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- According to the Bible,
- Wisdom simplifies religion by describing faith as born out of decisions that are either wise or foolish. There are two ways a person may take, and the choices one makes determine one’s direction. In Proverbs, wisdom personified stands in public places and calls to those who will listen to follow her precepts ( 1:20-33 ; 8:1-31 ).
- The disposition that characterizes the wise person is summed up in the phrase the “fear of the Lord.”
- It is this disposition that is the beginning of wisdom, and it also designates the process by which wisdom matures the individual.
- Not surprisingly, the fear of the Lord also names the end of the process.
Proverbs 1:7 also clearly explains what it means to have biblical knowledge: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
When we fear the Lord, which is the most basic form of knowledge, God can then begin to provide us with wisdom through Jesus, whom the Bible says is wisdom itself.
“But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
Wisdom BEGINS and ENDS with the fear of the LORD.
Job 28:28 And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’”
Psalm 33:8 Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
- THIS is what is lacking from the American church. We are not in “awe” of Him.
- HE IS AN AWESOME GOD!
- Awesome- causing or inducing awe; inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear:
- People are in “awe” of Michael Jordan’s talent to play basketball.
- We fear many bad things: Crime, auto accidents, devastating storms, West Nile virus, chemical weapons, mass murderers, terrorists, earthquakes, demons and Satan himself!
The following is the actual sermon notes from the pastor. The pastor uses this as a guideline. For this reason, it is not an exact transcript of the audio or video. It is being provided for your reference only.
But our loving Heavenly Father? Why are we told to fear Him?
First, realize that there is a fear of God that doesn’t produce good results. This terrifying and paralyzing fear is likely the type of fear that comes to mind for many.
The Bible shows several examples of fear gone wrong. Consider these passages:
- The unprofitable servant was corrected for being wicked and lazy after he made the excuse, “I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground” instead of using it productively (Matthew 25:25).
- Revelation 21:8 even tells us the “cowardly” or “fearful” (King James Version) will not be in God’s Kingdom.
- Such fear does not have a positive end. Obviously this fear is not what God is looking for. So what type of fear does God want us to have?
Meaning of the fear of the Lord
The main Hebrew and Greek words translated fear in the Bible can have several shades of meaning, but in the context of the fear of the Lord, they convey a positive reverence.
The Hebrew verb yare can mean “to fear, to respect, to reverence” and the Hebrew noun yirah “usually refers to the fear of God and is viewed as a positive quality. This fear acknowledges God’s good intentions (Ex. 20:20). … This fear is produced by God’s Word (Ps. 119:38; Prov. 2:5) and makes a person receptive to wisdom and knowledge (Prov. 1:7; 9:10)”
The Greek noun phobos can mean “reverential fear” of God, “not a mere ‘fear’ of His power and righteous retribution, but a wholesome dread of displeasing Him”
This is the type of positive, productive fear Luke describes in the early New Testament Church:
“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied” Acts 9:31
One resource includes this helpful summary: “The fear of God is an attitude of respect, a response of reverence and wonder. It is the only appropriate response to our Creator and Redeemer”
Purpose of fear
- A healthy fear of God includes the fear of the consequences of disobedience.
- There may be times of temptation or trial when we may forget some of the better reasons for obeying God, and that is when we had better think of the consequences (Exodus 20:20).
Hebrews 10:26-31 tells us: “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
“Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The LORD will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
- Reverence of God helps us to take Him and His beneficial laws seriously.
- The reverential fear of the Lord is designed to help us grow to become more like God—to grow in love. And this growth removes any need to be terrified of God’s judgment.
- As the apostle John put it:
“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love” (1 John 4:17-18).
The same shade of meaning is applied to the word fear in Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’”
Though we are to voluntarily yield ourselves as bond servants or slaves to God, He is not an abusive, cruel slave driver who terrorizes and torments us, which is the point of this verse.
Some misunderstand and think that love casts out not only fear but law. However, John explains that God’s laws actually define God’s love:
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). This connection between God’s love and His 10 Commandments is also made clear in Paul’s writings and the Gospels (Romans 13:9-10; Matthew 22:37-40)
God wants His laws written on our hearts.
For example, even if we had no fear of being caught, we should choose to never steal from others—because we love them and God.
