Wisdom & the Fear of the Lord

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(This marks the beginning of a new summer series in the Book of Proverbs.)

Imagine that God came to you and said, “Ask me for anything, and I’ll give it to you.” What would you ask for? That’s what God did to David’s son, Solomon, who had just become king. Solomon could have asked God for anything. But he asked for wisdom. As a result, God gave Solomon a “wise and discerning mind”, unlike any man of the ancient world.

Solomon is credited with writing most of the Book of Proverbs, which is part of a section of the Bible called “the Books of Wisdom”, including Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes.

A proverb is a short, wise saying that packs a punch. It’s meant to be a lot of wisdom squeezed into a small statement, short enough to remember and clear enough to know how to live.

The first 9 chapters are speeches from a father to a son – laying out why it is so important to heed wisdom and avoid folly. These chapters become the lens through which we see and understand the rest of Proverbs.

Text:  Proverbs 1:1-6

1. What is wisdom?

The Hebrew word for wisdom is “khokhmah”, which was often applied to craftsman – those who not only had the information on how to build a table or to carve a sculpture, but they actually did it. They picked up tools and applied their knowledge with action.

To have wisdom is not only to have knowledge, but it includes action – to be able to apply that knowledge in the right way. I can have all the right information, and still lack wisdom if I don’t walk in it. Wisdom is knowing right from wrong, and choosing what is right. To discern good and bad and choose good. Wisdom means choosing what is best, what will bring about good, regardless of personal preference.

This is the core issue for the Christian. Not just knowing what is right, but living it. Not just knowing the biblical stance on something, but then to humble ourselves before God, before His word, and live it.

2. Where does wisdom come from?

[1:7] The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The beginning of wisdom is NOT man’s abilities and man’s intelligence. The beginning of true wisdom – the foundation of it all – is knowing and honoring God.

Put another way, to fear the Lord means to be humble before Him. The fool rejects and despises instruction because the fool is prideful. But the wise person fears God, and the one who fears God (honors, respects, is in awe of Him), is wise. Knowledge and understanding from God is knowledge and understanding of God Himself. God grants us wisdom by revealing Himself. And God has done this through Jesus.

For the Christian, wisdom is found in applying the gospel — considering who Jesus is and what He has done and applying that to everyday life.

Let’s purpose in our hearts to rediscover what the fear of the Lord means – that we know God and worship God and submit our live fully to God. Let us be a people who treasure Jesus, treasure the gospel of Jesus, and therefore, receive the wisdom that only comes from God.

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