A Simple IF-THEN-ELSE

The whole Proverbs chapter 2 is really amazing, and definitely a holy calling for a lifetime. What is great about this chapter is that it is a “simple” if-then-else structure. If you do this, then this will happen. Plain and simple! Actually, let’s just write it down like that to make it clear.

IF YOU

{
receive my words (v.1)
treasure up my commandments with you (v.1)
make your ear attentive to wisdom (v.2)
incline your heart to understanding (v.2)
call out for insight (v.3)
raise your voice for understanding (v.3)
seek [wisdom] like silver (v.4)
search for [wisdom] as for hidden treasures (v.4)
}

THEN YOU

{
will find the knowledge of God (v.5)
will understand the fear of the LORD (v.5)
will understand righteousness (v.9)
will understand justice (v.9)
will understand equity (v.9)
will understand every good path (v.9)
will have wisdom come into your heart (v.10)
will have knowledge which will be pleasant to your soul (v.10)
will have discretion watching over you (v.11)
will have understanding guarding you (v.11)
will walk in the way of the good (v.20)
will keep to the paths of the righteous (v.20)
will inhabit and remain in the land (v.21)
will be delivered from the way of evil (v.12)
will be delivered from men of perverted speech (v.12)

{
who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness (v.13)
who rejoice in doing evil (v.14)
who delight in the perverseness of evil (v.14)
who have paths that are crooked (v.15)
who are devious in their ways (v.15)
}

will be delivered from the forbidden woman, the adulteress with her smooth words (v.16)

{
who forsakes the companion of her youth (v.17)
who forgets the covenant of her God (v.17)
}

}

ELSE

{
your house sinks down to death (v.18)
your paths will sink to the departed (v.18)
you will be cut off from the land (v.22)
you will be rooted out of the land (v.22)
}

How can we be sure of this? Because of the amazing character of the LORD

  1. the LORD gives wisdom (v.6)
  2. from his mouth comes knowledge (v.6)
  3. from his mouth comes understanding (v.6)
  4. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright (v.7)
  5. He is a shield to those who walk in integrity (v.7)
  6. He is guarding the paths of justice (v.8)
  7. He is watching over the way of his saints (v.8)

Aren’t these amazing promises! I love how the conditions are few yet the outcome is great. It gives me great enthusiasm to go for it! I think the conditions can be summed up as one who by grace of God is pursuing humility and diligently searches for God’s heart and is eager to have an unveiled face to behold the glory of God (2 Corinthians 3:18), to see “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6) and be transformed into His image. Wow!

The Year Of

The year of 2009 (According to our Gregorian calendar)
The year of the Ox (According to the Chinese calendar)
The year of discipline (As this is much needed in my life)
The year of the Cross of Christ (As I need to “feel” its weight more in my life)
The year of the ESV Study Bible (As I ordered one yesterday and really look forward reading it)
The year of CCIE (Will I decide to go for it? Will I pass?)
The year of Barack Hussein Obama II (Will he be He to many, or just stay he?)
The year of Canon EOS400D (Will I actually start having a hobby this year?)
The year of 35 (That old? Yes!)
The year of budgeting (I hope)
The year of #2 (We hope)
The year of Jehoshaphat (Well, only for two weeks actually)
The year of preaching (Or at least an attempt to)
The year of choosing a structure (I sincerely hope)
The year of repentance (much needed)
The year of humility (much needed)
The year of finally getting it (much needed)

The Fear of the Lord #3 – The Importance

So now we know what the definition of the fear of the Lord is, and that the Lord our God commands it for several reasons, but why is it important? Why should we fear the Lord? The way to answer this question is to take a look at the book of Proverbs and the book of Psalms.

The Beginning of Knowledge and Wisdom
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)

The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.” (Proverbs 15:33)

Eternal Life
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.” (Psalm 19:9)

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.” (Proverbs 14:27)

A Repented Lifestyle
The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate.” (Proverbs 8:13)

If we do not fear God, we exclude ourselves out of the immense treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge; we exclude ourselves from a long and prosperous life; we exclude ourselves from knowing the love of God that provides assurance and confidence; and we exclude ourselves from being motivated to repent and turn to God. I think it’s safe to conclude that to desire and act upon the fear of the Lord is important.

Bibliology #4 – Sufficiency

The sufficiency of Scripture answers the question if we are to look for other words from God in addition to those we have in Scripture, or is the Bible enough for knowing what God wants us to think or do? The definition can be described that Scripture contained all the Words of God He intended His people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains everything we need God to tell for salvation, for trusting Him perfectly, and for obeying Him perfectly.

Salvation
Paul mentions in 2 Timothy 3:15 that “from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus,” which means that in Scripture we have all the words of God we need in order to be saved.

Trust
David says in Psalm 9:10 that “and those who know Your name will put their trust in You. For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those you seek You,” which means that in Scripture we have all the words of God we need in order to trust Him.

Obedience
In Jeremiah 7:23 it is said that “this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it will may be well with you’,” which means that in Scripture we have all the words of God we need in order to obey Him.

The sufficiency of Scripture implies that God has not spoken to mankind any more words which He requires us to believe or obey other than those which we have now in the Bible. It does not imply that God cannot add any more words to those He has already spoken to His people. It rather implies that man cannot add on his own initiative any words that God has already spoken (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32, Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelation 22:18-19). Practically it should encourage us as we try to discover what God would have us to think or to do. We should be encouraged that everything God wants to tell us about for our salvation, trust and obedience is to be found in Scripture. This doesn’t mean that the Bible answers all questions that we might think up, for “the secret things belong to the Lord our God” (Deuteronomy 29:29). It does mean that when we are facing a problem of genuine importance to our Christian life, we can approach Scripture with the confidence that from it God will provide us with guidance for that problem.

Summary and Conclusion
What then can we say in summary? It ultimately comes down to a desire for wisdom, for “the beginning of wisdom is: acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7), and a step of faith “so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). We must not forget the importance of the role of the Holy Spirit in overcoming the effects of our fallen condition, and to give us revelation of the truth of the Bible. We have in the Bible God’s very words, and we must not try to improve on them in some way, for this cannot be done. Rather, we should seek to understand, approach them with an open and humble heart and mind, and then trust them and obey them with our whole heart.

Does Bibliology help you in your understanding of the Bible? In other words, to what extent does the Bible have authority in your life? Do you feel encouraged that Scripture is meant to be understood by all, although sometimes it takes effort? Does understanding the necessity of Scripture stir you to more study of it? Do you feel that the Bible provides sufficient answers for your life? If not, is that because of a lack of understanding, of trust or of obedience? How does this help you in sharing your faith with non-believers? All these questions are so relevant to our every day life that I think it is sometimes good to understand the theory (doctrine) behind these things so that we can be more focused and determined in our efforts.