The Fear of the Lord
by Pastor Scott
Wisdom isn’t a word you probably hear very often in casual conversation. It may not be a word you’ve heard very often lately, period. So, what is wisdom? And why is it so important to us as we live out our lives in the Christian faith?
In the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon makes it very clear that having wisdom allows us to understand life itself. From God’s view, to “get wisdom” is better than receiving gold. Those who get wisdom find life and receive favor from the Lord.
The Teen Study Bible I have on my desk asks some pretty good questions. What’s the use of studying? What’s the use of trying to get along with others? What’s the use of trying to do the right thing when all your friends just laugh at you?
Solomon makes it very clear that from a human standpoint, getting wisdom and pursuing the right things according to God’s will is a challenging process.
Ecclesiastes 7:23–24 says, “I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise”. But it didn’t work. Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find.”
I remember a not so wise choice I made years ago when I began an argument with someone twice my size. Let’s just say, it wasn’t too pretty.
Fortunately, God wants us to be wise and Scripture provides us with much instruction in this area. Here are just four of the many instructions written to give us God’s wisdom.
Solomon says in Proverbs 9 that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. There has always been some confusion about why we are to fear someone who is supposed to be all loving and forgiving. But let me explain a little more on what it means to fear God.
Philipp Melanchthon, a collaborator of Martin Luther, discussed what it means to fear God by contrasting filial fear with servile fear. Filial fear is the type of respect and love a child has for a parent; a fear of offending the one
they most adore and trust. In contrast, servile fear is the kind of fear that a prisoner has for his jailer or executioner. Fear of the Lord is a “filial” fear; the fear that comes from great respect and love.
Solomon says we must “look for wisdom as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure.” (Proverbs 2:4). We should desire wisdom with all our hearts and minds and souls. When we desire wisdom from God, we humbly accept His word and let His commands guide our lives. If we do this, then we’ll find knowledge and understanding.
Another part of searching for wisdom is seeking it in prayer. The first chapter of James tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
But when we ask God for wisdom, “be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6). We cannot seek the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God and then choose which we like better.
Wisdom is obtained from studying and meditating on Scripture (Psalm 19:7). We should make sure that our “wise” thoughts line up with God’s Word. That is the true test of wisdom. Too many of us try to become wise by reading books (other than the Bible) or listening to others who may or may not have good advice. I hope and pray we pursue God’s wisdom instead, looking for it in His word and practicing it by keeping His commands.
For true wisdom is to fear God, submit to His ways, be in constant conversation with God and study his Word, seeking to understand life from God’s perspective.
In Jesus’ Name,
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