This morning, I continued in my reading through Proverbs. Looking throughout the book, the author (or authors) give us a choice: live by wisdom, or die in foolishness. What does this mean, exactly? What exactly does it mean to "live by wisdom?" These wise sayings give us a clue: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight." Proverbs 9:10
To fear the Lord is to begin in wisdom; not to be afraid of God, but to stand before Him (or, especially) kneel, humbling ourselves, and holding Him high in reverential awe. It is to understand that God, and God alone is the author of Life, and so if we wish to live life well, we go to His rules and standards. Foolishness is to determine for ourselves what is right, and to live based on our own understanding. Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
Every time the Scriptures say "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes," what follows is never good. People lift themselves before God's commands, they sacrifice their children for success, they murder, cheat, extort and lie, and take advantage of the poor and marginalized for their own gain. These acts are detestable to God, and it is for these acts that He removes nations and kings. To live wisely before God is to be a good steward of all He has given you, knowing that, some day, He will ask for an account of our deeds. To live wisely is to live as Jesus did, giving of ourselves without thinking of ourselves, so that God may receive glory and honor. .
Romans 12:9-21 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.