In writing to some Seventh-day Adventist leaders, Ellen White once said, “They thought they were too wise to be taught, and too secure to need caution, and if no one makes shipwreck of faith and a good conscience, I shall be surprised. Mistakes I saw would be made, and the men who are handling sacred things were not inclined to be controlled. Were they confidently relying upon the wisdom from above? No, but on their own supposed superior wisdom and prudence. O how sad to see men of little experience put on airs of importance, and act as though their own judgment of men and things were infallible. I know that things are not right now in the office.” 1888 Materials, 1186.
Today, we are in as great, and perhaps greater danger of making shipwreck of our faith. If we are to avoid eternal disaster, we must obtain a superior wisdom from God. There are several aspects to this superior wisdom that God wants to give us. The first and most important is the lessons of meekness and of silence. Notice how Jesus illustrated this in His own life.
“The Great Teacher held in His hand the entire map of truth, but He did not disclose it all to His disciples. He opened to them those subjects only, which were essential for their advancement in the path to heaven. There were many things in regard to which His wisdom kept Him silent. As Christ withheld many things from His first disciples, knowing that then it would be impossible for them to comprehend them, so today He withholds many things from us, knowing the capacity of our understanding.” Review and Herald, April 23, 1908.
“When the priests heard Pilate’s words, they broke out into a torrent of accusation. Standing behind Pilate, in view of all in the court, Christ heard the abuse, but to all the false charges against Him He answered not a word. His whole bearing gave evidence of conscious innocence. He stood unmoved by the fury of the waves that beat about Him. It was if the heavy surges of wrath, rising higher and higher, like the waves of the boisterous ocean, broke about Him, but id not touch Him. He stood silent, but His silence was eloquence. It was as a light shining from the inner to the outer man. Thus He gave evidence of His superior wisdom.” Signs of the Times, January 24, 1900.
Moses learned this lesson which resulted in making him one of the greatest men that has ever lived. Of him we are told, “Moses ‘was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth,’ and this is why he was granted divine wisdom and guidance above all others. Says the Scripture, ‘The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way.’ Psalm 25:9. The meek are guided by the Lord, because they are teachable, willing to be instructed. . . . God does not force the will of any; hence He cannot lead those who are too proud to be taught, who are bent upon having their own way.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 384.
Counseling the pioneer self-supporting workers, the Lord instructed, “Be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. It will not be well for you to open to everybody all things concerning the work in Nashville and in Madison. There are those who are associated with us, and who occupy positions of trust, who may not stand the test. It will not be safe to try to make all understand everything. Those things that are of a private character, you should not make public. Let them be kept within the knowledge of your special few.” Spaulding-Magan, 393.
We must learn the same lesson of superior wisdom today or we will become entangled in insuperable problems which unnecessarily hinder God’s work.
“In the advancement of His cause in the earth, He would have men appointed to deal with the erring who will be kind and considerate, and whose characters reveal the similitude of the divine,— men who will show the wisdom of Christ in dealing with matters that should be kept private, and who, when a work of correction and reproof must be done, will know how to keep silence before those whom it does not concern. Unbelievers should not be given opportunity to make God’s people, be they ministers or laymen, the objects of their suspicion and unrighteous judgment.” Review and Herald, November 14, 1907.