Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Resolved 1 Again--Wisdom God's Way

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” Proverbs 1:7a NIV

So fearing God is the way to wisdom. Now that does not mean shaking-in-your-boots fear. Although we should have gigantic trepidation at the thought of encountering God’s wrath, righteous fear means love, respect, praise, worship, and devotion to the one and only God of Creation. Kenneth Boa has an excellent description of the biblical meaning of wisdom. “Wisdom is skill in the art of living life with each area under the dominion of God. It is the ability to use the best means at the best time to accomplish the best means.”

King David, a man with a heart for God, prayed for God to bless him with fear for Almighty God. Many of the chapters in Psalms are David’s prayers. They are full of worshipful adoration, petition for relief from bad situations, and pleading to be pleasing to God.

“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” Psalm 86:11 NIV

David is known as the man with a heart for God. I sometimes wonder what people say about me? Do they say I have a heart for God? God has a rebuke for anyone who negatively answers this question.

“How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?... Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them;” Proverbs 1:22, 29-32 NIV

In the New Testament, Jesus demonstrated how to seek God and how to live out God’s commands in the first four chapters. The apostles in much of the rest of the New Testament devote their writing to teaching us how to gain knowledge and live righteous lives. In the Book of James, the characteristics of wisdom are listed.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom… But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:13, 17 NIV

So having wisdom is more than having much knowledge. It is living life with God at the center. It is doing things his way—using God’s means, at God’s time, in God’s way.

Lord, through the power of the Holy Spirit, teach me to live life as you desire. Make me wise.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Resolved 1--Wise Up

None of us set out to be fools. We all want to be considered wise—with it—in the know. Since we do not want to be fools that must mean we want to be its opposite—wise. But what constitutes being wise? Is it having lots of information? Is it knowing how to do things? Is it being clever in our business dealings? Is it being able to control others? Is it being prosperous? Does one have to possess knowledge to be wise? God has a very clear definition for what constitutes knowledge and for the characteristics of the fool.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7 NIV

Most Bible translations say “fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Instruction makes better sense to me in this verse. No one likes discipline, but if we have the right attitude, learning is something to be pursued and enjoyed.

The parallelism used in this verse helps with the meaning. As is often done in Hebrew poetry, the first phrase is explained by making the same statement from the opposite position. Here it is comparing a wise person having knowledge and a fool.

The Bible repeatedly defines wisdom and foolishness. One example is when God is addressing Job during his most difficult trials.

And he said to man, 'The fear of the Lord — that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.'" Job 28:28 NIV

So it is very clear. To be wise we must fear the Lord, seek wisdom, and shun evil. It sounds so simple; however, living it out requires the power of the Holy Spirit working in us for we are so inherently selfish by nature. We naturally gravitate toward gratifying ourselves instead of wisely fearing God.

Lord, give me the wisdom and strength to seek wisdom and shun evil.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Each year I make resolutions for the new year. And each year I break at least one of my resolutions before January 1 is over. This year I broke the resolution to eat no sweets by mid-afternoon the first day.

My human will power is almost nonexistent at times. In the past I have thought of my inability to keep a New Year resolution as a weakness of will and maybe it is. But more than likely I cannot follow through with my good intentions because I have been trying to achieve in my human power and not achieve as the Holy Spirit directs when I rely totally on his infinite strength.

The one resolution that I thought was in the will of the Holy Spirit was to write a blog post every day. I even had a plan which I thought had been given me by the Holy Spirit. I had toyed with several ideas but kept coming back to writing something about the chapter in Proverbs I am reading during my quiet devotional time. God has been actively teaching me through this study of Proverbs. But the first-day post did not happen. When it did not happen, I started to doubt the plan and direction of the Holy Spirit. I prayed. I reflected. And I had to confess my sin of procrastination to God. Then I could change my “I thought” comments to “I know” convictions.

So as long as God directs, I will be posting daily from my nightly scripture readings. Currently I am reading and meditating in Proverbs. What a rich book in biblical principles it is! God instructs us to follow his commands and explains many of them in Proverbs.

“ My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,” Proverbs 3:1 NIV

Lord, as I study Proverbs and as I reflect what you teach me, may my words and actions perfectly reflect your will.