Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge

The Children of Israel had been brought out from the land of Egypt. During their relatively short stay, only four hundred and thirty years (see Exodus 12:40, 41), and in spite of the cruel oppression, Israel had multiplied, from seventy souls in the days of Joseph, to more than six hundred thousand in the days of the Exodus.

Moses and Aaron led the newly formed nation to Mount Sinai, where they stayed for ten months and nineteen days.

Fifty days after the Exodus from Egypt, on the Feast of Shavuot (Pentecost), the Children of Israel received the instructions to life (the Torah), together with the instructions to build the Tabernacle (the LORD shall dwell among His people).

The Tabernacle of the LORD was raised on the first day of the second year, following the Exodus.

On the twentieth day of the second month, of the second year, the Children of Israel were ready to depart for, and possess the Promised Land.

"See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your fathers – to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – to give to them and their descendants after them." (Deuteronomy 1:8)

Forming the nation required strong leadership; governing the nation required leaders of special qualities; thus Moses commanded the people to select men accordingly, whom he could appoint as their judges.

"And I spoke to you at that time, saying, 'I alone am not able to bear you. The LORD your God has multiplied you, and here you are today, as the stars of heaven in multitude. May the LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times more numerous than you are, and bless you as He has promised you! How can I alone bear your problems and your burdens and your complaints? Choose wise, understanding, and knowledgeable men from among your tribes, and I will make them heads over you.'" (Deuteronomy 1:9-13)

These leaders were chosen specifically on the basis of their wisdom, understanding and knowledge of the Torah. Vital to daily conduct were men qualified and approved who could deliberate and direct the community of God in their pursuit of holiness. Leaders who through their godly counsel and righteous judgement would provide the necessary social framework and enforcement that would help the Children of Israel develop a life of righteousness and peace, love and truth.

Contrast the leaders of today, and observe the emphasis for their selection being placed on academic achievement, positions of influence and prestige.

Note that none who were appointed in Moses' day were selected because of their worldy knowledge. None were chosen on the basis of having diplomas, or graduated with honors. Academic qualifications were not the priority. Neither were titles or positions of influence within the community considered as important criteria for selection. There were no professors or lawyers, doctors or economic experts. No prime ministers, presidents or CEO's.

The single, foremost qualification which determined their appointment as a leader of the community was the fact that these men could make a righteous judgement. For this reason, they were men who needed to specialize in the Torah, the instructions to life.

"So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and knowledgeable men, and made them heads over you, leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, leaders of tens, and officers for your tribes.

"Then I commanded your judges at that time, saying, 'Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him. You shall not show partiality in judgement; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man's presence, for the judgement is God's. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.'" (Deuteronomy 1:15-17)

God's Word is unequalled, and continues to stand as the ultimate source of wisdom, knowledge and understanding for every generation.

God's Word is unique, because it is able to teach, rebuke and correct any one and every one, so that one may live uprightly in the sight of God and men, thereby proving a life which is acceptable to God, and living life to one's full potential.

"The Torah of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgements of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward." (Psalm 19:7-11)

For this reason, the criterion for leadership during the wilderness generation is raised as the standard for every subsequent generation. Want to know how to select a leader for today? Want to know the criteria, and what makes a good leader? Consider the selection criterion in Moses' day and compare it with any contemporary standards. Indeed, there is none better or equal!

Most significant to the nations, the selection criterion in the days of Moses becomes the measure for any government, in any generation, whereby righteous judgement is the goal and desired outcome within a community, and, in particular, when true justice is required the daily administration regarding all "your problems, and your burdens, and your complaints".

The nation of Israel struggles today for good leaders. Granted, the many who govern Israel today are on a par with any of their counterparts in other nations, but that is little comfort when considering the standard set in the past. Certainly, today's leaders would be no match for the men of the generation who wandered the wilderness, yet, righteous judgement was required in Moses' day, so why not today?

Some would argue that the Word of God is out-of-date and irrelevant in modern society.

When the Messiah came, He was challenged to clarify the relevancy of God's ways to contemporary issues and modern life, at the time. "Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in words. When they had come, they said to Him, 'Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?' But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, 'Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.' So they brought it. And He said to them, 'Whose image and inscription is this?' They said to Him, 'Caesar's' And Yeshua answered and said to them, 'Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.' And they marveled at Him." (Mark 12:13-17)

Clearly, the Messiah not only points to the relevancy of God's instructions for every aspect of daily life, but more so, God's Word continues unequalled with priority status in every generation. Therefore, the Word of God remains as the ultimate source of wisdom, understanding and knowledge.

Moreover, the Messiah declared that He is the Ultimate Leader. "I am the good shepherd." (John 10:14) He is the Living Word. "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30) If you want to know God, then observe and follow His Son – the Word of God in the flesh.

Mark Warren