Tag Archives: God’s way

The Fear of the Lord, Part 2

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10 (NKJ)

In Search of Wisdom

Man has always searched for the best method to assist him in making good decisions, right judgments and sound pronouncements.  In primitive times, groups would cast lots and dices, leaving the outcome to the proverbial “fates” (Lev. 16:8; Joshua 18:8).  In Israel’s early formation, decisions were informed by the High Priest who consulted the Urim and Thummin (Exo. 28:30).  As the nation grew Israel deferred key moral and political decisions to God’s chosen representatives—judges and kings who were often counseled by wise prophets and priests.  While the fear of the Lord offered motivation to seek “God’s face” (Num. 6:25-26), it was the knowledge of the Holy One that established the critical link to God—the source of all knowledge and wisdom.

Knowledge of the Holy One

The true source of wisdom is identified in the parallel statements found in Proverbs 9:10—the  fear of the LORD  and knowledge of the Holy One.  In general, knowledge (da’ath, DAH-ath) provides insight and discernment based on personal experiences.  It involves the process by which one can recognize, classify, and organize information gained from varied experiences and use them to develop an appropriate response.  This “process of knowing” is illustrated in the story of Moses.

Moses’ early knowledge of God came vicariously through others he knew in Pharaoh’s court.  Moses knew little about God therefore God had no part in his thinking or planning.  Forty years later, Moses experienced God personally at the burning bush (Exod. 3:2).  In seeing that the fire did not consume the bush, Moses recognized God’s power and holiness.  Moses’ response to knowing God was awe and reverence (Exod. 3:5).

After witnessing the ten (10) plagues against Pharaoh and Egypt, Moses’ knowledge was exponentially expanded.  As Moses observed (classified) the different ways God dealt with Pharaoh’s resistance, he knew that God was more powerful than any god worshiped in Egypt and that He was “more than able” to deliver His people (Exod. 3:6-8).  Moses’ response to knowing God was obedience.

Moses’ knowledge of God through his various experiences resulted in the organized deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt.  Their collective response to God was worship and praise (Exodus 15: 1, 11).   Pharaoh’s disregard of what he knew of God, on the other hand, led to the destruction of his army (Ex. 14:18).  Pharaoh refused to factor in his knowledge of the Holy One.

Knowledge of the Holy One is the revelation of God (Ep. 1: 17-18).  It shapes our reality so that we conform to the will of God and respond appropriately to the events of life.  This knowledge reminds us whose we are (our relationship with God), who we are (our position in Christ), and how we are to live (in obedience and service to God).  It is gained through our personal experiences with Him, through His revealed Word, and through the Holy Spirit.  Knowledge of the Holy One is foundational for all wisdom and righteousness (Prov. 1:7).

SELAH:   What shapes key decisions and choices you make with regard to your family, profession, and relationships—your personal experiences or your knowledge of the Holy One?   Are you a Moses or a Pharaoh?

Get Wisdom

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.”  Proverbs 4:7 (KJV)

Is wisdom important?  When was the last time you complimented friends or family for their wisdom?  Has a political candidate ever run on a wisdom platform?   As I listen to daily newscasts and assess our current world affairs, I wondered if Jesus views us as “wise” or foolish stewards.  Do people, in general, care about wisdom? With that in mind, I input into my search engine, “where is wisdom in the 21st century?” I was overwhelmed by the number and variances in responses—7.6M to be exact.  People do care about wisdom!  So with that information in hand, we begin a new series entitled, “Desperately Seeking Wisdom” as we direct our attention to the Source and Sustainer of true wisdom—God.

Why do we need wisdom?   Wisdom is particularly important for us in our technological society, where we place a strong emphasis on knowledge.  Climate change, social oppression and injustices, political strife, the erosion of truth and trust in our traditional institutions—these are just a sample of the problems our world faces.  None of these pressing challenges can be navigated unless tempered with biblical wisdom.  Only when one abandons what seems wise by human standards to accept without hesitation the “divine viewpoint” as revealed in Scripture by the Holy Spirit can true wisdom be claimed (1 Cor. 3:19-20) .

What is wisdom?  Wisdom is generally defined as knowledge guided by understanding.  Knowledge without understanding often results in misunderstandings and errors in judgment.  But I would expand that secular definition and say that “godly wisdom” is a way of thinking and conduct that is orderly, socially sensitive, and morally upright.  It is a way of viewing and approaching life that results in purposeful, God-honoring living (1 Pet. 1:13, 14).  While wisdom may be relatively easy to define it, the real challenge lies in how to acquire it.

How do we gain wisdom?  Though wisdom cannot be learned, its development begins with the access of knowledge; it must be honed by experience.  We can gain wisdom vicariously through the experiences gleaned from others—seeing how they handle situations similar to ones we may face.  For wisdom that can only be gained through experience, we might seek mentors, special “tech” groups, and life coaches, to help guide our decision making and problem solving.  These are a few examples of how we hope to gain understanding, insight, and ultimately wisdom. However, the best source of wisdom is God (Prov. 2:5, 9-10,12).

The wise person is one who is sensitive to God and who willingly subjects himself to Him. The wise person is one who goes on to apply divine guidelines in everyday situations and guided by God’s will, makes daily choices. It is only in joining the Lord’s words to experience that wisdom can be found or demonstrated (James 1:23-25).

I like Eugene Petersen’s Message translation of our opening text.

“Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding. Don’t forget one word! Don’t deviate an inch! Never walk away from Wisdom—she guards your life; love her—she keeps her eye on you. Above all and before all, do this Get wisdom!”

SELAH:   Meditate on the benefits of wisdom found in Proverbs 4:5-10.  Journal how God’s wisdom has benefitted you this past week.