WFW: The Fear of the Lord is Happiness
Today, I'm going to continue my study on the fear of the Lord. I'd like to refer back to this point: If you fear the Lord, you have wisdom and knowledge and are therefore happy. When I first included this point in the quiz, I didn't realize just how many Scriptures concur with this.
Let's start with the Scripture which was the foundation for that point: Prov. 9:10 -- "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
Prov 1:7 -- "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Isaiah 33:6 - "And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of your times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD." Isaiah 12:2, although it does not specifically mention the fear of the Lord, goes along with the above Scripture: "Behold, God is my SALVATION; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation." (Even though that passage does not appear to mention the fear of the Lord, many times when the Psalmist mentioned the fear of the Lord, he used trust interchangeably as in this example: Psalm 115:11 -- "Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield." Perhaps a better example would be Psalm 31:19 -- "Oh how great is Your goodness, which thou hast laid up for those who FEAR You; which You have prepared for those who TRUST in You in the presence of the sons of men!")
But to continue, just how does wisdom (which begins with the fear of the Lord) make us happy? Our Scripture for that was Proverbs 3:13-18, which states, "Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of SILVER, And her gain than fine GOLD. She is more precious than RUBIES, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her." From this Scripture, we see that "her proceeds are better than silver and her gain than fine gold," and earlier, in Proverbs (1:7), we saw that "fools despise wisdom and instruction." So how does this apply to wisdom's proceeds being better than silver and gold? Well, if you do not despise something, you treasure it, right?
So, for a moment, let's examine some Scriptures that deal with this topic:First up is Proverbs 2:4-5, a Scripture which keeps resurfacing in this study. It states, "If you seek her [wisdom] as SILVER, And search for her as for HIDDEN TREASURES; Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God." Later in Proverbs (23:23), we read, "Buy the truth, and do not sell it, Also wisdom and instruction and understanding." This reminds me of Jesus' parable in Matthew 13:44, "'Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.'" (Notice that it says, "for JOY over it he goes and sells all that he has," and we've been talking about how wisdom makes you happy.) In Proverbs 8:10-11, wisdom says, "Receive my instruction, and not silver, And knowledge rather than choice gold; wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.... My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, And my revenue than choice silver." And here is a Scripture that clearly illustrates what it means to not despise wisdom: Proverbs 4:5-7 -- "Get wisdom! Get understanding! DO NOT FORGET NOR TURN AWAY FROM THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH... Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding." And there is still more about being happy if you fear the Lord: Psalm 128:1 says, "Blessed [happy] is every one who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways." Psalm 112:1 states, "Praise ye the LORD. Blessed [happy] is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments."
This brings me to the next point: If you want to be happy and have that wisdom, you need to keep God's commandments. Psalm 111:10 states, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments." Keeping God's commandments is a big part of fearing Him. Ecclesiastes 12:13 makes this statement: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Job 28:28 helps to clarify what it means to keep God's commandments: "And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." A number of these Scriptures mentions understanding, so let's look at Proverbs 9:10 again -- "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." We gather, then, that understanding is to depart from evil and to have God's knowledge. Remember, we talked about departing from evil a few weeks ago; if we don't depart from evil, we are not keeping God's commandments. It also follows that if we have God's knowledge, we will "know" how to depart from evil and how to keep His commandments. Jesus stated in John 14:15, "If you love Me, keep my commandments." The Psalmist stated in Psalm 103:17-18,"But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them."
Some other Scriptures that support this include the following: Psalm 119:2 --"Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart!" Psalm 119:66 -- "Teach me good judgment and knowledge, For I believe Your commandments." Wisdom states in Proverbs 8:32, "For blessed are those who keep my ways." Psalm 112:1 -- "Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who delights greatly in His commandments." 1 John 2:3 -- "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked."
To sum up, you are happy because you treasure wisdom and you keep God's commandments. 1 John 3:22 states, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." Interestingly, Jesus said, "Ask and you shall receive that your joy may be full." So that is how we get wisdom, understanding, and instruction: we "do those things that are pleasing in His sight," hence we are departing from evil and keeping His commandments. Then, we can ask for wisdom (which begins with fearing the Lord) and receive it "that our JOY may be full" -- that we might be happy!