Wisdom and Fear are Related
Today, we are talking about wisdom and where it begins. It is very clear in our passage today how fear and wisdom are related.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have good understanding. His praise endures forever!”
In the past, we have talked about distracting, debilitating fear. Today we are discussing a kind of fear that actually propels you forward. This fear is from God and helps us keep who He is in perspective.
Let’s go to the verse:
“The fear of the LORD… “
First, I want to quickly mention why the word LORD is in all caps. In the Old Testament, it will be in all caps when the word lord is indicative of the covenant name of God – Yahweh. This would keep down confusion. It would not be all caps when it was used to address someone in authority or as a title.
What is the fear of the LORD? You’ve probably pondered that in the past. I have heard it said that it is more like a reverent awe than sheer terror. We are definitely to be in awe of Him but I think that there is an element of holy terror involved as well.
I think that once we know Christ and have given our lives to Him, we may after a time of getting to know Him through His Word, become carefully comfortable in His presence. But the more we know HIm, the more we will realize Who it is that we stand before. The One who controls the oceans, the volcanoes, and the earthquakes, is hardly One whose presence should ever be taken lightly or casually.
At the prospect of standing in the physical presence of this dazzlingly beautiful and loving God who is also so mighty, that He holds all of Creation in His very hand, I see my face tip earthward and almost in one motion I am face down on the ground in complete awe and trembling. I really cannot imagine remaining standing in front of Him.
An Inadequate Analogy
Let’s take a quick trip to the northwestern woods of the United States. Sound like fun?
We have been roaming around for a while just enjoying nature. We walk over the crest of a hill and there on the path right in front of us, standing at full height is a grizzly bear, which, unfortunately, we have surprised! Qualified by Popular Science as the “biggest baddest predator most Americans will ever encounter”, what runs through your mind??
This beautiful majestic and powerful creature who was minding its own business is now rapidly approaching us. Its instincts having taken over its decision-making process. Are you simply standing there casually as it gets closer or are you trembling??
Whew! I am glad that was an imaginary trip!
Insight from CS Lewis
In the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, there is a conversation between Susan and Mr. Beaver about Aslan, the Lion. Susan asks if Aslan is quite safe to be around.
“‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver; ‘Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.'”
If you are familiar with this literary work, you probably know that Aslan is a type of Christ in the story. Such a beautiful interpretation of our Holy Almighty God!
And we can say, “No, He isn’t safe! But He’s good. He is so very good!”
Where Wisdom Begins
“…is the beginning of wisdom… “
When we begin to truly realize who God is and get some perspective on who we are in comparison, that is when wisdom begins to dawn in our minds. There is no true wisdom outside the knowledge of God. That may offend some, but according to God’s Word, it is fact.
“…all those who practice it have a good understanding… “
Once we know and grasp who God is and keep it forefront in our minds, we will easily practice the fear of the Lord.
How does it look? In our daily lives, when we are living in that fear of the Lord we will be much more able to live obediently. We will not struggle so much with sin because we will not disregard what God thinks about it. 1 Peter 1:13-16 tells us to be holy because God is holy. To be holy is to be spiritually perfect and sinless. That is what we are to strive toward in our lives. I encourage you to read it for yourself.
“…His praise endures forever!”
The Psalmist is clearly excited about who God is and he has written a beautiful psalm to help the people of Israel rejoice and praise the Lord. This psalm is also for us! The whole psalm is declaring praise to God and telling us why He is worthy of that praise. I encourage you to read this short psalm in its entirety.
Things to Ponder Today:
- Please take some time today to really think about who God is.
- Think about where He is in your perspective.
- Ask Him to help you wrap your mind around who He is, with good understanding.
God is Holy, all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful and ever-present. He is not our buddy or our pal; He is our King, King of kings. We must never take the fact that He is Holy God lightly.
Thank You, Lord, for Your beautiful Word. Help us to know You better and understand more clearly who You are. Help us live in a way that glorifies You and exemplifies what we have been set free from and Who we have been set free by!
Go Deeper Today: