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Wisdom in Conversation

Wisdom in Conversation

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him,

    and he will make your paths straight

(Proverbs 3:5-6)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

Wisdom is not less than being moral and good- it is more.  

Wisdom is knowing the way things really are and understanding what to do.

What does it mean that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom?

1. Your faith view is the perspective through which you see life. 

The book of proverbs is saying is that your faith view of reality is the FOUNDATION from which all other reasoning proceeds.  

The common belief in modern culture is that religion should be left out of policy.  This comes from the belief that the only reality are those things that can be proven scientifically.  But that statement can’t bre proven scientifically.  Here’s another:  every individual should decide what is right or wrong for his or herself.  That assumes there is no God or if there is a god he doesn’t hold you accountable.  

Everyone lives there life by faith of some sort- either faith that there is a God or faith that there is no God.  

These points are reflected in the American writer Sheldon Vanauken’s account of his mental wrestling before his conversion at Oxford. He found himself caught in a dilemma over the role of proof in faith, which many others have experienced.

There is a gap between the probable and the proved. How was I to cross it? If I were to stake my whole life on the risen Christ, I wanted proof. I wanted certainty. I wanted to see him eat a bit of fish. I wanted letters of fire across the sky. I got none of these … It was a question of whether I was to accept him—or reject him. My God! There was a gap behind me as well! Perhaps the leap to acceptance was a horrifying gamble—but what of the leap to rejection? There might be no certainty that Christ was God—but, by God, there was no certainty that he was not. This was not to be borne. I could not reject Jesus. There was only one thing to do once I had seen the gap behind me. I turned away from it, and flung myself over the gap towards Jesus. (Sheldon Vanauken)

There is indeed a leap of faith involved in Christianity—but it is not an irrational leap into the dark. The Christian experience is that of being caught safely by a loving and living God, whose arms await us as we leap. Martin Luther put this rather well:

 “Faith is a free surrender and a joyous wager on the unseen, untried and unknown goodness of God.”  Martin Luther

2. Your faith comes from a true experience with God

What does it mean to have fear of the Lord?  Duet 10:12 

Fear of the Lord is life rearranging as a result of the awe of the Lord.  

Why the word “fear”?  There is a joy that makes you feel proud. But this joy is so unmerited and unlocked for that it humbles you and takes away the melancholy burden of self importance.  It causes you to respect others above yourself.  

Psychologists tell us that if you follow your fears you will find the things that matter the most to you.  Your greatest fear is a sign for what your heart most desperately wants.  If you are living for your family, your career and money or for you reputation then there are some great fears lurking in those desires.  

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowing the Holy One is understanding.”

There is a difference between knowing about the taste of honey and tasting honey.  Last week I went fly fishing with Dave Gologlly.  I had a basic understanding of fly fishing- a knowledge of it –but last week he and I caught a lot of fish- and the experience of it was much different than the knowledge of it.  Dave said at one point, “The best way to learn to catch fish is to catch fish.”  Profound.  

KNOWING the Holy One is understanding.  

3. Wisdom is having the faith that leads to complete trust 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him,

    and he will make your paths straight

Abraham had complete trust when he sacrifice Isaac.  As believers, we have complete trust in what Christ did for us on the cross.  

Discussion Questions:

  1.  How does our faith help us to have a perspective on life?
  2.  Where does our faith come from?
  3.  Why is it important to experience God as opposed to simply know things about Him?
  4.  What does it mean to trust God?
  5.  In what ways do you need to trust God more? 

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