The Beginning of Knowledge

Old Testament: 1 & 2 Samuel Intro Below

Poetry: Proverbs 1

New Testament: Luke 20

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  (Proverbs 1:7) This seems like such a simple verse, and yet how I misunderstood it for so long as I didn’t think of the LORD as the Father alone. It’s so important to first fear and love the LORD/YHVH, and yet so many believe in a twisted version like I did.  I recently read the golden calf incident to our grandkids and was reminded that they called the golden calf, YHVH! And as the rest of the verse says, “fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Many don’t want to be corrected for being wrong, I know I sure didn’t want to be at first. ☹ Fearing YHVH is just the BEGINNING of knowledge! We should continually be willing to learn wisdom and gain instruction no matter our age. “Fools hate knowledge.” (1:22)

Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD.” (1:28,29)

We must continue to choose to fear the LORD and not despise knowledge.  I am encouraged in reading the Scriptures how it helps us by continually pointing us in the right direction. 

Jesus’s goal was to fear the LORD. The chief priests and scribes sought to destroy him. “They watched him and even sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on his words, in order to deliver him to the power and the authority of the governor.”  (Luke 20:20) 

Jesus walked about in the streets of Jerusalem and here I am some years ago doing just that. All of our 5 children were born in Israel, four in Jerusalem and our first in Bethlehem (like Ruth’s first;).

They could not catch him in his words in the presence of the people.” (Luke 20:26) “He taught the way of God in truth.” (20:21) Such fear of God he had, giving us an example and thus providing wisdom and instruction. How can we fear God more in our daily lives? And be more open for wisdom and instruction?

-Stephanie Schlegel

Reflection Questions

  1. How can we fear God more in our daily lives? And be more open for wisdom and instruction?
  2. In Jesus’ example and in his teaching how did he display and teach fearing God?
  3. In order to have a proper fear of the LORD we need to have an understanding of who He is, what He does, what He desires so we don’t end up calling something the LORD/YHVH that isn’t. What do we learn about God in today’s passages? Why is the Bible the perfect place to find out who He is? What else is the Bible useful for?

1st & 2nd Samuel Introduction

The books of First and Second Samuel are named after the man Samuel – the last judge of Israel (1 Samuel 7:15), a prophet (1 Samuel 9:9), priest (1 Samuel 3:1), and kingmaker (1 Samuel 10:1; 1Samuel 16:13).  Samuel oversaw the transition from Israel’s being ruled by Judges to it’s being ruled by a king.  As a prophet, priest, and ruler, the man Samuel was a foreshadowing of Christ. 

We don’t know who wrote the books of First and Second Samuel.  But whoever wrote them clearly had inside information about Samuel, and Kings Saul and David, since the books record such detailed information about each, including what they were thinking, in addition to what they did and said.

From the time of Moses until Samuel, Israel was a theocracy – a nation ruled by God.  1 Samuel 8 details Israel’s rejection of God as king, when they wanted a king to lead them “like all the other nations have” (1 Samuel 8:5).  God let them go their sinful way by telling Samuel in 1 Samuel 8:7, “…Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.”  God then led Samuel to anoint Saul as King.  He was tall and strong – impressive from any human standpoint, and was just the type of king the people wanted.  Unfortunately, he didn’t follow God wholeheartedly.

It wasn’t that God didn’t want Israel to have a king, it was just that the timing wasn’t right.  God eventually directed Samuel to Jesse’s family to anoint the next king to replace Saul.  1 Samuel 16:6-7 records, “When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”  God then directed Samuel to anoint David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14), to be the next king over Israel.

Some of the more familiar passages in 1 & 2 Samuel include:

1 Samuel 3 – God calling Samuel

1 Samuel 17 – David and Goliath

1 Samuel 28 – Saul and the Witch of Endor

2 Samuel 7 – God’s promise to establish an eternal dynasty for David

2 Samuel 11 – David and Bathsheba

2 Samuel 15 – Absalom’s conspiracy

2 Samuel 22 – David’s song of praise

Even though David wasn’t sinless (e.g. David and Bathsheba), he was called a man after God’s own heart because he put God first and sought to live for God.  I challenge you to live your life like David, who was able to say in 2 Samuel 22:21-25, “The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees.  I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in his sight.”

