The Fear of the Lord Is the Beginning Of Wisdom

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1 SAMUEL 17:1-18:4 | JOHN 8:21-30 | PSALM 111:1-10 | PROVERBS 15:11

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“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 

These are David’s words to the giant Philistine called Goliath, a terror to the armies of Israel.  But what no army could do, a youngster with a sling and a stone accomplishes.  Such are the ways of the Almighty—we imagine our strengths to lie in our weaponry or even our intellect, but God has his own ways of doing things.  May it be that this story of David and Goliath is one that will always reiterate this truth to us.

After the slaying of Goliath, David gains even more favor in the court of King Saul, so much so, that Saul’s own son Jonathan becomes close friends with David, and Saul makes further inquiries about David’s family and arranges for David to stay in the palace permanently.  The winds of change are slowly beginning to blow, and even Saul begins to sense this.  Only, he also has a sense of foreboding which we shall soon see as to whether it proves true or not.

Turning now to our reading in the book of John, we find Jesus continuing to preach to the people.  The elders of the Temple continue to remain puzzled at Jesus’ words.  Jesus now says to them “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” 

Much as I feel for the intelligenstia of the day, I wonder about how it was just as easy and simple to believe in this man Jesus like many other ordinary folks did.  The text tells us that.  However, the learned scholars and elders in the community and the temple over-thought and over-analyzed Jesus’ words and did not allow themselves the simple act of belief.  They would know soon enough that this man’s words were indeed ones to be reckoned with.

Our psalm for the day is Psalm 111, and the very last verse is one that is worthy of memorization.  The word ‘fear’ is not to be understood in its conventional meaning; rather, it signifies a type of deep respect that stems from love, the kind akin to the fear we feel for our parents.  Such is the great love and respect that one need cultivate toward God, our heavenly father.  The psalmist says:

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, our one verse for the day from the book of Proverbs is as follows:

11 Death and Destruction lie open before the LORD—
how much more do human hearts!

The meaning of that, of course, is that when the Lord is able to see through all destruction and even death, i.e., the most complex and unknown of things, what is our human heart that he cannot understand? There is indeed nothing in our hearts that may be hidden before the Lord.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.