Wisdom requires a certain amount of discernment on our part, and we need to know from where that wisdom comes. Our verse today tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his instructions have good insight. His praise endures forever.” (Psalm 111:10 CSB)
At first glance, it looks like the verse is saying we should be fearful of God, but that isn’t what it is saying. In this instance, the word fear means that we should have a reverence toward God. In his commentary on this verse, Albert Barnes defines it as, “Reverence for God; respect for his law, his will, his government, himself; the fear of offending him, which will lead us to do right. This fear is not that of a slave; it is not mere dread; it is not terror. It is consistent with love, and springs from it. It is consistent with calmness of mind, and promotes it. It does not produce terror, but rather delivers from it, and preserves the mind from alarms.” I look at this type of fear as a healthy reverence, an honoring of God. We love Him so much that we WANT to follow His laws, not because we are forced to, but because we want to please Him in everything we say and do!
We realize that God is holy. He knows the end from the beginning; therefore, it is natural to assume that we should get our wisdom from Him. Our verse tells us that we should fear God and that by doing so, we begin to gain wisdom. I truly believe this is the key to discernment. Solomon is a prime example. God told Solomon to ask for anything he wanted, and instead of asking for wealth or health or any other of the myriad of things he could have asked for, Solomon asked for wisdom. (2 Chronicles 1:7-12) God was so pleased that Solomon had asked for this, that God not only gave him wisdom, but also gave him wealth, health, and caused the world to respect and honor Solomon for his wisdom.
James tells us that we should ask for wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5 NIV) God always will give us wisdom when we ask. It is that wisdom from Him that helps us have discernment when we need to make decisions.
We gain wisdom through prayer and through reading His Word. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV) This type of wisdom helps us understand the deep things of Scripture and be able to have insight into our inmost heart desires. Are we going in the right direction with the proper attitude? Are we following God’s leading with our whole heart and desiring to please Him? It causes us to sit and evaluate ourselves. Do our thoughts, actions, and attitudes follow in line with God’s Word?
Wisdom should be a key ingredient of a Believer’s life. When we find ourselves at a crossroads, it is discernment, wisdom, and prayer that help us make key decisions in life. When we are unsure of our path, we need to go to God in reverent fear, and He will honor His promise to give us wisdom.