. They may win debates because of a superior intellect and greater debating skills, or because of a golden tongue… but their understanding will one day be exposed as a lie… a deception that they were silly enough to fall for… because they had no wisdom from above.
4. Rom. 9:20 – Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
a. Men reply against God all the time.
b. Men oppose God’s written words; they oppose His will, His plans, and His intellect.
c. Paul speaks of the arrogance and audacity of such rebellion.
d. Imagine clay questioning the reasoning or the understanding of the potter?
e. This is used to demonstrate the folly of a man (who is but clay; dirt) daring to question or reply against God!
f. It sounds like the height of folly, but we all do it!
g. We think God should act in one way, and He acts in another. Sometimes that makes us discouraged, puzzled, resentful, and even angry.
h. We would do well to humble ourselves, and remind ourselves of this proverb: our understanding of matters cannot successfully stand against God.
5. Job 38:4 – Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
a. Job had many questions. He was perplexed by what God allowed in his life. He began to question God.
b. He began to think that perhaps God was misguided… or made a mistake… or didn’t understand what was actually taking place in Job’s life.
c. God put Job (and us) in his place by rehearsing how God with His great wisdom and understanding created the universe… held stars in their place… created earth… the waters… the heavens… and that He holds it all together.
d. Then, in a bit of pointed sarcasm, God says, “Where were you when I created all this?”
e. That was the end of the argument for Job. It was the end of questioning God.
f. The cure is to consider once again that God’s understanding is infinite. There is no fact that He ignores or is unaware of.
6. Isa. 55:8-9 – God’s thoughts are infinitely above our thoughts. What folly to challenge Him to a debate… or question Him…
a. We would do well to let this truth really sink into our heads… and change our attitudes and hearts.
b. Let God be true and every man a liar.
c. If there is any discrepancy between what we think and what God’s Word says – God’s Word ends the debate.
d. If there is any discrepancy between the truth of God’s Word and what the scientists, psychologists, or philosophers tell us… let God be true and every man a liar.
e. If we truly BELIEVE in His omniscience… this will settle MANY questions for us.
f. We can then REST in truth, rather than be torn between two opposing world views.
1. Prov. 19:21 – There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
a. Devices: Plans; thoughts; purposes; inventions; schemes; counsel.
b. Every one of us has devices or plans and purposes in our hearts.
c. Sometimes they are good; sometimes they are evil.
d. But regardless of what kind of plans that are lurking in our hearts, God’s counsel shall stand!
e. Stand: To stand; to stand up; to endure; to be fixed; to be valid; to be proven; to be fulfilled.
f. Man can plot and scheme all he wants in hopes of undermining or overthrowing God’s counsel, but it will never happen.
2. The book of Isaiah gives us many examples of this type of human arrogance: attempting to oppose the counsel of the Lord.
a. Isa. 7:5-7 – Because Syria, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah, have taken evil counsel against thee, saying…
• In this section, Isaiah predicted that the Messiah—Immanuel—to be born would bring deliverance to Israel.
• Therefore, God told the Jews that they need not fear the evil counsel of their enemies.
• Their counsel shall NOT STAND against the Lord!
• Believing this brings peace and rest even in times of turmoil.
b. Isa. 8:9-10 – Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought.
• Though Judah would almost be defeated by the Assyrian invasion, they need not fear because GOD is with Judah!
• In this passage God mocks the plans and the counsel of the invaders.
• They can make their best plans, but they will come to nothing.
• Nobody can successfully oppose God.
• Regardless of how well organized, armed, and trained the opposition might be, their counsel shall come to nought.
• Thus Judah was SAFE as can be!
c. Isa. 14:27 – For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?
• Again, we see how SURE God’s counsel, purposes, and plans are.
• He defies anyone to attempt to disannul His plans.
• Who shall turn it back? Nobody! Ever!
d. Isa. 46:10 – Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.
3. Rev. 17:14 – These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings.”
a. And yet, men DO defy the Lord… and oppose His plans and purposes for the ages.
b. Imagine thinking that their plans were superior to God’s?
c. It seems so foolish to us as believers to think that anyone would ever dare to oppose God, yet one day the nations will.
d. Yet in spite of their self confidence, the Lamb shall OVERCOME them.
e. God wins because of who He is: King of kings.
4. Psalm 2:1-3 – God sits in heaven and laughs at such foolish scoffing and opposition. (Like an ant attempting to fight with an elephant.)
5. Psalm 33:10-11 – The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect…
a. Balak desired to curse Israel, but God overruled!
b. Pharaoh sought to harm Israel, but God overruled!
c. The wise plan of the Roman soldiers to guard the tomb of the Lord Jesus was brought to nothing.
d. The plots to trap Jesus in His words were foiled time and time again.
e. Even the crucifixion of Christ was planned by Satan and wicked men; but that wicked plan was not successful in defeating God. In fact, the cross GLORIFIED the Lord like nothing else could!
6. This truth is HELPFUL to us all.
a. In practical terms, it means that since God is for us, no man can successfully be against us; no plan of man will ever succeed against us unless the Lord allows it for His sovereign purpose.
b. No man can ever defeat God; and we are resting safely under His wings.
7. Our proverb tonight reminds us all of who God is… His omniscience… His infinite understanding… His wisdom… His counsel. They are all perfect.
a. Trying to outsmart God? Don’t bother!
b. Do you think that you are not in need of counsel from His Word? Think again.
c. Do you think you already understand spiritual things… the deep things of God? There’s much more. Our understanding is puny.
d. Do you dare to defy God? Do you think you could prove Him wrong?
e. There is no contest here. It is dust against omnipotence.
f. His understanding is infinite.
g. We are but dust; grass that is soon mown down; a vapor;
h. The sooner we learn this lesson the better!