Words of Wisdom Chapter 23

Rabbi Yochanan Hammond, Ph.D., uitam@unitedintorah.org


Chapter Twenty Three.


One would be forgiven to assume that people would seek wisdom. Yet I cannot but believe this is far from the case. Many people have no interest in seeking wisdom but instead seek to be clever. Make no mistake there is a big difference between wisdom and being clever. Wisdom comes from HaShem whereas cleverness comes from a variety of other sources. Some may reject the following statement, “but all wisdom does indeed come from HaShem”. This in no way negates the fact that people can be very clever in and of themselves, but this human cleverness is far removed from the wisdom of HaShem.


As we begin the year 5778 we witness just how clever people have become. Never have there been more educational institutions in the world. Technology has never been more advanced than what it is at present. Communication is at a level never imagined 100 yrs ago. We have become so clever we have deceived ourselves in believing that not only do we no longer need HaShem, but He is just a figment of imagination at best.  Our communities are bereft of the wisdom of HaShem, instead relying on the cleverness of humans. We have deceived ourselves into believing that we no longer require the wisdom of HaShem, in fact we see this wisdom as foolishness and reject any association with it. This has had and is having a devastating impact on our lives. Make no mistake, deception is toxic, and leads to deadly sicknesses. This belief that HaShem has nothing to offer us is destroying us and there is testimony of this truth on a daily basis. I am saddened that this is also true within the Children of Israel. There are far too many of us, who would state we are “biblical believers”, with a similar world view to those we would label as “unbelievers”.  This situation reminds me of something Shaul wrote about many years ago.

16 For I am not ashamed of the Good News, since it is God’s powerful means of bringing salvation to everyone who keeps on trusting, to the Jew especially, but equally to the Gentile. 17 For in it is revealed how God makes people righteous in his sight; and from beginning to end it is through trust — as the Tanakh puts it, “But the person who is righteous will live his life by trust.”

18 What is revealed is God’s anger from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people who in their wickedness keep suppressing the truth; 19 because what is known about God is plain to them, since God has made it plain to them. 20 For ever since the creation of the universe his invisible qualities — both his eternal power and his divine nature — have been clearly seen, because they can be understood from what he has made. Therefore, they have no excuse; 21 because, although they know who God is, they do not glorify him as God or thank him. On the contrary, they have become futile in their thinking; and their undiscerning hearts have become darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they have become fools! 23 In fact, they have exchanged the glory of the immortal God for mere images, like a mortal human being, or like birds, animals or reptiles!

24 This is why God has given them up to the vileness of their hearts’ lusts, to the shameful misuse of each other’s bodies. 25 They have exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, by worshipping and serving created things, rather than the Creator — praised be he for ever. Amen. 26 This is why God has given them up to degrading passions; so that their women exchange natural sexual relations for unnatural; 27 and likewise the men, giving up natural relations with the opposite sex, burn with passion for one another, men committing shameful acts with other men and receiving in their own persons the penalty appropriate to their perversion. 28 In other words, since they have not considered God worth knowing, God has given them up to worthless ways of thinking; so that they do improper things. 29 They are filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and vice; stuffed with jealousy, murder, quarrelling, dishonesty and ill-will; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God; they are insolent, arrogant and boastful; they plan evil schemes; they disobey their parents; 31 they are brainless, faithless, heartless and ruthless. 32 They know well enough God’s righteous decree that people who do such things deserve to die; yet not only do they keep doing them, but they applaud others who do the same.  Romans 1:16-32 [CJB]

Written thousands of years ago, yet so appropriate to what we witness this very hour. The above is the result of people being clever instead of wise.


Nothing has changed since the serpent came to Chava/Eve with his clever persuasions. The scene described in Genesis is the perfect picture of someone being clever or crafty.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.  Genesis 3:1-6 [ESV]

Up until this stage it would be accurate to say that both Adam and Chava had the wisdom of HaShem. It is when they decided to become “clever” that death entered their lives. This is such an important lesson for us to learn from.


We have what is termed “free choice”. This free choice is either a blessing or a curse! If we choose to follow the instructions of HaShem then that choice will be blessed. On the other hand if we choose to reject the instructions of HaShem then that choice will end in a curse.


28 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.  Deuteronomy 28:1-2 [ESV]

15 “But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you.  Deuteronomy 28:15 [ESV]

I encourage you to take the time to view the list of both blessings and curses that follow the above statements. Not sure about you, but if I had a choice between the two I would choose the blessings. The “Good News” is, we can choose! We can choose to employ the wisdom of HaShem and follow His instructions for our lives, thus guaranteeing a blessed life. On the other hand we can choose to be clever and employ our own “smarts” reject the Torah and receive the curses. The choice is really ours to make. As I write this article, we witness most people, from all walks of life, choosing to be clever. Even those of us who would classify ourselves as the Children of Israel are mostly choosing to be clever over being wise. Very few choose to follow the Torah HaShem gave us through His servant Moshe and further explained and lived by Yeshua HaMoshiach. Take some time to research the clever excuses given to ignore the Torah and employ the so called “wisdom” of humans. The result of this constant rejection of Torah is a cursed people. Once again go back through the list of blessings and curses and take stock of which applies to us today. A word of caution, if you do not believe in or understand biblical Torah you may arrive at an incomplete picture thus distorting the conclusion. Please allow me to make a rather strong statement. This is not to denigrate anyone or an attempt to cause division, but it is vital. If you do not understand, follow and embrace the Torah, you will not have a clear picture or understanding of either HaShem, Yeshua HaMoshiach and will be open to all kinds of deception. It is hard enough to ward off the enemies of HaShem in our lives, let alone trying to achieve it without the defensive armour of Torah. In case you are dismissive of all this take another look at Who is bringing these blessings and curses upon us and why. It is of course none other than HaShem Himself. You cannot and will not win a battle against HaShem. You may be the most clever person in the world, but unless you put away your cleverness and take up the wisdom of HaShem, it will all end in naught.


“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and clever in their own sight”  Isaiah 5:21 [NASB]

“For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.’”  1Corinthians 1:19 [NASB]

We must be wise in our choices if we are to improve our lives. We cannot have any reliance on our cleverness as this is mostly shrouded in deceit, resulting in a toxic cocktail of misery.

Would it not be wonderful for us to truthfully utter the following words?


“For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Yeshua HaMoshiach, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty”.  2Peter 1:16 [NASB]

May the grace, love and wisdom of HaShem and Yeshua HaMoshiach be with you!



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