Ephesians 4:7-16; Wisdom requires fear of the Lord.

Class Outline:

Thursday July 15, 2021


Psa 73 is a poem about false perception of the law of wisdom and being corrected by God.


It is a poem about the application of the wisdom literature in a faithful believer’s life. We overviewed the first half of the poem in which we find that the writer is a devoted believer who strives to keep his heart pure before God, but he notices that the wicked prosper and are healthy, and all without fighting the good fight of faith. He concludes that perhaps the clear promises in the Book of Proverbs, that the wicked will suffer and the upright will prosper, are not true.


PSA 73:13-14

Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure,

And washed my hands in innocence;

14 For I have been stricken all day long,

And chastened every morning.


James said that the man who is double-minded is unstable. The writer of Psa 73, up to this point, is just that.


Still, his conscience served him well because it was pure. He knew that to doubt God’s clear promise was a betrayal.


Perplexity risen from conflict of observation and divine promise did not cause him to throw the truth away, but rather to seek further in God’s word for answers.


The Proverbs as well as all the word of God is designed for us to return to over and over. It was not designed to be read through once or twice.


PSA 73:15-17

If I had said, "I will speak thus,"

Behold, I should have betrayed the generation of Thy children.

16 When I pondered to understand this [humility],

It was troublesome in my sight [learning has difficulty]

17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God;

Then I perceived their end.


The truth is always waiting for us to discover more of its treasures.


Here’s what he found:


PSA 73:18-20

Surely Thou dost set them in slippery places;

Thou dost cast them down to destruction.

19 How they are destroyed in a moment!

They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!

20 Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when aroused,

Thou wilt despise their form.


New discoveries call for more inner reflection.


PSA 73:21-24

When my heart was embittered,

And I was pierced within,

22 Then I was senseless and ignorant;

I was like a beast before Thee.

23 Nevertheless I am continually with Thee;

Thou hast taken hold of my right hand.

24 With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me,

And afterward receive me to glory.


New discovery and reflection bring personal assurance in our relationship to God.


PSA 73:25-28

Whom have I in heaven but Thee?

And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth.

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,

But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

27 For, behold, those who are far from Thee will perish;

Thou hast destroyed all those who are unfaithful to Thee [true proverb].

28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good [true proverb];

I have made the Lord God my refuge,

That I may tell of all Thy works.


The whole process is for our benefit, our increased wisdom, and a closer walk with God.


We must be careful to know Proverbs alongside Job and Ecclesiastes. It is wisdom literature designed to mature our wisdom.


In Proverbs, wisdom is an attribute of God that He used to create the world, and so it is woven into the reality of the world. People live or die by her.


Wisdom calls out to the entire earth, to all men and has for all time.


She reveals that any person can accept her instruction and benefit by it in the beautiful life that exists under God’s moral law lived in worship of the Lawgiver.


Wisdom is portrayed as more than academic knowledge, but as a skill applied to everyday life.


Wisdom is not an impersonal force that anyone can follow as a procedure and do well in life. It is of the essence of God, and as Proverbs makes clear, without the fear of the Lord, wisdom is not possessed by a man. In the same manner, the life of the church age believer is not under law but under life that each possesses, the life of Christ, and we do not enjoy the fruit and fullness of that life without knowing the love of God and the fear of the Lord.


In Proverbs, wisdom can only be possessed by those who fear the Lord.


PRO 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;

Fools despise wisdom and instruction.


PRO 14:27

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,

That one may avoid the snares of death.


PRO 16:22

Understanding is a fountain of life to him who has it,

But the discipline of fools is folly.


One of the several rays of light in Ecclesiastes has it:


ECC 3:14

I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.


ECC 8:12

Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly.


Jon Voight was interviewed by Tucker Carlson yesterday. I just so happened to watch it today. The interview, an hour long, soon went off script. Voight began to share his salvation story. Tucker then asked him what his relationship with God then did for him personally, in his daily life, and Voight said, “I have fear of the Lord … I am really afraid (chuckles). I’m afraid of offending God. Because God is everything. God is love. God is all these beautiful things, beauty, everything. How can I live up to that? I need a lot of help. I think that’s the fear of the Lord. It keeps you on the track. It’s not a fear of … frightened of … being attacked by anything. It’s a fear of offending. A fear of not living up to. A fear of doing the wrong thing, of making a terrible mistake.”


Like all of us, he struggled to define it, but you could tell that he knew what it was, and that it molded his life into something of great quality.


It is true that an unbeliever can live better than another unbeliever who does not adhere to natural, moral law, or even a carnal believer who rejects it, but in Proverbs, wisdom can only be had by those who possess a fear of the Lord.


If a way is moral, it has been given by God. The unbeliever doesn’t know the source of the moral law and so cannot perform the way of it spiritually, meaning in communion with the Lawgiver and worship of Him for His righteous law. The believer can follow all the way of God, and knowing the source, he can do so in honor of the Lawgiver while worshipping Him for His great wisdom and grace, and he must do so. He is accountable to it, being a son or daughter of God’s house.


Only those who know that God is alone the Author of the moral law and that He is exacting in judgment upon those who reject it, will actually give their lives to it, and not purely for the benefit of self, but because of the authority of the One who gave it. That is a good start in knowing the fear of the Lord.


While addressing the similarities found in the Book of Proverbs and other pagan literature …

“The theological significance of the Old Testament rests rather on the connection of all its literature with the Lord, God of Israel.” [Waltke, The Book of Proverbs (1-15), p. 66]


Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Hittite laws have some parallels to the laws given by Solomon. But Solomon gives a name to the Giver of the law, Yavah Elohim, while the pagans did not name the source. God gave the world and moral law and they knew something of that moral law but did not know the Lawgiver. There were Babylonian laws for stealing that were similar to God’s law. But Israel knew the one true God who gave that law while the Babylonians did not. Israel was to fear the Lord (Yavah) which would have made them behold the laws against stealing (and everything else) in a unique way, a lifechanging way. Rather than following a law because of the reprisal or social pressure, they (and us) can follow a law because we know we have been given the law by the One with all power and authority, the Creator of all. Out of 915 verses, the Book of Proverbs mentions God in 100 of them, and almost exclusively by His name the Lord (Yavah or Yahweh - 87 times).