Wisdom and God – Psalm 111:10

Wisdom Is The Practical Application Of Knowledge In Truth To Determine The Right Course Of Action To Take

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

Awakening to the Almighty

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  When we come to realize that there is a God, and He is not us, we begin on a journey of developing wisdom – the practical application of knowledge in truth.  Obtaining wisdom should not merely be an academic pursuit; it should guide us into a greater understanding of ourselves, God’s creation, and God’s character so that we can be more fruitful in His service.

God gives us faith so that we would recognize that He exists and is working in our lives.  Fear, in this sense, is not merely relegated to the dread of reaping the consequences of our actions, but moving from a clear understanding of God’s Holiness to God’s Faithfulness.  Wisdom teaches us that God is not ONLY holy, not ONLY just, but also that He is love, and full of grace and mercy.  His perfect holiness is tempered in love through mercy and grace, and is evidenced by His willingness to allow His one and only Son to die on the cross for sins so that we could be reconciled to Him.

When we fear God, we begin to trust God.  And as we trust God, He joyfully moves in our lives to bring about His plan and display the beauty of His character through His wisdom in how He made everything and interacts with His creation.

Spiritual Strength

Wisdom is greatly to be desired.  Knowledge without wisdom is a trophy on a shelf.  A savant may be able to recite every fact known to man, but without the ability to collate that information into practical, useful direction, it is merely an interesting aside.

Spiritual growth and strength occur when we practically apply our knowledge of God’s word in wisdom in our actions.  As we being begin to be obedient, God reveals the reasons behind why He does what He does.  It helps us to better discern what actions to take when faced with difficulties, and to choose rightly in the moment of action.  Wisdom tells us that God knows everything, so we should FIRST go to Him if we need it.  Wisdom tells us to how and why to avoid evil, and how to embrace and engage in truth and righteousness.  And it is only as we are willing to apply wisdom in our own lives that we being begin to truly understand the benefit of it as we reap her rewards.

Wealth of Wisdom

As we grow in Godly wisdom, we are able to honor God in a way that pleases Him.  It has been said that we have two beasts within us.  And whichever one we feed will grow stronger, and the one we don’t feed will grow weaker, yet will grow more desperate in its cries in our life until it grows so weak that it quiets down.  We choose which beast to feed.

We can feed the evil nature within us, or we can feed the godly nature within us.   As we spiritually mature, God gives us not only the wisdom and knowledge to act, but also provides us with the strength to ignore the cries of our sin nature and our cursed bodies as we strive to walk more closely with God.  Paul likened this to an athlete’s training:

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

We are to use what we learn so that we are not being hypocrites before the world.  Who wants a doctor who weighs 350 pounds, has a terrible cough, drinks alcohol on the job, smokes in the office, and then tells someone who weighs 200 pounds that they need to lose weight and exercise more so that they can become healthier?

Wisdom has great practical application in what is truly important – our spiritual growth and intimacy with our Creator.  But is also has wonderful application in other areas of our lives that appear more practical and have more immediate consequences.

Practical Protection

Wisdom tells us that we should lock our doors in areas with high crime.  Wisdom tells us that we should avoid physical intimacy with people other than our spouses (and to avoid it until we have a spouse).  Wisdom tells us that we should drive sober.

Why?

The answers seem obvious to people who have wisdom, but to those who do not, these general statements of conduct may seem genuinely odd, but make perfect sense once a person who has gleaned wisdom explains it:

  • Those who grew up in areas where there was great trust in their neighbors because they helped one another, and who don’t pay attention to the news, may find that living in Chicago or New York City or Baltimore to be a new experience…
  • Ask anyone who has AIDS, HIV, or any other number of terrible diseases that have a tendency to spread through physical relations with others, and they will tell you their wisdom in the matters of physical intimacy with others
  • Ask the man who lost his job, his family, his car, his home, and everything else he found dear in this life after he has taken the life of another human being while drinking and driving

It has been said that good judgment comes from experience; and experience comes from bad judgment.

