Made wise Psalm 32:8-9
The Psalm has a stated purpose. Maschil is derived from the Hebrew term ‘to make wise’. Scripture itself is wisdom and the source of wisdom for men. Cp Ecc 12:11, 2Tim 3:15.
There are many different aspects of wisdom communicated to men by the grace of God.
- Justification and a righteous life, v1-2.
- Readiness to turn from and confess sin, v3-7.
- The ongoing guidance and counsel which is the portion of the obedient believer in our text, v8-11.
In each case, the wisdom that is spoken of is accompanied by joy and safety.
In our text, the wisdom in view is that which is necessary to proceed in the right path all the way through the Christian life. It is the practical wisdom necessary for every day, for every step.
I TO BE WISE WE MUST BE GUIDED BY GOD.
- The promise of God. It is clear that the wisdom in view here is sourced in God. There is an inherent reminder here of the natural lack of wisdom that is due to our sin. The Lord has graciously and warmly promised to give the guidance and wisdom referred to here. Cp James 1:5.
- The details of His promise.
- I will instruct thee. Same root as title. ‘I will make thee wise’. Literally, this word refers to the ability to see. Cp Ecc 2:14. His head—the seat of his mind—is illuminated by clear vision. It is this ability to see that makes the difference between the fool and the wise man. There is a work of Divine power in view. Wisdom/illumination has a Divine cause! Such a walk in the light is to be the ongoing experience of the redeemed. Cp Ps 36:9, 1Jn 1:7.
- I will teach thee. The word indicates pointing out the way. It is is as if God points a finger, or gives us an arrow to denote the path of wisdom. Clearly and precisely He makes known to us what we need to know.
- In the way. There is a specific path for us to follow. We must be guided into it. The way here is a path worn by much use. Even in well-worn, familiar paths we require the direction of God!
- I will guide thee. Here the word indicates God as a counsellor/advisor—but One with authority.
- Personal. The promises here are made personal and individual. The guidance of God is tailored to the individual. While there is an essential harmony in the wisdom of God, He deals with us one on one in the application of it.
II THIS WISDOM BECOMES CONSCIOUS OF THE EYE OF GOD.
- Divine instruction on this point. He tells us very clearly here that His eye is upon those He is teaching etc. While all things are under His eye, it is especially the case that He is observing those He is teaching/making wise.
- The fear of the Lord. This reverent consciousness of the gaze of God is the foundation of wisdom. Cp 33:18, Prov 9:10.
- This is a primary means of preservation from folly.
III A BRUTISH REACTION TO BE AVOIDED.
The words change from the singular to the plural at this point to emphasize the simple fact that this is counsel that all need to give heed to. This is not a peculiarly personal thing reserved only for a few individuals!
- The tendency to react like the unreasoning animal is warned against. This is contrasted with wisdom. It is the evidence of no understanding!
- Two contrasting reactions in opposition to God’s counsel. The behaviours of two animals are invoked as an illustration:
- The war horse. Cp Job 39:19. Plunging recklessly ahead and unwilling to stop the charge.
- The mule. Famous for its stubbornness and resistance of being driven.
- Both are wrong.
- The suggestion of harm. There is a suggestion here in the words that such brutish response to the will of God is threatening and dangerous to others. Cp Gal 5:15, James 4:1.
IV THE BLESSING OF HAVING THIS WISDOM.
- Spared from misery and protected by mercy, v10.
- Abundant joy. This is the joy of faith. It is joy that is built upon the Lord Himself rather than on circumstances.