REVERENTIAL AND WORSHIPFUL FEAR
Date: April 17
Category: Wisdom and Understanding
"But to man He said, Behold, the reverential and worshipful fear of the Lord – that is Wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."
The wisdom literature in the Bible is man's reflections on the Word of God. The major focus of them is the pursuit of intellectual knowledge and practical application of that knowledge, which will eventually employ understanding. The book of Job is part of the wisdom literature in the Bible, and this verse is such a significant verse in the book.
As you study the book of Job, you can see that the people of that time were trying to find wisdom. In verse 12 Job asks, "But where shall Wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?" People were looking everywhere to find wisdom. Then in verse 17 it says, "Gold and glass cannot equal [Wisdom], nor can it be exchanged for jewels or vessels of fine gold." They knew that wisdom was a very precious possession. Actually, in verse 18b it says, "For the possession of Wisdom is even above rubies or pearls." So wisdom is more important than economic prosperity.
Then in verse 20 Job asks the same question, "From where then does Wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding?" So Job keeps asking the same question but he holds back the answer. Then he acknowledges that "God understands the way [to Wisdom] and He knows the place of it [Wisdom is with God alone]." (verse 23)
So if wisdom is not found in gold or silver or in any form of economic prosperity, then where is it? Well it says here that God knows where wisdom is. So how can we, as humans, find wisdom? Well in verse 28 God says, "Behold, the reverential and worshipful fear of the Lord – that is Wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."
So if you want wisdom, then you need to fear the Lord. But what kind of fear is this verse talking about? Is it talking about a fear that freezes and incapacitates you? No, the fear that this verse is talking about is the reverential and worshipful fear of God. Because of that fear of God, you will choose not to do certain things that God's Word says is wrong. Because of that fear of God, you will choose to do certain things that God wants you to do. So that reverential and worshipful fear of God will lead you to obedience. There, you will find wisdom.
But what does it mean to have understanding? The second part of verse 28 says, "to depart from evil is understanding." You are a person of understanding when you depart from evil. When you depart from stealing, cheating, lying, murdering, etc, then you will gain understanding. Anything that is evil is anything that is contradictory to the Ten Commandments. If you depart from evil, you are showing that you have understanding.
Having wisdom really depends on how we live our lives. We need to have a life that is pleasing to God. The bracelet "W.W.J.D?" (What Would Jesus Do?) is a good reminder for us to live righteously. Whenever you are faced with a decision and you don't know what to do, you could always ask yourself, "If Jesus were in my place right here and right now, what would He do? What would He say?" Before any decision, ask yourself that question and you will know how to live a life that's pleasing to God.
That's why reading His Word is so important as well. The more familiarized you become with God's Word, the more you can serve and obey Him. So think about the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and all of the Scriptures. Then base your life around obedience to those instructions. The more of the Bible you know, the more you will be able to please God. In marriage, the more you know about your spouse, the more you will be able to please your spouse. It's the same thing with God. So make an effort to know God more.
Today, ask yourself, "Am I seeking wisdom or am I seeking silver and gold?" Some people don't think about wisdom; they just seek after economic prosperity. But they usually fumble in their tracks because wisdom should always be the first thing we seek after. Wisdom will bring you the other things – silver, gold, and economic prosperity.
God has the wisdom, so we have to sit at His doorstep in order to get it from Him. Meaning, we have to reverently fear the Lord. We have to love and respect God's Word and then act in obedience to it. Proof of our love for God is shown through our actions of obedience. When we obey God and live a life that is pleasing to Him, then that is true wisdom. When we depart from evil, then that is true understanding.