The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. – Proverbs 9:10
Today’s Devotional was written by: Grant Davis
In God’s dealings with the nation of Israel, he insisted on faithfulness. He demanded obedience and holiness. He called his people to be courageous (Joshua 1:6–9), but their courage was not to be based on their ability, strength, or knowledge, but rather on faith in God’s power and sufficiency to satisfy all their needs and deliver them from all their troubles. God would go before them in battle (Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:5). He might choose to bestow various gifts to individuals, including intelligence, leadership ability, strength, physical beauty, and military prowess, but what he asked of them was faith and obedience.
The power by which God’s people were to be successful was God’s power. As Proverbs 21:31 says, “Men make plans for war, but victory rests with the Lord.” Throughout the Old Testament, the great triumphs were the result of God’s power, and he used faithful human beings as his instruments. Consider the stories of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, and Elijah. Each had his own set of foibles and glaring imperfections. Yet these men were able to do important work for God because they were faithful to God, by submitting to his will. Moses was called to lead a nation, yet he was not a great speaker. This demonstrates that it is God who assures the victory, and not the cleverness of men.
In contrast, consider the apostasy of the kings of Israel and Judah. They pursued the course that seemed wise to them, but their unfaithfulness led to defeat and exile. On a more basic level, consider what happened when Adam and Eve decided to re-think what God had plainly told him in the Garden of Eden concerning the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They were too eager to believe Satan’s lie that they would not die for eating the fruit, but that they would be like God, knowing good and evil. He appealed to their vanity and their pride, and their unfaithfulness led to catastrophic consequences that are still being felt today.
We are to be completely humble before God. We have certainly earned the right to be humble, for none of us can attain salvation by our own actions. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But God in his mercy saves us through the crucified Christ, an idea that to secular human mind reeks of foolishness, but for those of us who are being saved, represents the power and wisdom of God (paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 1:23–24).
If we are to be lifted up or exalted, we must humble ourselves, and God will lift us up (James 4:10). There is no place for arrogance or boasting among the people of God. Let him who boasts boast in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:31; Jeremiah 9:23–24).
Read this verse in context: Proverbs 9
Wisdom built her house;
she has carved out her seven pillars.
2 She slaughtered her animals,
mixed her wine,
and set her table.
3 She sends out her female servants; she issues an invitation
from the top of the city heights:
4 “Whoever is naive turn aside here,”
she says to those who lack sense.
5 “Come, eat my food,
and drink the wine I have mixed.
6 Abandon your simplistic ways and live;
walk in the way of understanding.”
7 Whoever instructs the cynic gets insulted;
whoever corrects the wicked gets hurt.
8 Don’t correct the impudent, or they will hate you;
correct the wise, and they will love you.
9 Teach the wise, and they will become wiser;
inform the righteous, and their learning will increase.
10 The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord;
the knowledge of the holy one is understanding.
11 Through me your days will be many;
years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, it is to your benefit;
if you are cynical, you will bear it all alone.
“Woman Folly’s” invitation
13 Woman Folly is noisy;
she’s stupid and doesn’t even know it.
14 She sits at the doorway of her house,
on a seat at the city heights.
15 She invites those who pass by on the path,
those going straight on their way.
16 “Whoever is naive, come in here,”
she says to those who lack sense.
17 “Stolen water is sweet;
food eaten in secret is pleasant.”
18 But they don’t know that the dead are there;
her guests are in the depths of the grave.[a]
Common English Bible (CEB)
Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible