Text: Obadiah; Psalm 111
Psalm 111 is a beautiful chorus of praise for our God, especially from the perspective of how good He is to His people. It closes with these words: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!” A wonderful, two part truth is in view. Wisdom starts with the fear of the Lord. Fear, by the way, means “fear.” The moment when we grasp the reality that God is scary big, scary wise, scary powerful and scary just is the moment where our wisdom is first established. It is the start of our being rightly related to Him. The text says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” The beginning. That’s it. It does not say that the fear of the Lord is wisdom. Rather, it is just the beginning. It is the place where we stand just before we take the very first step on a journey that lasts a lifetime.
The verse continues to say that, “… all those who practice it have a good understanding.” It says that to actually have wisdom, we must live lives doing things in the ways of the Lord. If we want wisdom, we must “practice” it.
I am challenged here. If I think carefully about my day yesterday, I think there were some pretty long stretches where I was acting, thinking, and speaking as if I was all on my own – somehow not connected at all to God. As I contemplate this verse, those times – where I am not practicing the fear of the Lord – seem to me to be times of great vulnerability. They are the times where I will lack understanding. They are the times where foolishness will prevail. And they are times when I am not growing in wisdom, so the wisdom I may need later may not be mine when I get there. Something to ponder: What does it look like to “practice” the fear of the Lord? Hmmm.
in Him, Mike