Are We Using the Fear of God as Basis for Wisdom?
Psalm 111:10 says the following: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever. I find these words incredibly challenging as I try to know what wisdom looks like. So many times there are things that seem to be right and then when we do them, they appear to have been wrong. On today, the 15th anniversary of 9/11, I wonder if our nation lacked wisdom in how we responded to the attacks of that day. Did the “fear of the Lord” ever enter into our response? We seemed very quick to jettison words like “love your neighbor”, “pray for your enemies” and “vengeance is mine says the Lord”. As I look back on the events of 9/11 there are three strong emotions for me. First, I am incredibly saddened by the loss of all of the lives and the impact that loss had on immediately family members and friends…a loss that will be felt for generations. I am incredibly grateful for the first responders who gave their lives in an attempt to save others. I cannot imagine the courage it took to run up the stairs of the World Trade Center as others were running down. My third emotion is one of regret. I think that because we did not as a nation consider God in our decision making we may have lost an incredible opportunity.
What if instead of bombs and invasion, we had responded with the building of schools and hospitals? What if we had recognized the grinding poverty, the lack of medical treatment and water and the effect these things have on a population. An effect, when mixed with Islamic religious dogma, that produces suicide bombers and ISIS. What might have been had we taken just a fraction of the money we spent on the war and spent it on loving our enemies. Could it have been different? Could our nation have given God the opportunity to show Christ? Maybe we’d be much less safe than we are today or maybe much more safe. I don’t know and neither do you. But, if the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, I think it benefits all of us to ask what actions the fear of the Lord would compel us to take in our lives today and during those days when things are dark. I’m sure in my own life and probably your life too that considering the fear of the Lord before making decisions will help make better decisions.