The Fear of the Lord Is the Beginning of Wisdom

I don’t know what was wrong with me for the last few days, but I’m feeling much better today. Whew. Something tore my stomach up, big time.

The shower is fixed. That’s a good thing, but somewhere in the process, the attachment for the detachable shower head that we were using was damaged, so we’re back to the standard shower head for now. But we’ve got our shower back.

Red Sox spanked the Grumpy Old Men last night, 11-6. What joy fills my soul! The Sox are, once again, in first place. The Rangers finally managed to beat the Tigers, as Ogando notched his seventh win. He is 7-0 on the season. Not bad for an outfielder. Oh, and I saw what was possible the worst call by an ump ever last night, as a Grumpy Old Man was called safe at first base when he was out by at LEAST three feet. Wow.

First today, I offer an entry from a blog that I read, calledResting in His Grace. I love how he took the lyrics of “Cry Out to Jesus” by Third Day and intertwined them with real life situations. It’s almost like a music video in text form. Heh. Anyway…read it. It’s good.

Today’s Bible readings from Discovering the Bible, by Gordon L. Addington:
John 19:17-42
So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
(vv. 16b-27)

I like what Pilate said to the Jews. If he couldn’t be courageous and stand up for truth at the trial, at least he stood his ground at the cross scene. The interchange between Jesus, Mary, and John at the end of the section is interesting. There have been a lot of interpretations on that, but I believe it is pretty straightforward. I believe that Jesus was simply assigning his mother’s welfare to John.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (vv. 28-30)

Notice that Jesus decided when it was finished! “He bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” No one took Jesus’s life. He layed it down. He gave it up.

Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness–his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth–that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” (vv.31-37)

First off, I find the first part of that section to be highly hypocritical. They were in such an all-fired hurry to get Jesus dead, but, hey! We can’t leave these bodies on the crosses after 6pm because the Sabbath starts! So let’s break their legs so they’ll die faster! But guess what? Jesus was already dead, as evidenced by what happened when the soldier pierced his side with the sword. And notice the Scripture that was fulfilled…”Not one of his bones will be broken.” So, when we say in our communion rituals, “This is his body, broken for you…” Hmmm…that can’t be right can it? Because his body wasn’t broken. Notice, too, John’s personal testimony in verse 35. He saw it, and he is letting us know that he, personally, witnessed these events.

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. (vv. 38-42)

Joseph of Arimathea steps in and claims the body of Jesus. I believe other accounts say that the tomb belonged to Joseph. Nicodemus brought burial spices.

1 Kings 1-2
An interesting custom is revealed in the first part of chapter one. David was old, and as is true for many old people, he had trouble staying warm. So they found a “beautiful young woman” to come and serve him and lie in his arms. It is very important, though, to note that “the king knew her not.” In other words, she was, essentially, a warm blanket. He did not have sex with her.
Adonijah tries to usurp the kingdom at this point, and Joab goes along with him. However, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah did not follow Adonijah. Nathan got Bathsheba involved, and she went to David and told him of the situation. David proclaimed Solomon to be king, and arranged a huge coronation for him. Adonijah and his followers heard the big noise, and when they found out what was happening, the all scattered. Solomon actually spared Adonijah’s life, but only on the contingency that no wickedness ever be found in him.
In chapter 2, David gives instructions to Solomon. “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn, that the LORD may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’
“Moreover, you also know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, how he dealt with the two commanders of the armies of Israel, Abner the son of Ner, and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed, avenging in time of peace for blood that had been shed in war, and putting the blood of war on the belt around his waist and on the sandals on his feet. Act therefore according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace. But deal loyally with the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table, for with such loyalty they met me when I fled from Absalom your brother. And there is also with you Shimei the son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day when I went to Mahanaim. But when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD, saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ Now therefore do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man. You will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol.”
(vv. 2-9) It’s almost amusing to see the list that David gave Solomon. He’s telling him to keep a close eye on these individuals, and to take vengeance on the way they treated David. It is then said that Solomon’s kingdom was firmly established.
Adonijah had the nerve to ask Solomon if he could have the servant girl that kept David warm as his wife. That cost him his life. Solomon then expelled Abiathar the pries from the kingdom, for his role in Adonijah’s usurpation. The next to get his justice was Joab. Finally, he is killed at the hand of Benaiah, even though he ran and grabbed hold of the horns of the altar, thinking that would spare his life. Remember Shimei? He’s the guy that met David on the road, cursing at him and throwing rocks at him. Solomon told him his life would be safe as long as he never crossed the brook Kidron. Shimei agreed. However, three years later, one of Shimei’s servants escaped and he chased after him. Yep. He crossed the brook Kidron to do it. Solomon had him killed for that.

Psalm 111
1 Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy;
8 they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

This is a great celebration of the works of the Lord, and finishes with some great advice for all who seek the Lord.

Father, I echo the words of this Psalmist today. I will give you thanks with my whole heart! And I will do it, not privately, but in the presence of your people! I will do it privately, as well, but not only that way. Your works are great, and I delight in them, as well as studying about them.
I must hurry on now, Father, so I pray for the Christi’s day at work, as well as Stephanie’s day at home. She starts “Champ Camp” in a couple of weeks, so that will give her something to look forward to.
I also pray for my day at work. Let today go smoothly, Lord.

Take note of the instruction that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. That is not the only place the Bible says that. Its repetition means that it’s an important statement. And everyone who practices that has good understanding.

Grace and peace, friends.

4 thoughts on “The Fear of the Lord Is the Beginning of Wisdom

  1. Jeff, do these follow a specified order day to day, as from a lectionary? I’ve often wondered. One of today’s selections seemed to hold a special meaning for me.

    1. Andy, I’m following a book called Discovering the Bible, by Gordon L. Addington. He doesn’t go straight through the Bible, but jumps around a bit. For example, I skipped from 2 Samuel to 1 Chronicles to 1 Kings. I think he’s trying to go chronologically.

      ~~~~~ There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem – once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

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