The Fear of God Is the Beginning of Wisdom
The Fear of God Is the Beginning of Wisdom
When you have wisdom, you shun and avoid sin, evil and wickedness in your daily life.
When I was in Bible college at Prairie Bible Institute, Three Hills, Alberta, Canada, we were told to memorize Proverbs eight. In that passage of Scripture, God calls the sons of men: black, white, Jew, Gentile, all nationalities to come to Him and understand “Wisdom.” In verses 11-16, it says this:
“For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. I, possess knowledge and discretion; wisdom dwell together with prudence. To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgement are mine; I have understanding and power. By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just: by me princes govern and all nobles who rule on earth.”
These things stand out clearly here:
• Wisdom is to depart from evil: “I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”
• Wisdom is greater than rubies which is money
• Wisdom is knowledge, discernment, power, sound judgement, understanding and discretion.
• Wisdom is to listen to God’s word.
I did not fully understand why we were told to memorize this passage. As I grew older and matured in my Christian faith, I realized how crucial and relevant in life wisdom is; I realized why my professor told us to memorize this passage.
I have fully realized in life, if you don’t possess wisdom, you will never rise to your dreams; even when you do, you tumble and get destroyed by lack of wisdom which is foolishness. You see nations and kingdoms have fallen because princes and rulers made foolish and unjust decisions; had no discretion, were arrogant and lacked understanding; did not have the fear of God and kept their empires on disregarding the word of God-in wicked actions and sin. Then the empire dissolved and faded off. Kingdoms will continue to fall because of human disobedience and arrogance to God's laws, until God comes to set His everlasting kingdom.
You see men in history and everyday who have reached the pinnacle of fame and riches, labored very hard, only to crash and destroyed because of lack of wisdom. Look at these men:
Macbeth, written by Shakespeare was a great noble man, a cousin of king Duncan of Scotland. The king visits him and Macbeth and his wife plotted and killed him and usurped the throne. King Duncan is killed. After the murder, Macbeth’s life was radically changed and was never the same again.
“Macbeth has murdered sleep.”
He never slept soundly again, until his tragic death and the wife. From that day on after the murder the king, Macbeth went through great crises. His wife was greatly troubled. At the end of his life, Macbeth said this:
"Life's but a walking shadow
A poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is gone and heard no more
It is a tale told by an idiot
Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"
Another man was Saul, the first king of Israel. He was from a humble origin, and the Lord exalted him to the greatest office of the land. But he will not listen to God; he was extremely disobedient, arrogant and had no discretion or discernment. The kingship of Israel was taken away from him and given to someone better than him. At the end of his life, he said this:
“I have played the fool.”
In our personal lives too, we have made decisions that caused us enormous pain in life, and we look back and we realized it was our foolishness, lack of wisdom, discretion, or lack of sound judgement, or disobedient to God’s will. Wisdom is the core of our successful existence if we want to survive and reach our goals or visions in life. But many a time, we ignore that which is paramount for us to succeed in life –wisdom and go after self exaltation, money and arrogance. Eventually, we tumble and fail to achieve our destinies and goals.
1 What is Wisdom?
The Scripture says the fear of God is the the beginning of wisdom, and wisdom is to depart from evil. That means we must avoid evil, or anything that lures us to do evil or wickedness. Stay completely away from sin as a child of God. It could be anything: lies, cheating, killing, envy, stealing, adultery, fornication, child abusers, unforgiving spirit, etc. You will never have peace committing these sins. The Scripture says:
“There is no peace for the wicked: They are like the troubled sea which cast out mire and dirt. There is no peace saith the Lord to the wicked.” Isaiah 57:20&21
When you live in sin, you can’t be able to sleep: and you will always live in fear and restlessness. If you do not know the Lord as Savior and you say: I don’t know how I can stop these sins, I will tell you how God forgave my sins and gave me power over them. The struggle over sin is deep, real and furious.
