Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 30, 2013

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
The two aspects of fearing God can simply be expressed as the fear of how God can hurt me and the fear of how I can hurt God. You know that fear is a strong motivator for either the better or the worse.
The word used for "fear" in the original text would support that. It runs the gamut from being terrified by God's power to being respectful of it depending on its context. But it implies a clear understanding of  Who God is and the desire  to please Him or at least to avoid displeasing Him.
Because wisdom is intently practical I will avoid the temptation to dive into the depths of a very interesting word study and summarize it's truth in this statement "Wisdom is knowing what to fear and how that fear should be expressed in your life."
To state it even more concisely - FEAR UNDER DISCIPLINE = FAITH. So, faith is the proper expression of godly fear.
Implied in the  Hebrew words and the construction of the sentence are three ways to discipline your fear so that it is channeled into faith. I want to illustrate those by making the connection between these first seven verses of Proverbs 1 and Hebrews 11.
Fear Him As Creator
Fear Him As Controller
Fear His Character
In one of the best definitions of faith in Hebrews 1, there is a clear link between faith and creation.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible."  Hebrews 11:1-3
In describing the faith foundations for great men and women mentioned in this Hall of Faith, creation is mentioned as the bedrock of faith. If faith is "the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen", then you have have to believe in a God Who is able to create something out of nothing. And, in fact, that is precisely what they believed. They believed it because they had all the visual evidence of creation. A God Who could do that is a God you can put your hope in.
Here is how it works. Two people look up into a beautiful starlit night further illuminated by a radiant full moon. One person thinks, "Wow, whoever made all of this has to be very powerful and intelligent! I had better get to know whoever it is who did this!" The other person reasons, "If there is a supreme being who created this, he would be very powerful and I would have to be accountable to him. But I don't want to be accountable and I don't want to deal with consequences of my actions, so I choose to believe in a random beginning to the universe."
While both of these observers have a fear of such a powerful creative being, they each arrive at opposite conclusions. What is the difference?
The difference is that one disciplined his fear into humility while the other refused to be humble. Humility is a sign of wisdom because it obviously knows Who to fear!
Wisdom begins with a reverent fear of God for His Creative power and humbly disciplining that fear into faith.
That's what it means to "wise up".
Do you need to wise up?


May 29, 2013

"The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight;  for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young —let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:1-7
Solomon's name meant "peaceful" and it certainly denoted his life and his reign. He is quite a contrast from his father, David, the great Warrior King who led a troubled life and knew very little peace.
Could his successful and serene reign be attributed to his embrace of wisdom? I would think so!
Do you recognize the value of wisdom? In case you don't Solomon lists some for you. See how many of these might help you "Wise Up"?
1) "the wise use of instruction"
2) "for understanding words of insight"
3) "for receiving instruction in prudent behavior - doing right, just and fair"
4) "for giving prudence to the simple"
5) "for giving knowledge and discretion to the young"
6) "to add to learning"
7) "to get guidance"
8) "to understand the wisdom of the wise"
Wow! Good stuff!
Each one would be a great addition to your life. All of them are available with wisdom!

There are 31 Proverbs or one for every day of the month. A proverb a day could keep foolishness away!
Foolishness is your natural state.and wisdom begins the moment become aware of it and concerned about it!

Are you ready to "Wise Up"?