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Daily Devotional: Fear of the Lord | A man with his head bowed holding a black hat on his chest. Daily Devotional: Fear of the Lord | A man with his head bowed holding a black hat on his chest.

Daily Devotional | The Beginning of Wisdom, Part 1


“Two people may possess essentially the same knowledge,” wrote author Jerry Bridges in The Joy of Fearing God. “One person views this knowledge as a means of acquiring position, power, or possessions, and uses it to that end. The other person sees it as a gift from God and as a stewardship to be used to serve Him.” What makes the difference? “The fear of God must be the foundation upon which knowledge is built. It is the fear of the Lord that gives us the right perspective and prompts us to use it for the right end.”

That is to say, the fear of the Lord is the necessary condition for all true knowledge and wisdom (v. 7). What this basically means is that to start learning wisdom, we need to seek a close relationship with the Lord. The only way to do that, of course, is on His terms. This is why one source defines the fear of the Lord as “a loving reverence for God that includes submission to his lordship and to the commands of his word.”

To learn wisdom is to grow and mature (vv. 2–6). We gain insight into the realities of life, including good and evil. We become more able to do what is right and just. Our behavior becomes more prudent, which is the virtue of governing oneself with reason (especially in terms of planning for the future) and is thus related to self-control. We increase in discretion and good judgment. We become lifelong learners, always ready to learn more and to keep growing.

The opposite of wisdom is foolishness (v. 7). Only a fool would despise the benefits of wisdom. Only a fool would want to stay immature, proudly refuse to learn, be gullible or “simple,” and keep choosing poorly or wrongly.

Go Deeper

How familiar are you with the virtue of prudence? Biblically, what does this mean? How can we grow in it? How can we better put it into practice?

Pray with Us: How do we attain wisdom? The first step is the fear of the Lord. Father, we ask You for wisdom, understanding and knowledge. Keep us from foolishness! May we walk through every circumstance and every trial with dignity and wisdom!

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Bradley Baurain is Professor and Program Head of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at Moody Bible Institute. Bradley has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He is the author of On Waiting Well. Bradley taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Bradley and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Northwest Indiana.

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