May 20, 2016
Proverbs 9:10; 16:16
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Solomon – according to a statement made by God Himself – was the wisest man who ever lived! The statement? In I Kings 3:12 He said to the new king of Israel, “I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.” It is recorded in I Kings 4:32 that “…he spoke three thousand proverbs…,” many of which are recorded in the book of Proverbs. So if the wisest man in the history of humankind speaks, we ought to sit up and take notice!
One of the most important things Solomon taught is Proverbs 9:10: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” This Scripture deals with both wisdom and knowledge. Knowledge is knowing facts. Wisdom is properly applying those fact to the living out of our life! Let’s take these two concepts in reverse order of how our featured Scripture presents them:
• “…the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” You cannot live wisely without knowing the facts of life! By the facts of life, I do not mean what some call knowing about “the birds and the bees”! In Proverbs 9:10 it is the facts about the Holy One that is important! And most people – including far too many who identify themselves as Christians – are ignorant concerning the facts of the Holy One! How do we know such facts? How do we learn such knowledge? God has revealed them in His Word, the Bible! We can only have understanding if we get into the Word of God regularly – reading, studying, meditating upon what He authored!
You can’t do it by yourself! It is written in II Peter 1:21 (God’s Word to the Nations): “No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God’s direction.” If it was written by God through the Holy Spirit, then God through the Spirit would be the logical One to interpret to us the meaning of Scripture! And so it says in I John 2:27 (Bible in Basic English): “As for you, the Spirit which He gave you is still in you, and you have no need of any teacher; but…His Spirit gives you teaching about all things….” If you are a Christian – if you have received Jesus as your Savior – then you have the Holy Spirit within you! (See Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 6:19; II Corinthians 1:22; 5:5). You have the Teacher! But you must be an apt student! (See Psalm 1:2; Colossians 3:16; II Timothy 2:15).
But knowledge is not enough! You must know how to apply such knowledge to life! And this is wisdom!
• “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom….” Some say that the fear of the LORD is holy respect for or reverence of God. But I discussed the meaning of the Hebrew word fear in the blog Fear And Comfort, written on May 23, 2014. In it I write:
The first definition of the verb fear, according to Webster, is “to be afraid
of; dread.” I maintain that is exactly what it means to fear the Lord!
We should be cowering before this God who is so great and awesome
that He creates all out of nothing with just His word, and He then holds
it all together just by the power of His being! (see Genesis 1:3, Colossians
1:16 and Hebrews1:3). We should cringe in dread and be afraid of Him….
But in Acts 9:31 fear of the LORD is modified thus: “…the churches…were…walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit….” We need both! If we only have the fear of the Lord, we will be left cringing in a corner! If we only have the comfort of the Holy Spirit, we will have license to do anything we want, never being afraid of offending God! Actually, the proper Hebrew understanding of the fear of the LORD in Proverbs 9:10 incorporates both ideas given in Acts 9:31.
So you start with knowing the facts! Then, because you fear the Lord, and have the comfort of the Holy Spirit, God through His Spirit will teach you wisdom – how to apply what you know to what you do in your life!
How important is all this? Our second featured Scripture, Proverbs 16:16 tells us, “How much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver!” What does the godless world under the lordship of Satan seek? According to Revelation 18:12 and 13 (a list of 28 commodities the merchants of the world mourn when “…no one buys their merchandise anymore…” – Revelation 18:11) gold and silver top the list! But so precious in God’s eyes are knowledge and wisdom, that they are what is to be chosen first of all! Besides, if we have proper knowledge and wisdom, we will know how to handle gold and silver if we are so blessed!
This is True Riches!