Key Verse: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
—Proverbs 1:7, New King James Version
OUR KEY VERSE IDENTIFIES fear as the essential first step in our quest to know God. This, however, is not fear expressed as dread or horror, as some imagine. The “fear of the Lord” encouraged by Solomon is better defined as reverential fear or awe for our Creator. This godly fear opens our ears to hear God’s instructions. What he has to say to us matters greatly. Often parents ask their children—Do you hear me?—after offering correction regarding an unwise path. The child heard, of course, for they were just a few feet away. However, did they really hear in the sense of listening and understanding? In other words, was the correction taken to heart?
The Apostle James, in his epistle, addresses the issue of hearing. “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, … be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”—James 1:19-25, NKJV
Jesus called to our attention one of the great blessings given us. “He said to them, He who has ears to hear, let him hear! But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that Seeing they may see and not perceive, And hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, And their sins be forgiven them.” (Mark 4:9-12, NKJV) Blessed are our ears, that they can both hear and understand God’s wisdom.
In this global pandemic, our present crisis, the speed with which ordinary life unraveled has been shocking. The embellishments of modern life such as restaurants, sports, movies, so long taken-for-granted, have suffered greatly—perhaps permanently. Society has been shaken to the core. People of faith, no longer allowed to congregate physically, have turned to modern technology to meet and worship “virtually.” We who believe the Scriptures have a firm foundation in these trying times. We hear the wise counsel of God.
“See that you do not refuse Him who speaks”—that is, hear him! “For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven. Now this, Yet once more, indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”—Heb. 12:25-28, NKJV
Hearing and heeding the wisdom of God, as expressed in the Scriptures, we have come to understand his plans. We have gained a deeper grasp of his divine character, further strengthening our faith. May our faith in his kingdom remain unshakable as we hear God’s wisdom.