Presence Devotion #26
Proverbs 9:10 (NIV)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
I went to the very prestigious University of Melbourne after high school. Flying high on the coat tails of a high entrance score, I think I subconsciously believed that I was going to possess that special knowledge that separates those who know what life is about, and those who don’t. Not very fussed by my relationship with God, really, I would prioritise spending hours reading academic articles, listening to lectures and listening intently to my university friends who seemed to really know the answers to life itself (this was particularly amplified by my sociology major). Yet this distinct phenomenon occurred; the more I knew about the world, people, history, the musing of famous authors and philosophers; the more proud, cynical and unloving I became. It was a fruitless form of knowledge, but one the world today regards very highly. I can’t tell you the relief that came over my spirit, when I switched to my teaching degree! This is part of the problem resulting from the fall – we now have knowledge of both good AND evil. Every day we’re faced with a choice – from where will we acquire knowledge?
In Proverbs 8, ‘Wisdom’s call’, Lady Wisdom declares that ‘All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse…. I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance; evil behavior and perverse speech….For those who find me find life and receive favour from the Lord. But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.” These are incredibly powerful words’ showing true wisdom is essential if we want to walk uprightly and effectively in the kingdom of God. To go through life without wisdom, we essentially strip ourselves of all tools to help us, and we become prey to sin.
The Bible does not let us simply languish on our own in confusion and ignorance. It tells us exactly where to begin in the process of acquiring life giving wisdom. We must begin by fearing God; not in the sense of hiding from him, or avoiding him, but in terms of a great reverence. This idea matches perfectly with the advice ‘seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all else shall be added unto you’. Wisdom and all its benefits come from the acknowledgement of God’s authority in your life.
When King David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba, only to cover it by killing Uriah her husband, God sends him a message through the prophet Nathan reminding him of all the good he had done for him and saying ‘Why have you despised the word of the Lord?’. In God’s eyes, David’s sin was an act of hatred for him. How could God get to the point of saying this to someone who had previously loved and fought for God so fervently? The message throughout the Old Testament is so often the same. When the Israelites forgot about the amazing things God had done, they turned their minds to evil. When they stopped making God the priority of their praise they turned the wrong way. They were brandished with the title ‘a stiff-necked’ people when they were swamped by this terrible amnesia, unable to see or walk in the right direction. To truly love God, is to live righteously. Remembering his greatness and prioritising your time with him allows the reverence of him to develop. When you’re thankful for grace, you receive it; then you receive the wisdom you need in order to live a life fully unleashed in God’s will and blessing.
Lord, help me to keep my eyes on you, and keep me from developing a stiff neck because of those things that tempt my gaze. Help me to remember your good works, and help me hide your Word in my heart. Help me to see through the false wisdom the world can offer. I love you Lord, and ask your forgiveness for when I have sinned against you. Thank-you for your grace and your faithfulness.
Further Reading: Proverbs 8
- How can God’s wisdom increase your faith?
- What are some practical ways you can increase your reverence for God?
- What are you proud about knowing? Does it serve others?