Year 3 Day 151
Read — Proverbs 1.1-7
Message - Scott Woodburn
“First posted Year 1 Day 37 - 27 April"
The book of Proverbs is usually a book that most of us spend little reading. We all know Proverbs 3.5-6 but ask us about King Lemuel or Agur the son of Jakeh and we are left scratching our heads. Hopefully you don't avoid the book. It is more than just a verse about a straight path. Indeed as it begins, Solomon makes it clear what his goal for Proverbs is. He wants us to know wisdom and instruction (v1). To understand words of insight (v3). To receive instruction in wisdom filled living (v4). To help the simple and the young to make wise decisions (v5) and to help the wise
to grow in their learning (v6). That all sounds great. Who doesn't need a healthy does of wisdom in their lives? Fools might despise wisdom and instruction (v7b) but certainly not us. Where can we sign up? Another quite well known verse from Proverbs tells us. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (v7a). The fear of the Lord? Indeed. Knowing and trusting the Lord, fearing Him, is the wisest move any of us could make. Yet we don't fear Him the way a servant fears his master. We call this a servile fear. A servant fears the judgement and punishment of his master. Instead the Christian's fear is a filial fear. The fear a child has for his/her parent. Zacharias Ursinus helps us see the distinction between the two. He writes "Filial fear arises from confidence and love to God; that which is servile arises from a knowledge and conviction of sin, and from a sense of the judgment and displeasure of God. Filial fear does not turn away from God, but hates sin above every thing else, and fears to offend God: servile fear is a flight and hatred, not of sin, but of punishment and of the divine judgment, and so of God himself. Filial fear is connected with the certainty of salvation and of eternal life: servile fear is a fear and expectation of eternal condemnation and rejection of God, and is great in proportion to the doubt and despair which it entertains of the grace and mercy of God." So the beginning of knowledge is a filial fear of God. There will be many who roll their eyes at such a statement. Our faith is a source for scorn, trusting Christ seems like foolishness. We shouldn't be surprised. The Lord tells us "the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1.18) The Gospel has opened our eyes, we have received Christ by faith and we have come to realise that in Christ "are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Colossians
2.3) So as the Covid-19 storm blows around us, clinging to Christ is the wisest course. Indeed even in the sunniest of days "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Corinthians 1.25) It was the Christian missionary Jim Elliot who wrote in his diary "he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." Soon Elliot's life was taken by those he was seeking to serve. Was he a fool? Are you? No. There's no one wiser than the one who has called upon Christ. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
Q31 What is effectual calling? Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.