God calls us out. He says, ‘Don’t be smug and satisfied with yourself. This complacency is the mark of the foolish, of the simple.’
“To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth — Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:2-7)
The awe – the fear – of God is the starting line for instruction in wisdom. Now that you have put your hand to the wheel, begun the race, started to build, don’t shrink back. Run the full race. Seek instruction, says God. Desire discretion. Hope and strive “to understand words of insight.”
Don’t be complacent, self-satisfied and proud of your spirituality.
“Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: ‘How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:20-22)
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
A professor once told me “to know is to care.” One experiences this truth in medicine. Without knowledge, the doctor fails the patient. The medical student must “listen to advice and accept instruction” in order to become “wise.” Knowledge is caring.Doctors plan to succeed one hundred percent of the time; “but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
“All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.” (Proverbs 21:2) My mother always says, “Ah, to see ourselves as others see us.” To see myself as the Lord sees me — now, that is of great value! To know His purposes for my life — now, that is of immense worth! “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)
“Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her maids, and she calls from the highest point in the city. ‘Let all who are simple come in here!’ she says to those who lack judgment. ‘Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.” (Proverbs 9:1-6)
Therefore, allow God to “weigh” your heart; rebuke your foolishness; then “commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3)
God asks, “Who among you fears the Lord, listening to the voice of His Servant? Who among you walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of Yahweh; let him lean on his God.” (Isaiah 50: 10)
And in His next breath God states, in singularly marked contrast, “Look, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with firebrands; walk in the light of your fire and in the firebrands you lit! This is what you’ll get from My hand: you will lie down in a place of torment.” (Isaiah 50: 11)
We who work diligently to generate our own light remain in darkness while those of us who turn to Jesus for His Light find ourselves in the Light of Life. Jesus says, “I Am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me never walks in darkness but has the Light of Life.” (John 8: 12)
The light we may produce in our own power is no match for Jesus’ Light. We may put our little firebrands atop a hill and think they shine out in power, but the light we produce is too small and keeps us and others “in a place of torment” and dark. We need to stop making little fires, and turn to the One who is Light.
The reason our light is not light at all is because “we all go astray like sheep; we all turn to our own way.” Our way is a path of darkness; our darkness led God to “punish [Jesus] for the iniquity of us all.”
And Jesus says, “The Lord God…awakens Me each morning; He awakens My ear to listen like those being instructed. The Lord God opens My ear; and I Am not rebellious; I do not turn back. I give My back to those who beat Me, and My cheeks to those who tear out My beard. I do not hide My face from scorn and spitting. The Lord God helps Me; therefore I Am not humiliated.” (Isaiah 50: 4 – 7)
Put down your firebrands; turn your ear to Jesus, the voice of God’s Servant. Let His Light shine in you. For He is not humiliated, and He overcomes the dark.
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God.” (Psalm 90: 2)
We are dust, coming from it and returning to it.
Time is relative to You, “for a thousand years in Your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.” (Psalm 90: 4)
We, however, live seventy to ninety years, and this span of time “is but toil and trouble.” (Psalm 90: 10)
“Who considers the power of Your anger, and Your wrath according to the fear of You?” (Psalm 90: 11)
We need hearts of wisdom. “The Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil.” (Proverbs 2: 6 – 12)
Therefore, number your days aright. Seek wisdom. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding.