Pastor Bill Farrow
“Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” - Proverbs 2:5.
It seems as though one of Solomon’s primary concerns, as he writes for us, is that we, in seeing the different issues that we face and deal with during life, are able to be clearly seen and that we can effectively deal with and sort out the issues we face as believers and effective servants of God. He repeatedly tells us that a couple of the foundational things to doing is that we “understand” them and that in dealing with them we find the “knowledge of God” as a result.
It is clear that the Bible ties both understanding and wisdom together. “Wisdom” is the more poetic form of the idea and also the more athletic or active of the two as well. Understanding points to the mental embracing of whatever it is in view. Wisdom speaks of the more applicational view of that same idea or issue. Job 28:28 is one of the more famous of the ideas concerning the both of them and speaks clearly of what we are talking about:
28 And to man He said,
‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
And to depart from evil is understanding.’ ”
It is the “fear of the Lord” that makes the issues at hand clear and perceptible; BUT it is the putting of those truths into action, “departing from evil” that demonstrates true understanding of those same truths. Solomon says virtually the same thing in Proverbs 15:33:
33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom,
And before honor is humility.
Once again we see the fact that understanding brings action that is based on the wisdom coming from whatever truth is in view. This is the first result of heeding wisdom that enables one to understand the fear of the Lord (v. 5). It is interesting that this knowledge is very clearly possible only because the Lord gives it to the upright (vv. 6, 7). Thus, while wisdom is to be sought diligently and cultivated in practice, it is not something merited by the actions of an individual. (On wisdom’s foundation in God’s gracious covenant, think through the proverbs ideas of Purpose, Occasion, and Background, all of which lend meaning to just WHY it is we ought to persevere the idea of understanding which, in turn leads to wisdom) Verse 8, btw, states that the purpose of the gifts of understanding and wisdom are to protect the paths of the saints.
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