“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” Psalm 111:10
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom…” Proverbs 1:7
To tell you the truth in today’s Internet world we have access to more information than we know what to do with. But in spite of so much information at a touch of a button, something is still missing—great wisdom. There are many people who boast about their knowledge, education, and degrees, but they make disasters of their lives because they lack spiritual discernment and understanding.Although few Scriptures advise us to acquire more information, many admonish us to seek wisdom. If we follow Biblical principles, He will give us understanding and guidance for every decision and situation we encounter.
The Word of God will always keep us in awe. We see the prescient set by the father giving instruction to his son. Solomon writes the same scripture in the book of Proverbs, as his father David writes in the book of Psalm. Surely, sitting at the feet of his father or even on his father’s lap, Solomon learned not only the importance of wisdom but how to get it.
We have all been asked in our cell groups or Home Bible Study “What does the Bible mean when it says to FEAR GOD?” The most common answer we hear people explain in regards to the fear of the Lord is a mere respect or reverence, which is not incorrect. But let’s not make a mistake and downplay the meaning of the word. The Bible mentions the word fear at least 300 times in reference to God.
The fear of the Lord is not a feeling of terror or a timid, cowardly spirit, if anything in that sense of the word; it is a healthy dread of displeasing Him. The fear of the Lord is the understanding that our Lord is a holy, just, and almighty God, and that He will hold us accountable for our motives, thoughts, words, and actions. To fear God is to desire to live in accord with the Biblical righteous standards and to honor God by being obedient to those Biblical standards. When we hear that someone is God fearing, we have the tendency to trust and believe that person. In Romans 3, the famous chapter on sin, the Apostle Paul writes that one of our major sins is the lack of having the fear of God, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” Romans 3:18.
Biblically, wisdom is the ability to discern and ascertain that the knowledge we receive from the Scriptures istrue, right, lasting, and applicable to our life. Wisdom and knowledge sound synonymous but they are not. Basically, knowledge is an accumulation of facts and data; wisdom knows how to use those facts and data. The Corinthians had many instructors (I Corinthians 4:15) meaning they had knowledge of the Word but no power (wisdom) from the Word (I Corinthians 4:20).
We don’t consider that one of the most important traits of wisdom is the fear of God; in fact, it is the first step towards wisdom. Wisdom requires a healthy fear of the Lord. Wisdom assists us to learn to prefer God’s opinion above our own. We cannot gain wisdom without submitting to the standards of the Scriptures. Why do people refuse wisdom? “Because they hate knowledge (wisdom) and do not choose the fear of the Lord.” (Proverbs 1:29). We may be wise in our own eyes, but we are extremely foolish if we do not fear the Lord and the consequences of eternity.
Learning from King David, Solomon knew the importance of having wisdom to lead the Children of Israel. In I Kings 3:3-10, is the story of Solomon as a young king and his relationship with God. “And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father” (vs. 3). The young king brought a substantial offering to the Tabernacle. That night, God appeared in a dream and offered the young king whatever he wanted, “Ask what I shall give you” (1 Kings 3:5).Solomon responded, “You have made Your servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in…Give therefore Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and bad…” (vs. 7, 9). God was pleased with the request and gave Solomon much more than understanding, including vast physical riches (vs. 10).
There were four steps that assisted Solomon in receiving wisdom from God. One,Solomon obeyed God’s commands (vs. 3); two, he had the right attitude, realizing he could not properly rule over Israel without God’s guidance (vs. 7); three, Solomon asked for understanding in judgment; four, he knew that true wisdom comes from God. The fourth point is the most important, and demonstrates we should approach the topic by first praying to God. Notice: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraids not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5). God will give wisdom to anyone who keeps His Commandments and humbly asks for it.
Wisdom is a choice that begins with a decision to trust Christ as Savior, and increases as we follow the teachings of God’s Word. If we want to be wise, we need a burning passion for the Lord’s guidance because there are many ideas, people, and situations that tempt us to ignore the Scriptural principles that lead to wisdom. The world tells us time is short and to live for today’s pleasures and pursuits. But, in reality, knowing our time on earth is limited ought to motivate us to correct sinful behaviors and attitudes and to begin living wisely according to God’s standards.