“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom—and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.”
It’s more than the correct application of knowledge; it’s knowing Him—Who He is and the things He desires.
“Wisdom and understanding.”
Most of the time, when we hear these words we envision someone well on up in years, with snow-white hair, genteel ways and soft-spoken. They’re often quite stoical in the approach—not getting too excitable or easily flustered when things go wrong. And, their sage grasp of things is amazing as they’re able to quickly size up a situation and boil it down to its essence.
Yet, today’s Manna is not necessarily referring to someone who’s lived a long time and has learned much from life’s experiences; neither is it pointing us to those who are well-versed in history, philosophy, psychology, sociology, etc., for, again, such knowledge does not necessarily instill within one “the fear of the Lord” and “the knowledge of the Holy.”
In fact, Festus’ mocking accusation of Paul—“much learning does make you mad” (Acts 26:24)—is often a more appropriate assessment of those with much book knowledge, but little or no God-knowledge.
True wisdom—yea, “Heavenly wisdom” (James 3:13-18)—is rooted in “the fear (Heb. ‘yir ‘ah’—‘reverent respect, in awe of, etc.’) the Lord.” This is not trembling trepidation wherein one is afraid the Lord is going to zap him if he makes one more mistake (although such fear is often needed to bring some folks to their knees). But, it is a realization of how great God is and how sinful we are, coupled with brokenhearted contrition and surrender (Is. 6:1-8; Ps. 51).
When was the last time you went outside and just gawked at the stars, Pilgrim? Or, when was the last time you sat quietly and listened to the rumbling thunder. . .watched the swirling winds overhead and the jagged lightning streaking across the sky. . .and felt impressed to start quietly singing “How Great Thou Art”?
Or, how long has it been since you knelt down and watched a lowly ant carrying a load twice his size in its jaws and whispered, “Only God could create something like that”? Or, how long since you stopped to smell a rose’s sweet fragrance, feeling its velvety-soft petals with your fingers and stood in awe of a God so great and yet so close?
Yes, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.” And, it’s the daily cultivation of these through “hungering and thirsting after Him” (Mt. 5:6) that helps us better discern where God’s at work and what He wants.
If you’re going through a perplexing time right now, dear Pilgrim, get alone with the Lord Jesus for a time of “private pondering” (Ps. 73:17) and “be still and know that He is God” (Ps. 46:10). In so doing you’ll gain a new perspective on things, others and yourself and realize anew that He alone is all that you need and your soul’s, sole, sincere Desire (Ps. 37:4; 73:25).
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated October 29, 2010