Thursday, October 21, 2021
I get afraid when I’m up high in an unsteady position. I don’t like to fall. I’m sure none of us enjoys the thought of falling from any height. But for me, it’s more than just a fear. I get unnerved. I doubt my ability to make good decisions. I go into a mild panic attack. My heart races: I really am afraid. I’m afraid that the ladder I am about to climb will fall over. I am convinced before I even get part way up that if I go any higher it will tip over and I will fall. I get down and I look at the ladder. I check its stability. I know it is solid. I know the ladder has held me before, and that if I remain inside its boundaries it will hold me again. If I use it correctly it can be trusted. When I focus on the trustworthiness of the ladder my fears are somewhat relieved and I can do the job. So I climb again.
One of the scariest Bible stories for me as a child was the story of Jacob’s dream of the ladder going up into heaven with all the angels on it. Now you know why it scared me so much. I thought my journey to heaven had to be like that, and I couldn’t stand to think about going up that high on a ladder. But at the top of the ladder stands Jesus, and when my eyes are focused on Him and how trustworthy and faithful He is, my fears are relieved. My fear has increased my trust.
Solomon ends his discourse to his son in the same way he started it – with a challenge to fear God.
Proverbs 24:21 “Fear the LORD and the king, my son…”
Let’s go back and review how this study on wisdom started:
Proverbs 22:17-21 “Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach,for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips.So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you. Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge, teaching you true and reliable words, so that you can give sound answers to him who sent you?”
The purpose for Solomon’s teaching was to develop trust in the Lord, which is based on a healthy fear of the Lord.
Solomon says at the beginning, “So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today.” Solomon says at the end, “Fear the LORD.” Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom; trust in God is the application of wisdom. In between we discovered many practical ways to grow in wisdom. Now at the end we are put to the test – how well will we trust in God’s wisdom? Before you answer that, think carefully about the rest of today’s wisdom verse.
“Fear the Lord and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials,” Proverbs 24:21
Trust in God is measured against our complacency to and complicity with rebellious people. We may not participate in rebellious actions, but what about our attitudes and conversations? Do our minds still conform to the rebellious world’s system in the ways we think? How influenced are we by our political and social environments? How have we, as the Apostle John puts it, “taken the mark of the beast” by becoming dependent upon the world’s system and not on God alone?
Fear God. Trust God. It is the circle of wisdom, and it goes on. Biblical wisdom takes us from fear to trust to fear to trust. Let the circle grow, but keep it intact. Stay within the boundaries of wisdom. It is far better to fear the LORD in a trusting relationship than to fear the destruction of the LORD based on our rebellion.