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The path to wisdom is fearing God

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ELISA NORMAN

Living Word Jewish-Christian Congregation

Godly wisdom, according to the Bible, is not the same as human wisdom. It does not follow the same requirements or achieve the same results. Human wisdom is based on age, observation, perception, education, experience, and cultural environment. Godly wisdom may be enhanced by these factors, but is not based on these factors.

Godly wisdom begins with 1) the fear of God, and proceeds with 2) the ruach elohim (breath, wind, or spirit of God). Godly wisdom is supernatural and cannot be achieved through natural processes.

Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge," but what is the "fear of the LORD?"

The Hebrew word for "fear" is yirah, which can mean "fear" or "terror," in the sense that we understand these words in our cultural context, but it can also mean reverence, awe, and piety. "Piety" is an interesting concept; to fear the LORD means to revere him enough to follow him obediently, resulting in pious behavior.

Our cultural context demands that we create a lukewarm god in our image: politically correct, full of warm fuzzies, a god who is not punitive.

However, the truth of the matter is that the Creator God is also the Destroyer God (Amos 9), he has the power of life and death (Matt 10:28), and he does give us some commands that he expects us to obey (1 John 5:3).

Our response to God should be to fear him and walk in his ways. This is the beginning of wisdom (Job 28:28).

Fear of the LORD is the beginning, the first step, down wisdom’s path.

Godly wisdom is God-given through the breath, or spirit, of God.

Joseph was filled with the ruach elohim and able to interpret Pharaoh’s dream (Genesis 41:38). Daniel, also, had the ruach elohim, a sharp mind, and the ability to interpret dreams, solve problems and explain riddles (Daniel 5:11-12).

This step of wisdom cannot be achieved by human power but must be a gift of God. Solomon, famed for being the wisest man ever, achieved his wisdom through God as well (1 Kings 3, 4, and 10).

As a young king, he knew that he needed the wisdom of God to be a good ruler, and he asked God for wisdom rather than riches.

God was pleased with his request and granted it, adding to it the wealth he did not request.

Of course, we must always test the spirits, to see if a spirit is truly from God (1 John 4). Human wisdom loves to claim to be godly wisdom.

Consider, for example, Elihu, in Job 32, who claims to have the spirit of God (32:8) and the wisdom it brings, but then proceeds to regurgitate the human wisdom already spouted. May the Torah be our litmus test.

Elisa Norman, MTS, is ordained pastor of The Living Word: Jewish Christian Congregation of DeSoto and author of Sacred Living: Interpreting and Applying the Bible. Find out more or contact her at www.Liv ingWord-JewishChris tian.com.


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