Two simple, tiny words.In these two tiny words contain the whole of the gospel.
But…when you see this word it is a word that precipitates a change. A change in direction. A change in circumstances. A change in destiny. This word functions like a hinge. It changes the direction. Something was heading down one way –> and then the “but” and now it’s heading down the other way <–.
God…He’s the difference maker. He’s the reason for the change. He’s the reason for the difference.
Put these two words together and you have the greatest news in the history of the world.
I was dying…but God!
I was hopelessly lost…but God!
I am a sinner, destined for judgment and damnation…but God!
I had no clue what the purpose of life was all about…but God!
I was a selfish jerk who hurt everyone who loved me…but God!
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Come on…given the choice between life and death, who in the world chooses death? What kind of a ludicrous question is this?
Who in the world would choose death?
About 90% of us would choose death.
In a study of those who were faced with exactly that choice – stop drinking or you will die, stop smoking or you will die, change your diet or you will die, get more exercise or you will die – the vast majority choose to die.
Why?!?! That’s crazy?!?!
Because choosing life requires change.
We have to change in order to live. But change is too difficult, too painful, too uncomfortable. So we don’t. We remain the same. And we die.
God has shown us what it takes to live, and to live abundantly. Follow Jesus. Do what Jesus tells us. Follow him.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
I never quite understood how fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Why not love of the LORD? or Honoring the LORD? Why fear?
How is fearing the LORD a good thing?
The key to understanding this truth lies in the second clause – “but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Fear of the LORD doesn’t mean being terrified of the LORD. Fear of the LORD refers to one’s awesome respect to the LORD. Fear of the LORD has more to do with how we honor and defer to the LORD.
Because we are finite creatures, there is much we do not know and much we do not understand. But God is infinitely wise. God is omniscient. God knows all truth. Because of that, we humbly come before God as finite creatures to listen and obey God.
The Greek philosopher Epitectus wrote, “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.”
Fools come before God with pride. Fools already think they know what is best for them. And, because fools think they already know what is best for them, they are unable to learn the truth.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom because we humbly approach God as finite creatures to hear from God the truth regarding life.
That is wisdom. Knowing that we do not know, and knowing and obeying the One who does know.