Psa. 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever.
Here we find the beginning of the Hallelujah Psalms - ones which bring us to praise and worship of God. Worship of God includes having a good sense of respect and awe of God. This word "fear" is one which we may not find all that palatable these days, but there is something positive about healthy fear. Our parents teach us healthy fears as a child. "Be care of the boiling pot of water!" "Look both ways before you cross the street." "Don't drive without your seatbelt." The truth of these statements is that hot water isn't a bad thing. Walking down the street isn't a bad thing -- and neither are moving vehicles. Seatbelts are a good thing as well, but there is a time and a place for a healthy respect. The power that boils water and makes it pure can also burn me in the wrong circumstance. I love a fast car that can get me where I'm going but the strength of that car can also kill me when not used properly.
God, the Almighty -- wants to provide for us, his children. As I praise and worship him, I also become keenly aware of his power. This is resurrection power! But understanding our place in this relationship with God means that we are humbled by the awesomeness of God. I am wise when I realize how small I am in comparison with God. No amount of education is going to make us wise -- our wisdom comes from our relationship with God. That relationship with God may lead us to further education, in obedience to him, but true wisdom does not come simply from education. Wisdom University begins in our personal walk with God and as we continue through in praise and worship of him, we discover from this practice that we may participate with our holy and infinite God in his kingdom work in the world.
Do you ever get frustrated with all the spam ads that come to your e-mail in-box? Many of the ones that I get are for on-line education. "How to get a simple on-line doctorate!" Wow, if only I'd known maybe I wouldn't have wasted those six years in my doctoral program :) But seriously, the world seems to be throwing out there the idea that we can get wisdom and knowledge without having to put forth much effort. Sadly, this has never been true, and it never will be true.
Through the centuries there have been those whom we've regarded as wise. Wisdom and godliness fit together, for true wisdom comes from spending time with the Only Wise God. I think of my Grandpa Johnson -- not an overly educated man -- really, quite a simple man -- and yet he oozed wisdom. His wisdom came from his intensely personal walk with Jesus Christ and you understood how wise he was in how he interacted with the world on a daily basis. Life was hard for my grandparents. They pastored little churches in Nebraska for 50 years. Many of the church buildings my grandfather helped to build with his own hands. They had a severely handicapped daughter who was born with Down's Syndrome and a congenital heart defect that led to brain damage at birth. She never learned to talk or to feed herself and grandpa was often her care-giver. He exuded love and wisdom when he would care for Shirley. He knew just how to calm her down and how to make her happy. The most educated medical professionals in the world didn't understand what it took to take care of Shirley on a daily basis -- but my grandparents did.
And here we find Wisdom University. It's not an on-line program, and it won't cost you a lifetime of student loans. Wisdom University is found at the feet of the Master, listening and learning from the Creator of the universe. Class begins with a holy reverence and fear of the One who is far more powerful than anything we can even imagine. And as we sit in humility in the classroom of the kingdom, lifting our praises to him, he will share his wisdom with us -- a wisdom which gives us a glimpse of the Image reflected in the world through you and through me.
Lord, please help me to to learn faithfully at your feet. Amen.