My scripture post last week generated a fair amount of discussion that is still ongoing. What I found interesting about it was that no one quoted this particular verse from scripture:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
From this an argument can be made that wisdom and fear of the Lord are inseparable. I think it is a rather strong argument myself. The important point is to distinguish between true fear of the Lord and from the appearance of piety. They are not the same. They can be distinguished from one another by the actions that one takes- by one’s fruit, if you will. The latter is merely an adornment, such as clothes, and can be taken off at will. The former comes from the heart. For an example of the difference between the two:
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The tax collector feared the Lord; the Pharisee did not. The Pharisee was so focused on where he didn’t fail, that he was blinded to where he did. All have fallen short, and he forgot that.
While we are on the subject of fear of the Lord, here is an excellent passage from the Book of Sirach on the subject:
11 The fear of the Lord is glory and exultation,
and gladness and a crown of rejoicing.
12 The fear of the Lord delights the heart,
and gives gladness and joy and long life.
13 Those who fear the Lord will have a happy end;
on the day of their death they will be blessed.
14 To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
she is created with the faithful in the womb.
15 She made among human beings an eternal foundation,
and among their descendants she will abide faithfully.
16 To fear the Lord is fullness of wisdom;
she inebriates mortals with her fruits;
17 she fills their whole house with desirable goods,
and their storehouses with her produce.
18 The fear of the Lord is the crown of wisdom,
making peace and perfect health to flourish.
19 She rained down knowledge and discerning comprehension,
and she heightened the glory of those who held her fast.
20 To fear the Lord is the root of wisdom,
and her branches are long life.
22 Unjust anger cannot be justified,
for anger tips the scale to one’s ruin.
23 Those who are patient stay calm until the right moment,
and then cheerfulness comes back to them.
24 They hold back their words until the right moment;
then the lips of many tell of their good sense.
25 In the treasuries of wisdom are wise sayings,
but godliness is an abomination to a sinner.
26 If you desire wisdom, keep the commandments,
and the Lord will lavish her upon you.
27 For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and discipline,
fidelity and humility are his delight.
28 Do not disobey the fear of the Lord;
do not approach him with a divided mind.
29 Do not be a hypocrite before others,
and keep watch over your lips.
30 Do not exalt yourself, or you may fall
and bring dishonor upon yourself.
The Lord will reveal your secrets
and overthrow you before the whole congregation,
because you did not come in the fear of the Lord,
and your heart was full of deceit.
St. Paul had these words to say on wisdom:
6 Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7 But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 13 And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual.
14 Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny.
16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.
(1 Corinthians 2:6-16)
It is amazing how many there are who seem to think they know better than God. They question Him who made them, and whom they do not know. But of course, He knows us better than we know ourselves.