The pursuit of a purposeful, fulfilling and a successful life involves making the right decisions along the way as we learnt in the past several weeks. The ability to make the right decisions require wisdom and knowledge. Today, we began the first of three sermons in the series of Biblical Wisdom. In the bible, there are three books that speak of wisdom: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job. In today’s sermon we touched upon the book of Proverbs and got the opportunity to know what the book teaches us. Solomon, the author of Proverbs, brings us to the purpose and theme of Proverbs in the first six verses of the book.
Purpose and Theme
1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs teaches us that wisdom is accessible to all who asks and believes. But before we get there, what is the first step that we must all take to experience the wisdom from God? Solomon provides sort of a thesis statement to his collection of proverbs on verse 7 as to what is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. It is having a heart that fears the Lord. Now, the “Fear of the Lord” is a strange phrase. A lot of people have speculated as to what it means. Some say it means “reverential awe.” Others say respect or admiration. And still some take it literally and address it as having actual, well, fear. To understand this phrase, and we must if we want wisdom, we looked at some key places in the Scripture where it is used.
Of the many verses, we grasped onto Proverbs 22:4.
4 Humility is the fear of the Lord;
its wages are riches and honor and life.
Proverbs 22:4 (NIV)
The fear of the Lord starts with a heart that humbles oneself. In the book of James, he reminds us of something we’ve already discussed — it is our attitude toward God that puts us in a position of receiving wisdom from God. That attitude, according to Proverbs, is one of humility — a fear of the Lord. According to James, it’s a position of belief and not doubt that God can and will give us wisdom generously if our attitude toward Him is correct. With humility comes surrendering ourselves and accepting that our capacity is limited. With this attitude, we are able to fall on our knees before God and seek for His wisdom and His knowledge.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
James 1:5-6 (NIV)
We learn that God is waiting and willing to give us wisdom generously if we simply just ask with the right heart. In the new 2019 year, we will come across many doors to which we can choose to either walk through, reject, or to peak through. In every instance of a diverging path, we pray that our decisions will be guided by the wisdom and knowledge from God in the book of Proverbs, which promises us prosperity and success. But first, we pray that we can all adopt a heart that carries an attitude of humility before God, which is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge – the fear of the Lord.
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