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October 17, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“God alone understands the way to wisdom; he knows where it can be found, for he looks throughout the whole earth and sees everything under the heavens . . . Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it. He set it in place and examined it thoroughly. And this is what he says to all humanity: The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.'"—Job 28:23–28 (NLT)
Have you ever heard the extremely odd expression that says, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat”? This nineteenth century “proverb” implies that there’s more than one way of achieving a desired outcome. There’s some truth to this expression. In so many different areas of life, work, business, sports, and otherwise, there are a variety of ways to achieve a goal.
For years in the NBA, the way to a championship was an unstoppable big man. In the 2000s, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard, and Kevin Garnett dominated “The Association.” And then Pat Riley found another way by creating the era of the super team, bringing together the “Big Three” and surrounding them with solid role players. Since then, the Golden State Warriors showed us another way to reach the mountaintop: three-point sharpshooters. And chances are, in a few years, someone else will find another way to skin that NBA dynasty cat.
When it comes to true wisdom and understanding, though, there is only one way . . . God’s way. Job recognized this. He knew the only source of true wisdom and understanding was the One who created the universe and everything in it!
It’s amazing how Job so wisely tied these two together: the fear of the Lord and the forsaking of evil. Why? Well, when you truly fear the Lord, when you live with a proper veneration, reverence, and honor for God, and in submission to Him, you can begin to understand who He is and who we are in Him. We’ll never fully understand His ways, we’ll never have a grasp on the magnitude of His glory, but we’ll know all we need to know to understand that true wisdom is found, as Barnes wrote, “in humble piety; in reverence for the name and perfections of God; in that veneration which leads us to adore him . . . To this conclusion Job, in all his perplexities, comes, and here his mind finds rest.”
And here’s the thing, when we get to know the Lord, when we grow closer to Him, when we abide in Him and He in us, we see clearly what David said in Psalm 92:15 (NLT): “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!" And as He works in and through us, we see that to truly live in the fear of the Lord, to truly honor and glorify Him, we need to “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9 NIV). These two are inseparable, friends. We can’t honor God without forsaking evil. We can’t find true wisdom until we do it God’s way and forsake the ways of the world.
DIG: What does the world consider true wisdom? How does it differ from Job’s revelation?
DISCOVER: Why are the fear of the Lord and the forsaking of evil so closely linked?
DO: Reflect on the messages the world sends and how they conflict with the Lord’s way. Consider how these messages have impacted your daily life. Search your heart and examine your life to see if any of these philosophies and ideas of the world have become entrenched in your mind and have impacted your faith and the way you view the world.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.