26 May 2014

Learning Wisdom

"Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." ~Proverbs 1:7 NLT
In reading this morning, I began at Proverbs 1:1 and read that verse. Then I couldn't get very much farther on without my eyes returning, almost of their own accord, to it. I didn't really grasp what it meant . . . so it surprised me that it stood out to me that much. I'd read down the column a bit, and my eyes would search back up to find and read that one over again. And again. Some questions came to my mind:

  • How can I be wise?
  • What is fear of the Lord?
I tried a few different translations to see if that would open that verse to my understanding. The Amplified version was the best:
"The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction and discipline." ~Proverbs 1:7, AMP
Revering and worshiping the Lord God of Hosts really is the beginning of godly Wisdom. If you don't accept the Lord for Who He Is, you cannot receive the full blessing of what He offers.
"He who receives and welcomes and accepts a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives and welcomes and accepts a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward." ~Matthew 10:41 AMP
When we honor God for who He is, and value the Wisdom He teaches us, we can receive the reward that comes from the true value of what we learn, and from our relationship with Him, from accepting God for Who He Is.

So, if reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning of godly Wisdom, what comes next?
"If you will turn (repent) and give heed to my reproof, behold, I [Wisdom] will pour out my spirit upon you, I will make my words known to you." ~Proverbs 1:23 AMP
As we position ourselves to revere and worship God as we should, we can't help but have repentant hearts, turning to Him. And what comes next is wonderful: an outpouring of the spirit of Wisdom and understanding. I could really use more of that in my life . . . how 'bout you? ;o)

In Proverbs 2, we get a step-by-step tutorial on how to understand what comes next:

  1. Receive words of wisdom and treasure up prophetic instruction. (2:1)
  2. Listen for, ponder and meditate on them. (2:2)
  3. Pray for insight and understanding. (2:3)
  4. Seek for it as you would a precious treasure. (2:4)
And here's the result:
"Then you will understand the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of [our omniscient] God." ~Proverbs 2:5
 Boom. I love it when God lays things out so simply for me.

As I walk out the things I have come to understand, the second half of verse seven comes into play:
"He is a shield to those who walk uprightly and in integrity, that He may guard the paths of justice; yes, He preserves the way of His saints." ~Proverbs 2:7
I learned, the hard way, over the last week, what it's like to fear mortals more than God. To walk outside of the guarded path, without the Lord's shielding. In my case, it was denying very clear promptings because I didn't want to cause discomfort to others. As a result, I wandered spiritually all week. I walked without the presence of God's Spirit in power, struggled with depression and all the old demons, and my family had a less than stellar week. Sunday was the worst, when I ignored two more (very clear) instructions on how God wanted me to use my time that day. That cost me sore repentance, and finally brought me down in humility, once again confessing the wisdom and love Jesus Christ has for me, if I'll but stay turned to Him and follow.

Walking without Jesus is a crushing weight. I don't ever want to do it.

It's simple craziness to ignore what He tells me, even when it doesn't seem that important, and expect to have the same deep connection as when I am walking in His will for me. One of the instructions I ignored I was able to fulfill last night . . . and it was such a sweet blessing. All of the concerns I had were totally unfounded. (Whaddya know? God knew what He was talking about! {facepalm}) As for the others, I know my Lord will give me more opportunities to obey Him. He wants to be close to me, and that requires offering me opportunities to obey Him, so I can get to know Him better, learning His ways.

I'm so. glad. He loves me so much, that when I come to Him He does not upbraid, doesn't get on my case or send me on a guilt trip. Universally, the response I receive when I've turned to Him anew after following my own will: "Oh, Annalea. I'm so glad." It's filled with love for me, and awash with a deep relief that the suffering I put myself through is over . . . even if only for a short time, until I stumble again. My goal is to continually shorten the length of that period between stumbling and returning.

Lord, I'm so grateful this morning for Your love. Your steady, patient, unfailing and overwhelming love that heals and entreats, persuades and teaches. I'm so grateful for your infinite nature that means You can lavish me with love and a fullness of Your attention in my linear, earthly existence, as if I'm Your only and most favorite daughter . . . just as You do for every other one of Your children. Thank you for the innumerable chances You've given me. Thank You for Your mercy that still offers Your sustaining love in my foolishness, and for Your amazing grace that empowers me to become more than my flesh would ever permit. I'm beginning anew, Lord. Keep leading me, please. And show me how to better accept Your grace so I can glorify Your name more, bringing more joy to You and into the life of those I love most of all. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus' name, amen.