February 22, 2011 – Stanley

The Foundation of Wisdom Proverbs 9:7-12

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10). Initially, the connection between these two concepts may be difficult to grasp: How can fearing God make us wise?

First, we need to understand what it means to fear the Lord. This term is used to describe an awesome reverence for God that moves us to acknowledge Him as the sovereign ruler of heaven and earth, submit to His will, and walk in obedience. The result of such a response will be the acquisition of wisdom.

Those who commit themselves to living for God’s purposes rather than their own will gain greater understanding of Him. The Holy Spirit will enable them to see circumstances and people from His divine perspective. This kind of wisdom reaches beyond human perception and gives us discernment to make decisions that fit into the Lord’s plans for our lives. Knowing that He always works for our best interests, we are empowered to walk confidently through both good and bad times.

But those who reject God’s instructions dishonor Him with their refusal to acknowledge His right to rule their lives. It’s foolish to rebel against His authority and think you can ever win. Those who won’t fear God will never know real wisdom.

What is your attitude toward the Lord? If you truly reverence Him, you will listen for His directions and heed His warnings. A desire to honor and please Him will motivate you to turn from evil and seek to live in obedience. And the result will be wisdom beyond human understanding.

February 22, 2011 – Begg

The Mightly One

His bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the mighty one of Jacob.

Genesis 49:24

The strength that God gives to His Josephs is real strength; it is not a boasted valor, a fiction, a thing of which men talk but which ends in smoke; it is true–divine strength.

Why does Joseph stand against temptation? Because God enables him. There is nothing that we can do without the power of God. All true strength comes from “the Mighty One of Jacob.” Notice in what a blessedly familiar way God gives this strength to Joseph–“His arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob.” God is represented as putting His hands on Joseph’s hands, placing His arms on Joseph’s arms. Just as a father teaches his children, so the Lord teaches them that fear Him. He puts His arms upon them. Marvelous condescension! God Almighty, Eternal, Omnipotent, stoops from His throne and lays His hand upon the child’s hand, stretching His arm upon the arm of Joseph, that he may be made strong!

This strength was also covenant strength, for it is ascribed to “the Mighty One of Jacob.” Now, wherever you read of the God of Jacob in the Bible, you should remember the covenant with Jacob. Christians love to think of God’s covenant. All the power, all the grace, all the blessings, all the mercies, all the comforts, all the things we have flow to us from the fountainhead, through the covenant. If there were no covenant, then we should fail indeed; for all grace proceeds from it, as light and heat from the sun. No angels ascend or descend except by the ladder that Jacob saw, at the top of which stood a covenant God. Christian, it may be that the archers have sorely grieved you and shot at you and wounded you, but still your bow remains unmoved. Be sure, then, to ascribe all the glory to Jacob’s God.