Whether it be a person’s everyday mundane existence or the events that make worldwide headlines, the questions are the same. “How could this happen?” “Why?” “Is this pain ever going to end?” “Where can I go to just get away from all this stuff?” “What is happening; I don’t understand?” You know the questions, if you are normal, I’m sure you’ve asked them yourself at one time or another.
People are frustrated because these questions are part of their everyday lives. They ask these questions about minor things, like walking out to the car in the morning and finding a flat tire, and to the large scale things like Paris and San Bernardino. More and more the questions of life, large or small, seem unanswerable. There is no understanding.
Two verses in the Bible speak of understanding and everyone should consider them. Let’s look at what they say.
Job 28:28, “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”
“Unto man” God is addressing the entire human race, not just a select group or a particular individual.
“Fear” in the Bible is a term for respect. Biblical fear is doing something not because you are afraid, but because you love and want to please someone else.
God is telling every human being on the planet that respecting Him is the definition of wisdom. We’ll get back to the departing from evil thing in a minute.
The second verse everyone should consider about understanding is Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
The beginning of both verses ties our respect to God to wisdom, but they say different things about understanding.
Comparing the two verses, Job tells us departing from evil is understanding. Proverbs, on the other hand, shows us that knowledge of the holy is understanding.
These two verses are not contradictions; Proverbs is just a deeper application of truth than Job.
“The holy” that Proverbs speaks of is God (Exodus 15:11; 1 Samuel 6:20; Psalm 99:9; Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 15:4). Therefore, having a knowledge of God is understanding. Tieing Proverbs and Job together, we can see that the more a person knows Him, the more one can depart from evil, and the more understanding one has of events around them.
Isaiah 33:6 brings more light on the subject, “And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.” In other words, the more we know Him, the more respect we have for him, the more we can depart from evil and this in turn, He will give us wisdom and understanding; bringing stability to our lives.
Knowing God and knowing of Him are two different things. Using myself as an example; any regular reader of this column knows of me, the author. You will know some facts about me. You will know I’m a pastor, my views are conservative, and hopefully you can see I have a working knowledge of the Bible. However, there are people that know me. These people know my likes, my dislikes, what will make me happy, what makes me sad. They know the things I enjoy, the closer people are to me the more they know my heart.
Knowing of God and knowing Him are two different things; “knowledge of the holy is understanding.” The more a person knows God, the more a person knows God’s heart.
The reason there is a lack of stability in your life, a lack of understanding, could be because you only know of God; you really don’t know Him like you think.
We cannot understand everything that happens because none of us have a God-like understanding (Romans 11:33), but He will give comfort to those that know Him when they are unable to understand (Psalm 23; Romans 8:28).
From little things in our lives, like the flat tire in the driveway, to the terrible things on the world stage like terrorism, we may not have an answer to “why.” However, the deeper we know Him, the more we can understand that God will work it all out in the end.
How stable is your life? How well do you know Him?