The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Knowledge

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GENESIS 3:1-4:26 | MATTHEW 2:13-3:6 | PSALM 2:1-2:12 | PROVERBS 1:7-1:9

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The creation story gives way to the story of Adam and Eve, their disobedience to God, and finally, their expulsion from Eden.  The record tells us that they go on to bear children, and then there is the story of the first two brothers, Cain and Abel.  Cain’s famous question of Am I my brother’s keeper?” is clearly answered by God’s wrath that essentially defines the nature of mankind.

Turning next to our reading in the Gospel of Matthew, we find that the second chapter recounts Mary and Joseph’s flight into Egypt, owing to the terror caused by Herod’s decree to have all the male children in the land killed for Herod’s fear that a new king had been born and might usurp his throne.

The return to Israel in the small town of Nazareth some years later causes Jesus to be known for posterity as Jesus of Nazareth.  Matthew continues his account by introducing John the Baptist, Jesus’ forerunner.  This was a wild man in the wilderness who went about preaching of “one who is to come.”  I wonder how the act of baptism was originated — it is no more an act practiced by the Jews in modern times.

Our Psalm for the day is one in which David, the Psalmist makes this proclamation:

7 I will proclaim the LORD’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son;
   today I have become your father.
8 Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance,
   the ends of the earth your possession.

Today’s verses from the Book of Proverbs are well-known ones that are worthy of repeating.  Solomon, the wise king of Israel, says:

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
   but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
   and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

9 They are a garland to grace your head
   and a chain to adorn your neck.

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

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