A small boy sat with his mother in church, listening to a sermon entitled, “What is a Christian?” The minister punctuated his talk at several key intervals by asking, “What is a Christian?” Each time he pounded his fist on the pulpit for emphasis. At one point, the lad whispered to his mother, “Momma, do you know? Do you know what a Christian is?” “Yes dear,” the mother replied, “now try to sit still and listen.” As the minister was wrapping up the sermon, once again he thundered, “What is a Christian?” and pounded especially hard on the pulpit. At that, the boy jumped up and cried, “Tell him, Momma, tell him!”
Knowledge. Facts, information, and skills acquired through one’s experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. We all have knowledge of something. Right now, I have a very real knowledge that Hurricane Dorian is spinning its way as a Cat 5 storm towards the coast of Florida – and I live in Florida. I know everything about the storm that the meteorologists have said and explained on television. But I don’t have the knowledge and wisdom they have. They can take all their knowledge and expertise on weather patterns, air streams, depth of the ocean, water temperatures in the ocean, and apply it Dorian and make a prediction of what they anticipate the storm will do and what path it will take. But they don’t have the knowledge and wisdom that God has. In Psalm 148:8, the Bible tells us that storms “do His bidding.” It was God that sent the flood in Noah’s day. It was God that sent the hailstorm to Egypt as one of the 10 plagues in Moses’ day. It was God that stirred up a great sea storm that resulted in Jonah being swallowed by a great fish. (Click to tweet) And when the disciples were in a boat a storm came up on the Sea of Galilee – a storm so feirce that the seasoned fishermen thought they were going to die. They woke up Jesus who simply spoke and with just three words, “Peace, be still,” the wind and waves obeyed Him (click to tweet) . God knows exactly what is happening with Dorian. The weathermen, can only make and educated and well-informed guess. For Hurricane Dorian, one might could say that the fear of Dorian is the beginning of knowledge about Dorian.
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise
wisdom and discipline.” When we have fear of the Lord, it is not a shake-in-your-boots kind of fear where you crouch down just hoping God doesn’t zap you with a lightening bolt. While certainly, because of our choices and sin or refusal to accept Christ as Savior, there are times that we should be afraid, this is not the kind of fear that is meant in this verse. The fear of the Lord involves awe, reverence, love and trust in Him. If those are the feelings and emotions we have towards God, then it leads us to want to be near Him. To know Him on a very personal level. (Click to tweet) The more we know and understand just who God is, the more humble we feel that such a holy and righteous God would ever love someone like me. As a result, I want to obey Him and do what brings Him joy. As I live in the fear of the Lord and have an ever-growing knowledge of Him, humbly submit to Him in obedience, then He sends His blessings. The fear of the Lord will always be accompanied by knowledge, humility, obedience and blessing. (Click to tweet)
This is why Solomon wrote that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fear of the Lord has to come first – before wisdom. You can’t have wisdom without fear of the Lord. It is the prerequisite. It is the foundation of all true wisdom. (Click to tweet) If all other knowledge, education, and learning is not built off of this foundation, it is worthless. Why? Because wisdom is seeing life from God’s perspective and responding as God directs. In Proverbs 16:16, Solomon advises, “Get wisdom — how much better it is than gold! And get understanding — It is preferable to silver.” We should be seeking wisdom more than we seek anything else other than seeking Christ’s forgiveness for our sins.
I have grown up in Florida all my life and for every hurricane that comes through there are always those who refuse to evacuate and are determined to stay home with their homes and possessions. Almost every time, when the hurricane passes, the news tells of those who had to be rescued from their homes or even those who died because they were just too stubborn to leave. Even with Dorian, we’ve heard of people who refused to leave the Bahama Islands as the Cat 5 storm has blown over it for more than a day. The expectation is that there will be very little left standing when the dangerous storm has gone. How many lives have been lost because they just wouldn’t leave? Most of us would agree this is not the decision of a wise person. At the end of Proverbs 1:7, Solomon wrote, “But fools despise wisdom and instruction.” When we become self-sufficient, unheeding of the wisdom of others, detesting any advice or correction, we are a fool. And usually we end up paying for being the fool (click to tweet) – sometimes with our lives.
You may not have to face Cat 5 hurricanes where you live, but it might be tornadoes or earthquakes or volcanoes. Maybe for you being wise or a fool has to do with how you choose to spend your money or how you treat your spouse or how you prioritize your time. Maybe being wise or a fool has to do with a decision you have to make. Whatever it is that will give you the title of “wise” or “fool,” remember that the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord. Start there – living in awe, reverence, love and trust in God. Then you will find the wisdom and knowledge that leads to humble obedience and blessings and then you will be wise indeed.
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars: This book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel
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Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants.
Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities.