Thursday, October 4, 2007

The beginning of wisdom

The beginning of wisdom
By Tom Holladay

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10, NIV)

Because Proverbs is all about wisdom, many consider Proverbs 9:10 to be the most important verse in the book.

It's hard to disagree. This verse tells me where the starting line is - to even begin to have wisdom I have to have something called "the fear of the Lord."

That phrase is difficult for many of us to understand. These words come with a lot of emotional baggage attached. The first picture most of us see is not at all what the verse is talking about. For most of us, the "fear of God" conjures up images of anger and punishment, of a God who is both distant and threatening.

What do these words really mean? If I had to sum up this phrase in one word, the word would be "AWE.”

The best way I know to picture this is our attitude towards electrical power. I love what electricity does and the benefits that it brings, but would be very careful about sticking my finger into a light socket. I have a healthy respect for electrical power.

Take that attitude, add in the fact that God is ALL powerful and multiply it by the truth that he PERSONALLY cares for us each moment of each day, and you begin to approach what this phrase "the fear of the Lord" really means.

The more respect I develop for God's power and God's person, the more I open the door to wisdom in my life.

So where do you start? It's hard to just tell yourself "I have to feel awe today.” One of the best ways I know to invite an attitude of awe into your life is to focus on what God has created. When I give him full credit for what he has made it gives me a fuller appreciation for how great he really is.

Give it a try. Tell him, "thanks - really thanks," for a part of his creation right now!

Point to ponder: Wisdom comes from having a healthy respect toward God.

Verse: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10, NIV)

What will you do about it: You can’t just conjure up awe, but you can begin to cultivate it by putting your mind on God’s creative power. Look at the clouds overhead and the grass underfoot. Smell the rain. Eat a peach. Be amazed at God’s inventiveness – and praise him for it!

Prayer: Ask God for wisdom. Tell him you want to be more in awe of him. Start your prayer by thanking him for something he created.

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