We must never lose our respect and appreciation for God, but we should grow beyond being motivated solely by fear and rather be motivated by God’s love—having a deep love and respect for God and His words.
Eternal benefits of the fear of the Lord
So, rather than a paralyzing terror, the positive fear of the Lord taught in the Bible is a key element in change.
- It helps us have a proper, humble perspective of ourselves in relation to our awesome God;
- it helps us in times of temptation when we need to remember the serious consequences of disobeying God; and
- it motivates us to become more like our loving Creator.
By doing these things, the fear of the Lord helps bring eternal benefits:
- “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; for surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:17-18).
- “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death” (Proverbs 14:27).
- “The fear of the LORD leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction; he will not be visited with evil” (Proverbs 19:23).
- Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.
- Psalm 103:17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children,
- Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.
- Psalm 112:1 Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who delights greatly in His commandments.
- Psalm 128:1 Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, Who walks in His ways.
- Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
In the Biblical sense, wisdom is the “ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding”
This is a theme that is recurring throughout the Bible.
We know that Knowledge, on the other hand, is defined as “having information through experience, reasoning or acquaintance.”
God wants us to have knowledge of Him and what he expects of us. But equally important is having wisdom.
Knowing facts about God and the Bible is not all there is to having wisdom.
Wisdom is also a gift from God.
James 1:5 states “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
Wisdom is what God will bless us with in order for us to glorify Him with the knowledge we have of Him.
- Knowledge is what is gathered over time through study of the Scriptures.
- It can be said that wisdom, in turn, reveals itself by acting upon that knowledge.
- In other words, knowledge manifesting itself in any given situation through wisdom. If one lacks knowledge, he will also lack wisdom. The two go hand in hand.
- We learn how to parent through a fear of God (knowledge) and APPLYING the knowledge of scripture wisdom. I thank God I didn’t have access to the internet. How can we raise godly children by listening to and heeding worldly advise? We are big on respect in our home. I LOVE God and am deeply in love with Him, but am never without the realization that He is God and I am not.
- the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God 1 Cor 3:19
The Wisdom teachings of the Bible follow from the two great themes of the Ten Commandments and the Greatest Commandments of Jesus : reverence to God, our Creator, and respect for all persons, everywhere.
Customs Are not Wisdom-
- Biblical-era life for the Jews and early Christians was harsh-
- Slavery was commonplace. Tyrannical rule by outside powers was the norm. Women’s status in society was distinctly second class. Children were disciplined with beatings.
- These conditions were often accepted in the Bible as customary for society during those times, but they were not taught as being virtuous or wise.
- True wisdom is always consistent with the two great wisdom themes of the Bible: reverence to God, our Creator, and respect for all persons, everywhere.
Wisdom Is More Than Following the Rules
- A set of commandments or rules can give us important examples of wisdom, but they are only examples. No set of rules can cover all situations
- Many times, as in this passage from Matthew, Jesus condemned the hypocrisy of those religious leaders who observed the law in its strict, literal sense, but violated its spirit:
- “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. (NAS, Matthew 23:23)
Wisdom means always acting according to the spirit of the Commandments and not looking for an ambiguity or omission which we can use to evade their true intent.
- Wisdom means understanding the consequences of our actions and words before we act or speak.
- Wisdom means having the knowledge and understanding to recognize the right course of action and having the will and courage to follow it.
Why Follow Wisdom’s Path?
- Following the ways of Wisdom helps bring us in harmony with God because these ways are in accordance with His will, as revealed in the Bible, and are pleasing to Him.
- The ways of Wisdom also bring us in harmony with other persons because respect for others is the very essence of the Commandments.
- The wisdom teachings of the Bible are much more than an arbitrarily dictated moral code; they form a prescription for living in peace with the people we interact with daily.
- Finally, acting with Wisdom brings us in harmony with ourselves, giving us a sense of self-worth and inner peace. This inner peace is achieved because we are acting in accordance with our consciences and avoiding the shame and guilt of following our baser instincts.
How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, and its gain than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast. (NAS, Proverbs 3:13-18)
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity). And the harvest of righteousness (of conformity to God’s will in thought and deed) is [the fruit of the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make peace [in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord, agreement, and harmony between individuals, with undisturbedness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts].
James 3:17-18 AMP