There’s a significant difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and information as a result of study, whereas wisdom is the ability to discern what is good, true, and helpful. With the Internet, we can increase our knowledge at any moment, but wisdom can only be increased through Christ.
In Psalm 51:6, David recognizes this significant difference between knowledge and wisdom. He writes, “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.”
We can assume that David was a very knowledgeable man. As king, he was surrounded by the brightest scholars and advisors. But when he saw Bathsheba bathing on the rooftop, all that knowledge was useless. What he needed was wisdom in his heart, and in a moment of foolishness, he abandoned it.
David was a fool, just like us. Because we’re sinners, our hearts are susceptible to foolishness and thus are always in need of wisdom. I’ve found that there are four fundamental areas where we need it most.
First: for the foolishness of self-centeredness. We were created to live for Someone bigger than ourselves, but in moments of foolishness, we choose our own little pleasures over God. That’s what happened to David. Instead of living for the Lord and protecting the people entrusted to him, David gave in to a moment of self-centered foolishness and harmfully exploited others.
Second: for the foolishness of self-deception. We’re incredibly gifted self-swindlers. We minimize the consequences of what God calls wrong, and in our worst moments, we convince ourselves that what’s sinful is actually beneficial. That’s what happened to David. Instead of seeing relations with Bathsheba as something to avoid, David named it as something he needed to pursue for a pleasurable life.
Third: for the foolishness of self-sufficiency. We think that we’re independent, autonomous, and self-sufficient human beings. We know the Bible says we’re weak, but we actually believe that we’ve accomplished life on our own. Instead of reaching out for help and admitting to moral weakness, we try to battle sin on our own, and like David demonstrated, it’s a fight we can’t win without divine assistance.
Fourth: for the foolishness of self-righteousness. Why do we struggle to live with a deep sense of gratitude for what God has done? Because in moments of foolishness, we tell ourselves that we’re the hero of our own story. David eventually recognized his foolishness, and Psalm 51 was the result. Grace is the plea of sinners. Mercy is the hope of the wicked. Jesus is the hero we desperately need.
It’s true of you today, and it’ll always be true of you until glory – your heart is susceptible to foolishness. But you also need to remember this: there is no foolishness too reckless for grace’s wisdom. The Bible refers to David as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), which means if God is willing and able to rescue a murdering adulterer, he’s willing and able to rescue us with the wisdom we need.
Like David, God doesn’t define you by your foolishness; he defines you by your relationship with the one who is Wisdom, the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus, you’re accepted by God despite your foolish heart and lack of wisdom. Because of Jesus, you’re increasingly freer from foolishness than you were yesterday. And because of Jesus, you’re daily connected to the never-ending source of Wisdom.
Paul David Tripp
- How was your heart susceptible to the foolishness of self-centeredness this week?
- How was your heart susceptible to the foolishness of self-deception this week?
- How was your heart susceptible to the foolishness of self-sufficiency this week?
- How was your heart susceptible to the foolishness of self-righteousness this week?
- How has God rescued you from foolishness in the past, and how does that give you hope for the future?