Read Proverbs 8
The Proverbs are fond of dichotomy.
· This or that.
· One or the other.
· Choose between two paths.
We will recognize these dichotomies.
· Wisdom or wickedness
· Wisdom or idleness
· Wisdom or waywardness
We also see other dichotomies.
· Invitation or ambush
· Truth or deception
· Eternal or destruction
· Compared with Christ or compared with evil
But here is the ultimate dichotomy with regard to wisdom in the Proverbs. It is only available to those who first fear the Lord. The fear, reverence, and awe of the Lord is essential to wisdom.
It is not for sale.
It is not available through the extreme and intense efforts of man apart from God.
Wisdom will confound you without the fear of the Lord.
Now we understand that there is a wonderful relationship beyond fear. We know that perfect love casts out fear. We know that fear has to do with punishment and once we have responded to God’s grace, punishment is no longer a player in our lives.
We may be persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, and killed in these bodies and in this world, but the punishment of God is off the table for us.
But we could not get to where we are now without first having seen God in holy awe. We could have not known the grace of a loving God without having first been given eyes to see a holy and just and righteous God. We could not fathom the unfathomable love of God without first having known the fear of God.
But this fear is not debilitating. It is empowering. For once we revere holy God above all men and everything in God’s creation; we are free to receive his wisdom. We are no longer blind to the wise ways he calls us to live.
We recognize that wisdom was present at the creation of the world. Wisdom was not created in the beginning. Wisdom was present and particularly in the beginning.
New Testament authors cite Jesus as our wisdom. We are wise to embrace this comparison.
Wisdom calls out to all. Wisdom appeals to the naïve and the foolish to respond. Embracing wisdom will be better than gold or silver, it will be better than the food that is on your table now. Wisdom will provide more profit and wealth than the course of folly. Wisdom engages those who are simple or foolish, but will not have a conversation with the scoffer. There is no profit in bringing wisdom to the one who lashes out against it.
Wisdom says, “Find me and find life.”
The 8th and 9th chapters wrap up this wisdom prelude to the Proverbs. The Proverbs still contain plenty of wisdom, but most of it will come in shorter, sometimes witty sayings or pairings of sayings. As we grow closer to that study, consider that in this 8th chapter, 35 verses spoke to the virtue of wisdom. Only 1 was a warning to ignoring wisdom.
And so too is our journey with the fear of the Lord. That is our starting point. That is what opens our eyes to his wisdom. This is what gives us a teachable spirit, but the rest of the journey is about understanding and embracing wisdom, prudence, good living, righteousness, true wealth, good relationships, and love. It is a journey that can’t begin without the fear of the Lord but which is not governed by fear, but love.
We need to understand that the fear of the Lord liberates us from fearing Satan, evil, destruction, pain, suffering, disease, disaster, and all manner of things that keep people from real life.
If I fear only the Lord, I need fear no one and nothing else.
And at that point, I am truly a vessel ready to be filled with God’s wisdom.
So let us begin with the fear of the Lord, and then cry out to him with awe and reverence: Fill ‘er up!