But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?
And he [God] said to the human race, ‘The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.’
Job 28:12, 28 (NIV)
Wisdom should not be confused with intelligence. There are many intelligent people in the world who seem to lack basic common sense. Neither is wisdom purely knowledge. There are many knowledgable people, who don’t seem able to put their knowledge into practice in ways that make a difference in the world.
In Job 28 we are told that ‘The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom …’ We must be careful how we interpret the work ‘fear’ in this context, particularly as the world would interpret it as being fearful. The world thinks that as God is all powerful, so we must be fearful, or live in fear of him. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Fear of God means having respect for who God is and particularly understanding how as Christians, recipients of God’s grace, we can be in awe of such a God who is willing and able to forgive our sins.
The second part of Job 28:28 tells us that ‘… to shun evil is understanding’. As Christians, God wants us to live lives that reflect his character. Elsewhere in scripture it says: ‘… be holy, because I am holy’ (Leviticus 11:45). Shunning evil is a consequence of coming to know God’s character and what he desires for our lives.
Shunning evil means knowing the difference between right and wrong and making a conscious decision to do what is right, not what is popular or acceptable in the world. Shunning evile means that you will be different to those around you, because you won’t want to do things for selfish reasons, but to please God.
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