“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” (Proverbs 1:7)
“Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:28)“
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10)
Do you read, watch, or listen to the same news story multiple times in one day? This is one thing that retired people seem to do a lot, but for what purpose? Repetition about current events may make us more informed but doesn’t make us smarter. Financial brokers may profit from watching the stock market, but only politicians benefit from awareness of small changes in the news cycle. There are helpful uses of repetition, when learning math, science, or historical facts, studying a foreign language or learning lines for a drama skit, to name a few. In the Bible, repetition of a truth or precept reminds us of its importance, especially when the same doctrine shows up in various passages or contexts.
In our sampling today, we find “the fear of the Lord” that leads to wisdom mentioned at least four times in the Old Testament. In his commentary on Psalm 111, James Boice wrote, “True wisdom begins with acknowledging or reverently bowing before God as God, and it progresses by getting to know God well, which includes not only our coming to know who he is but also learning that his thoughts and ways are infinitely above and beyond ours.” It is not enough to know who God is, and what he has done, to be wise. We must have respect for the Lord built on personal trust. We must also embrace the truth that God’s ways are not ours; he is perfect and we are pathetic—he is holy and we are unholy. Therefore, in order to be truly wise, we must also regularly confess and repent of our casual approach to knowing God, to acquire wisdom, as if it is a simple thing to do. In the Bible’s wisdom literature, the “simple” person is a fool, which is what we are when we do not guard ourselves against the danger of a casual approach to God. “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 27:12)
In what ways are you casual with the Lord? How will you confess, to avoid being unwise, simple, and foolish?