2 God’s deep love for the sinner is incomprehensible and deep:
The only reason Jesus came to earth was to deliver humanity from sin. God knew humans can’t win over the struggle of sin. Sin is inherent in humans. We are born in sin. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal sold under sin. For that which I do, I allow not, For what I would, do I not; but what I hate. For the good that I would, I do not, but the evil which I would not, I do. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man. But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Paul continues:
O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from the body of this death. I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind, I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin.” Romans 7:19-25
Here was one of the most learned and brilliant men in his time, whose vision set the Christian faith on the path to deliver the Gentiles from sin, but was extremely violent and destructive before his conversion, struggling over sin. The struggle to overcome sin is a fierce battle. We call it "addiction" in our society. You can’t win that by yourself. Paul surrendered to God through the power of the Holy Spirit and got freedom over sin.
How does God do it?
• Believe you are a sinner. Some don’t. They say I don’t lie, or cheat, or commit adultery or kill. The Scripture says: “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” “There is none righteous. By the deeds of the law shall no man be justified before God." We are not saved by our righteousness, but by grace of what Jesus did for us on the cross. We are all tainted with sin through the fall of Adam. That was why God sent His son to bear our sins and give us a new nature that overcomes sin.
• Tell Him you are sorry for what you have done.
• Confess your sin. There is something powerful in confession of sin. You see many people in life carrying the heavy burden of sin
they have committed. It can destroy you and send you to mental anguish all your life.
• Believe what Jesus did for you on the cross: that on that cross, He took your sins away and gave you a new nature-
righteousness that comes from faith through the grace of God: not of works less any man should boast.
Romans 10 9&10
“That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord; and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved.”
• When you genuinely confess and believe what Jesus did for you on the cross, your sins are immediately forgiven, and you will experience peace and relief from the burden of sin.
• The Holy Spirit who is Third person of the Trinity will come into your life to enable you to overcome sin. The struggle for sin stops and the Holy Spirit fights the battle for you as long as you listen to Him.
“As many as receive him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name. John 1:12
• Then you are baptized: a sign of identification with God.
3 How do I possess wisdom?
Remember, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and wisdom is to depart from evil. Now that you are saved and delivered from the grip of sin through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit directs and empowers you to avoid sin, or any kind of evil in your life. The Holy Spirit creates in you a distaste and hatred for evil, something that you enjoyed before, or had no power over.
In that way, as you listen to God’s word and obey it; listen to the Holy Spirit’s direction who is God living in the believer, you will begin to grow in wisdom: and with sound judgement; you will have discernment and discretion to understand events and people around you . You will understand which way is best for you or not for you to go in your pursuit of life’s goals and visions. Your desire will be to glorify God in your life in every thing you do, not to glorify yourself anymore in arrogance. You will develop through the Holy Spirit discernment of spirit, discretion, humility, and deep insight to sound judgement and guidance."
The Scripture say:
“The path of the righteous are directed by the Lord; and as many as are led by the Spirit of God are God’s children."
This is only when you are not living in sin can you be directed by the Holy Spirit.
4 How desperately we need wisdom today:
You will never have wisdom if you are living in sin: what you will have is fear, confusion, restlessness, sleeplessness, etc. How desperately we need wisdom today. Lack of wisdom by our leaders, princes and rulers has caused turmoil, chaos and turbulence around the world. Leaders who lack the fear of God; leaders who know the truth, but have chosen disobedience to God's laws: lack of sound judgement, discretion, arrogance against the knowledge of God, self will, lies and corruption. That is why the world is in chaos. All of us: ordinary people, or our rulers must seek God’s wisdom.
But God is a forgiving God who gives us second chances to repent and seek wisdom, not rubies or money: but wisdom that will guide us to use your rubies, intellectual, or whatever knowledge, fame, or riches for His glory, not for our arrogance; and make our world a better place; not a war zone.
Chapter 8 of Proverbs concludes:
“Now then my sons listen to me. Blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my door way. For whoever finds me finds life, and receives favor from the Lord. But whoever fails to find me harms himself, and all who hate me love death.” Pro. 8:32-36
Rev. Uche Ikpa.
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