Potential for Prosperity

When we apply wisdom to our finances, we may stop spending money on unnecessary items (or re-prioritize what is necessary and what is not) so that we have more money to save or invest.  Proverbs 31 tells of a woman who has great wisdom in many areas of her life.  She applies that wisdom in how she conducts the household while her husband is off at the city gates being an elder (the modern equivalent is being on City Council and the local Judge)

The practical application of knowledge in how life works helps us to make important decisions concerning how we conduct ourselves.  It is only valuable when we are willing to put the lessons that wisdom teaches us into practice.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I willing to make the necessary sacrifices to employ all of the wisdom that God has provided for me in daily living?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You know the beginning from the end.  Nothing is hidden from You.  Even before a word is on my lips You already know what it will be.  With all knowledge, and Your perfect character, You are all-wise as well.  Father, help me to navigate through this day so that I honor Your name in all that I do.  Help me to make the necessary changes to how I act, think, and speak so that I can grow in wisdom and knowledge.  Show me how to better conduct myself through Your word so that it would benefit me, my family, and everyone around me.  Provide for my every need, and guard me against all influences that would seek to derail my efforts living for You.  This I ask in the precious name of Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?


This blog has been edited for spelling and grammatical errors.

The Fear of God – Deuteronomy 10:12-13

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge

12 And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

Fear Factor

We have all heard the expression, “That’ll put the fear of God into him!”  But what exactly is the Biblical meaning of “the fear of God”?

  • Is is an aversion of a “proverbial old, angry, bearded, white-robed man in the sky with his finger expectantly hovering above a smite button, waiting for the least opportunity to press it”?
  • Is it an anticipatory dread of the eternal forthcoming sentence as punishment for sins?
  • Or is it something else?

The Case of Character

In order to answer that question, we must first look at the character of God the Father:

  • Jonah, angry that He was sent to preach repentance to the Ninevites, had this to say about God:
  • He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.

  • In Lamentations 3:22-23, it is very likely that the prophet Jeremiah wrote the following:
  • 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
        his mercies never come to an end;
    23 they are new every morning;
        great is your faithfulness

  • John the Apostle wrote the following:
  • Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

It is clear, just from the three accounts above, that God is not waiting in heaven with His finger over the smite button just waiting for us to make a mistake – that is the devil’s lie, looking for any reason to try to deceive us and bring condemnation upon us.  And while there is a coming judgement where all whose names are not found in the Book of Life will judged and sent to the lake of fire, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.  The Apostle John also says there is no fear in love.  So this “fear” must be something else.

Reverence Revealed

There is a big difference between abject fear (terror – Greek phobon – we get our word “phobia” from it) and reverential fear.  Abject fear is an emotional response to a life-threatenting or pain-anticipatory situation.  However, when referring to “the fear of the Lord”, it is a different type of emotional response.  The “fear of the Lord” is a reverential trust and understanding that not only is God a Just Judge and will punish all evil, for He is Holy; but God is also Love, full of compassion, mercy and grace for those He created.  It is this synergy of both aspects of God’s character that permit us to see that He is not some towering ogre waiting to destroy us but rather a loving Father who righteously disciplines us so that we will not have to face His punishment (the white throne seat of judgement).  The love component of His character allows us to reverentially fear Him in love, where there is no emotional phobon of punishment.

The Qualifying Question

So let’s ask the question:  Are we motivated by God’s love to reverentially trust God, or are we motivated by the perceived threat of punishment for doing evil?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You reveal Your love to us through your mercy and compassion in that You sent Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins.  Remove any fear in my heart, Lord God, of punishment, and help me to reverentially trust You in Your steadfast love, mercy and grace.  Strengthen me when I am weak.  Guard my heart against all unrighteousness, and help me to come to You as a child in wonder and awe.  Forgive me of my sins, and give me clean hands and a pure heart, that I may worship you in exceeding joy.  Help me to recognize the warped viewpoint of the world, the flesh, and the devil, that I would not be deceived.  Blessed be Your name in all the universe!  May all creation rejoice in Your character!  Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?