"And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to
depart from evil is understanding." Job 28:28
hile the error of slavish fear
toward God is condemned soundly in scripture, the Bible does teach that we should carefully maintain
a healthy, respectful fear of God. This chapter in what is probably the oldest book of the Bible, the book
of Job, begins with a philosophical search for the vein of precious metal, silver or gold, making
it clear that the search is for something of even greater value. "Surely there is a vein for the
silver, and a place for the gold where they fine it." In verse 7 he describes a very special way of
looking at life, a very rare perspective, "There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the
vulture's eye hath not seen." Then in verse 12 he defines this search, "But where shall wisdom be
found? And where is the place of understanding?" That balanced perspective which faithfully avoids
slavish fear, yet with equal faithfulness, maintains a sense of reverence and respect for God is
truly a rare commodity. In Ecclesiastes 7:16 we are warned to "Be no righteous over much; neither make
thyself over wise: why shouldst thou destroy thyself?" Extremes are easy ditches to fall into.
oday, people are flocking to gurus,
to all kinds of seminars, and paying large sums for what they perceive to be wisdom. The pulpit is
ignored as a potential source of wisdom because it has surrendered to slavish fear. Few pulpits
are not marked by an enslaving "fear of hell message" to motivate sinners into their decision for
Christ. Frequently, pulpits are also characterized by shallow, unbiblical emotion which offers no
link with the fear of God. The Bible is full of deep, driving emotions, and we desperately need
to experience those emotions, but we do not need an emotional arousal for the sake of demonstrating
emotion. Reverential fear and respect for the person of God is the crying need of our day in the
pulpit and in the pew!
arer by far than the vein
of gold within the earth is the path where wisdom is to be found. The message of God to man in the
oldest book he inspired for us is this, "The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom." In almost
identical form these words appear in Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, and Proverbs 9:10. If God
repeated it four times, it must be important! This fear is not described as enslaving, but
as liberating and enlightening. It is the source of wisdom and knowledge in the noblest sense
of those traits. The man who thinks he knows everything and refuses to learn from others is a fool.
So is the man who knows he does not know and is not willing to learn. The only man who has hope
is the man who goes to god and to God's source of knowledge for his decisions and direction in life.
With this rare, precious commodity the pauper is rich, and without it the king is destitute!
e tend to seek the complicated,
sophisticated ideas. we want the elite concepts that distinguish us in the eyes of perishing man. Rare
indeed is the man who is offered the spotlight before his fellowman and refuses it for the honor
of God. True wisdom is really quite simple and uncomplicated. In the context of Solomon's dissertation
on the fear of God and wisdom we find these words.
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy
ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes; fear
the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honor the
LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled
with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." Proverbs 3:5-10
here is nothing abstract and eastern
here, nor is there anything mystical and Egyptian. It is beautifully simple. Trust God more than anything,
even your own mind, acknowledge him in all of life's activities, don't be self-centered and conceited,
make God first in your life and he will fill your life with his blessings. Wow! What a promise! Don't
forget, this wisdom is the fruit of the proper, biblical fear of God.
he New Testament follows the same theme.
"Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?
Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have
bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This
wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and
strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first
pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without
partiality, and without hypocrisy." James 3:13-17
he presence of wisdom reflects
the true fear of God Notice the characteristics of this wisdom. Pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to
be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, sincere and unhypocritical. Where is the
deep philosophy here? Where is the mysticism? The fear of God which the Bible teaches is no more
than a sincere, respectful, compliant relationship with God.
Elder Joe Holder
Little Zion Primitive Baptist Church
Fear: Part 4 - Wise Fear
Volume 1, Number 47
December 28, 1986
Submitted by Sister Martha Pitney
Of Friendship PBC in Denver