The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom

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EZEKIEL 27:1-28:26 | HEBREWS 11:17-31 | PSALM 111:1-10 | PROVERBS 27:15-16

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Ezekiel’s prophecy to the ancient city of Tyre is a long and significant one.  Tyre, which is modern Syria, receives these words from the Lord via Ezekiel:

“‘In the pride of your heart
   you say, “I am a god;
I sit on the throne of a god
   in the heart of the seas.”
But you are a mere mortal and not a god,
   though you think you are as wise as a god.

Tyre, known for her great wealth and commercial prowess was lacking in one essential quality, viz. humility, and this is what the Lord has to say about her:

“‘Because you think you are wise,
   as wise as a god,
7 I am going to bring foreigners against you,
   the most ruthless of nations;
they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom
   and pierce your shining splendor.
8 They will bring you down to the pit,
   and you will die a violent death
   in the heart of the seas.
9 Will you then say, “I am a god,”
   in the presence of those who kill you?
You will be but a mortal, not a god,
   in the hands of those who slay you.
10 You will die the death of the uncircumcised
   at the hands of foreigners.

Tyre is only one of several nations neighboring the kingdoms of Israel and Judah that the Lord is taking to task.  The complete list of other nations may be found in yesterday’s reading.  It seems as if God is not only allowing the devastation to occur upon the Hebrew children in the days to come at the hands of the Babylonian kings, but is also taking care of other matters in order to prepare the way for the restoration of the nation of Israel in the future. 

Ezekiel says: 25 “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will be proved holy through them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. 26 They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their neighbors who maligned them. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God.’”

Turning now to our reading of the book of Hebrews, we find the writer engaged in a persuasive account of the great men and women of the ages who serve as examples for having illustrated great faith.

Staring with Abraham, and going down the line to many other Jewish leaders such as Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses, the list ends with a prostitute woman named Rahab, who by faith believed in the mission of Caleb and his men when they entered the land of Canaan. 

Faith is an essential requirement to belief in God, and the writer uses these many people as illustrations of persons who exhibited faith in various ways.

Gentle reader, do you also possess this faith?

We turn now to our reading of the Psalms, and find David, the Psalmist, extolling the virtues of the Lord God Almighty.  It would be good for us to echo these very words of praise and thanksgiving because the mercies of the Lord are timeless and everlasting.  David says:

2 Great are the works of the LORD;
   they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
   and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
   the LORD is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
   he remembers his covenant forever.

 6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
   giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
   all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
   enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
   he ordained his covenant forever—
   holy and awesome is his name.

And as for the highly sought-after quality of wisdom, David explains how and where to obtain it from:

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
   all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
   To him belongs eternal praise.

Finally, a couple of verses that every woman would wish not be read with her in mind!  Solomon, wise king of Israel, says:

15 A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping
   of a leaky roof in a rainstorm;
16 restraining her is like restraining the wind
   or grasping oil with the hand.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.  Amen.

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