Tag Archives: Fear The Lord

Three Ethical Principles that I Gleaned from Proverbs

Prasha Maharjan.

The book of Proverbs looks more like a handbook that is well documented about the experiences of others to offer insight and guidance to its readers. The book offers wisdom, instructions from teacher or mother and father to a child. Wisdom is personified as a woman. The moral aspect of the teaching is to instruct and encourage to the child to seek righteous, justice, and equity. Man is not the center figure in the book but God. The climatic introduction “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7) shows the divine knowledge comes from God and is only possible through fearing him in utter awe. Fearing God is the prerequisite for attaining this wisdom. The book also makes clear that this knowledge is partly accessible to human beings (16:1-2,9; 21:30). The point is: the beginning and ending of human quest for wisdom has to be “the fear of the LORD” and God stands in both ends in this quest.

Reading Proverbs as I seek for wisdom, I have gleaned three ethical or behavioral principles that I desire to follow in my everyday life. Implementing these three principles in my everyday life has helped me to be more effective in my ministry to others.

Lust for money is a common weakness for all. People who are wholly giving and generous are but rare. The book of Proverbs gives us a set of instructions about handling money. In worldly terms verse like Proverbs 11:24-25– “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will be refreshed”– are impractical. How a man can keep giving and still have more is hard to believe. However, in my personal experience I have seen many people who have been blessed one way or the other for their generosity. This is one trait that I would like to implement in my life to be a more effective Christian servant. We are the workmanship of Christ made for good works and to serve others. It is being Christ-like when we make our resources available to others. Again, I do not know how it works for God but he has always blessed us when we have given freely. My husband and I are merely international students and our other family members not Christians. They have been amazed how we have always had enough all this time we have been in a foreign country. It is a testimony of God’s provision to them in our lives.

Secondly, I desire to be a godly wife following the instructions that Proverbs lays out for women in chapter 31. People who are called to serve in God’s kingdom are also subject to higher judgment. My husband and I are in involved in ministry and we have to pray continually as we serve and guide others, God would help us love and respect each other. As a human being first, I am inclined to being selfish and putting my interests first. But as a Christian woman and wife, I yearn to be selfless and be an embodiment of Christ’s love so I may be a more effective Christian servant. I know that non-Christians that I work with are closely looking at the way I behave as a wife. Hence, my husband and I pray fervently that God would give us extra measure of grace so that even when we slip, the non-Christians would recognize that we are still human beings desiring to live a life that brings glory to God. I desire to be a selfless and godly wife so that our ministry to young couples more effective

Thirdly, diligence is an ethical behavior that I would like to pursue as well. Many employers that I have worked for in the past have not always provided the best circumstances to work with. There were times when I lazed away and thought my employer did not deserve my hard work or devotion. And in many other areas of my life, I have felt the same way where I did not feel like giving my best. It is so hard to keep in mind that all things I do, I do for the glory of God regardless of the result. Surely, when I am diligent even under meager salary and unfair conditions, it will make people wonder. Diligence is a part of wise living not simply to be appreciated and rewarded but to serve God with our very best.

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“Fear of the LORD” and Its Role in the Hebrew Wisdom Literature

The Hebrew wisdom literature is about the art of success, and Proverbs is a guidebook for successful living (Lasor, 460). The Old Testament also emphasizes the laws of love (Lev. 19:18; Deut. 6:5). God’s people were required to submit to God with total obedience. This they called “the fear of the Lord”. Thus the fear of the Lord in the Hebrew wisdom literature does not mean a servile attitude of submission but one conjoined with hope, love, gratitude and commitment to do God’s will in all circumstances. We see the use of the phrase “fear of the Lord” throughout the book of Proverbs to contrast the wise and the foolish:

Ways of those who Fear the LORD Ways of the foolish
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge Fools despise wisdom and instruction. 
Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil Pride and arrogance and the evil way, And the perverted mouth, I hate.
Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.

As mentioned above, the Hebrew wisdom is the art of success. In the book of Proverbs we see the teaching that a life that is lived in fear of the Lord is a successful life. Those who are wise fear the Lord, and those who are foolish do not and live a despiteful life. Yet again, we have to note that the Hebrews also emphasized the laws of love. They feared the Lord not in dreadful manner but in filial reverence. To fear the Lord was to be in awe of God, honor him, and give him what he deserves because God is good and just.


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