Proverbs 9: 8-12 

Psalm 10: 12-18 

Philemon 1-21 

St. Luke 14: 25-33 

“Humble Wisdom” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

Many of you grew up with parents that were strict and could  be scary when needed. Some of you may have been that kind of  parent. When I was a child, my mother was definitely one of those  firm parents who spanked and grounded and made sure I was punished whenever necessary. She was fierce and protective, but  she expected high things from her children and raised us to  respect authority, to understand consequences, and to trust her  judgement. She was a good mother, and because she was good  she was strict. She forced her kids to go to church, no if or buts,  we went. She gave warnings and followed through with her  warnings. She was also a huge advocate of providing a healthy  dosage of vitamin “No”. Again, she did all this because she was a  good parent. 

As a child, I grew to respect my mother. Of course I hated it  when I was punished, looking back I know that my punishments  were absolutely necessary, and I’m glad my mother was strict  with me. I loved her, but I also had a healthy level of fear which  prevented me from doing things I should of never done. As a  child, I was taught to honor my parents, but what does it mean to  honor. It means to simply to love and trust but also to fear. When  you obey your parents you do so because you trust their  judgment, because you love them and want to obey them, but 

also because you fear their punishment. The wrath of a parent  should be a scary thing, and it is this fear that puts reigns on the  more mischievous side of children. It is also this fear that teaches  us initially the difference between right and wrong. As babies, we  already got the trust and love part down toward our good parents,  but it is the fear that stops us in our tracks whenever we do  something inappropriate or dangerous. We don’t know that our  actions are such, but we know fear, and it is the fear that teaches  us that the action is a bad action. Thus if we have good parents,  the fear of a parent’s wrath is a blessing. Through it we develop  the wisdom to know what is inappropriate and what is bad. 

For example, say a young child is chasing a ball and the ball  enters a street. Because the young child fears being yelled at  again the child stops instinctively and looks both ways before  chasing the ball. If the child had no fear he would have kept on  chasing the ball because at that moment the ball is more  important, but because the child does have fear, though he may  not understand why as soon as he gets to the road it is almost like  a flip is switched and the boy stops in his tracks to look both  ways. Not getting yelled at again is more important than the ball. 

The same applies to the most good and heavenly, kind and  gentle, of all parents, our good Father in Heaven. As children of  the heavenly kingdom we should both love and fear God the  Father. Now we should not fear that God with act in an evil  manner, for no such thing will ever happen, but rather fear His  righteous judgment. But before we get there, first, is not God the  most loving and good parent ever? Can any parent on earth be  better than God? Can anyone be better than God? No, because 

God isn’t just the best but is the source of all that is good. God is  the definer of what it means to be good, and nothing can take that  away from Him. This is the foundation of every argument we  stand on regarding God: that God is good all the time. We start  there, and then we proceed to have a healthy level of fear toward  God our Heavenly Father, in the same way we should have a  healthy level of fear toward our earthly parents. 

One of my favorite books in the Bible is Job, so let us read Job 28:28, “And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that  is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’” God tells  us multiple times that all good things come from Him and that  most certainly includes wisdom. Now this is not the wisdom found  in philosophy or sociology or politics or humanities or any other  human-made form of understanding. These are all human  attempts at being wise, but all are foolishness compared to the  wisdom we do receive from God. 

So why is it that true wisdom comes only from fearing God  and this wisdom from the world is but a fake? It all boils down to  sin. For when it comes to understanding the difference between  good and evil and then acting in a way to avoid said evil, it is  

blatantly obvious that without the help of God we never learn our  lesson. We create for ourselves our own version of good and evil,  so we are already failing at the get-go as we lie to ourselves  about reality, but then we fail at following through with our own  made-up system of morality. Then we pick up the fragments and  instead of learning our lesson we try it again.

That’s the thing about wisdom, if you don’t learn your lesson  then you will never grow wise. On top of that, the mark of a truly  wise person is someone who is willing to learn from their mistakes  and listen to a credible source. When it comes to morality, there is  only one credible source, and that is God. This is why we read in  our first lesson, Proverbs 9: 8-9, “Do not reprove a scoffer, or he  will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give  instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a  righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” The scoffer is he  who does not fear God. The scoffer is the one who will not listen  to reason regarding the Word of God. The wise one is willing to  acknowledge that as a fallen human he will fail and get things  wrong and is thus willing to be reproved. A wise person is willing  to be reprimanded by scripture, and will grow wiser and more  loving toward God for it. And as for a righteous man, well in this  context a righteous person is a wise person, for a person is made  righteous and wise on account of faith in God which implies trust,  love, and fear. 

This then naturally leads to the next verse, Proverbs 9:10,  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the  knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” As one can tell this is but a  variant to Job 28:28. God is repeating to us in Scripture, putting  extra emphasis on this message by repeating it multiple times  throughout Scripture, this message that He is so dearly trying to  drill home. And what is that lesson? That fearing God is a good  thing and should be desirable in all Christians alongside love in  God for it is through fear in the righteous wrath of God that we  become wise. This is wisdom found in humility. By humbling  ourselves to God, we allow Him to teach us what is good and 

what is evil. It is fear that compels us towards humility, for if we  didn’t fear God than we would naturally show partiality toward His  Word. 

Though we are fallen humans incapable of perfectly  following the Law, we should still attempt to follow the Law and  humbly repent whenever we stumble. We do this not because we  are trying to save ourselves through the Law, but because we  ought to follow the Law. Our love toward God in desiring to follow  Him, and our fear toward God of His displeasure, combined, is  what makes us wise. 

The same applies to the Cross. If you love Christ, but fear  not the consequences of sin, then you will never turn toward the  Cross. For to be saved through faith in Christ is simply this: to  love and fear God so much that you throw your sins on Jesus who  died on the Cross to take on those sins thus providing for you the  means to eternal salvation in Heaven. Jesus Christ died to forgive  you your sins; that is what it means to be saved. Yet, if you fear  not Hell, nor sin, nor the Law then why in the world would you run  to Jesus to be forgiven of that which you don’t care about? The  reason why we turn to Christ is because of our sins. We are so  terrified of the just punishment we deserve that we turn out of love  to the only source of forgiveness. And this is where the beauty of  God’s law fulfilled comes into play, for not only did He out of love  show for us, His children, what is good and evil and the  consequences of such, He also showed us the means of  forgiveness.

And again, I need to stress that word, “forgiveness.” If our  faith in Christ was so centered on loving God but not fearing Him  then though we may turn to Christ we would change His sacrifice  from a means of forgiveness into a means of acceptance. In a  society that loves but does not fear God, we make a mockery of  Jesus’ sacrifice by proclaiming it as a means of allowance toward  sin. In such a society it is alright to sin for Christ already forgave  you of your sin. There is no fear nor respect nor honor to God the  Father in such a society. Murder and rape and lying in court will  be rampant but it would be alright because Christ already forgave  you. Do you now see the necessity of having a healthy level of  fear toward God? Christ didn’t come to abolish the Law, he came  to fulfill it, and therefore the Law still exists. Thus as Christians,  saved by faith alone, we still have an obligation to obey God and  follow all His commandments. 

It is fear that helps us do this, and through such fear we, who  are still children in the eyes of God the father, will grow in wisdom  as we come to understand what is good and what is evil. And as  we fear God, let it be known that God is the most good of all  fathers and will never do any evil toward you, but instead provides  a most gracious means of forgiveness. Thus, allow your fear to  compel you toward that means of grace. 

Let us pray, 


Dear Heavenly Father, show us your children the ways of  wisdom and to learn from you and continually grow. In your  heavenly name we pray: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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