-Steve Mattison

And in This Corner…

Luke 20

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

            Yesterday we mentioned that there were people that flustered Jesus.  In Luke chapter 20, we get a big dose of people hating on Jesus.  How bad was it?  How did he handle it?

            Don’t you find it strange that a man who never sinned against anyone ticked so many people off?  He never did anything wrong to anybody, but so many people disliked him, especially religious people who believed in the same God we worship today.  Moreover, they didn’t just ignore him; rather, they spent a lot of energy trying to take him down.  In Luke 20 alone, the religious folks confronted Jesus about his authority, tried to lay hands on him (and that wasn’t to pray over him), and sent spies who pretended to be righteous in order to catch him in a statement so they could hand him over to the authority of the governor.  They really didn’t like Jesus at all and wanted him silenced.

            Put yourself in Jesus’ sandals for a moment.  How would you feel if people were constantly attacking you even though you had never done anything bad to them?  I’m a fairly patient person, but I think at some point if someone continually attacked me when I had done them no wrong, I would lose my cool and flip out at them.  If someone continually tried to turn others against me, tried to physically harm me, and tried to get me arrested, my anger would most likely boil over eventually.

            How did Jesus react?  He used the “3 C” approach – Calm, Cool, and Collected.  He didn’t raise his voice.  He didn’t call them names (like the Pharifesces).  He didn’t ignore them or run the other direction.  He didn’t get physical with them.  On the other hand, he did treat them with respect.  He did take the time to speak with them.  He was completely civil with them, but he also didn’t hold back the truth.  He explained to them that what they were doing was wrong and that they would pay for it.

            I must admit that it is entertaining to me to see how Jesus masterfully with his words put them in their place time and time again.  They knew he had gotten the best of them, and they backed off so they could regroup and try again.  I’m sure many of the scribes and priests became even angrier in defeat, but we do get a small glimpse of Jesus’ approach changing some minds about him.  Luke 20:39-40 says, “Some of the scribes answered and said, ‘Teacher, you have spoken well.’  For they did not have courage to question him any longer about anything.”

            Today, anger rules the day.  When people don’t agree, they tend to blow up at each other, call each other names, ignore each other, and just really dislike each other.  They want so bad to change the minds of the people on the other side of the issue, but their strong words and actions actually entrench the other side further into their beliefs.  If you want to have any chance at persuading someone, don’t attack them; try to stay calm, cool, and collected the same way Jesus dealt with his adversaries.  You don’t need to like the things they say and do, but you do need to love them as your neighbor.

-Rick McClain

Time to ponder:

Is there a person or group of people that you don’t like because of the viewpoints they hold?  If so, their viewpoints may be completely wrong or even evil, but it is time to forgive them and not hold those wrong beliefs against them personally.  You may also need to apologize to them for your words or actions.

There is a time to be angry at people.  The Bible even records Jesus getting very angry and acting out…once.  He took a whip into the temple and flipped over tables…once.  People constantly persecuted him, and he got angry…once.  Anger is not the best way to act…except maybe once.  How quickly do you get angry with others?  Try to separate the issue from the person.  You don’t have to agree with them, but you do need to control your temper and love them.  Is there anyone you need to apologize to that has been on the wrong side of your wrath?

Resolving Sin

Luke 20

Luke 20 26 niv
Hey, my name is Jacob and I like playing basketball and I am going to college for computer science. I love being a part of the Blood River Church.
In Luke chapter 20 Jesus is encountered by chief priests, scribes, and some Sadducees all of whom are trying to entrap him into mispronouncing God. Through their futile attempts Jesus is able to counter each of their questions with a response of his own which cause them to ponder, this eventually leads to the dismissal of their question at the conclusion of their answers to Jesus’ question. This is mainly due to the reflection of their own question and how they begin to question God when they know the answer.
In life we sin and make mistakes that we are not aware of, these mistakes and sins have the possibility to snowball into something bigger that becomes a profound issue. From this it takes recognition and reflection through yourself and others to understand what has happened and what has come from something so minor. Similar to how me make mistakes in life the chief priest, scribes, and the Sadducees made mistakes and it took the help of Jesus and reflection to understand what they were doing. From this came correction where they dismissed their question which inherently solved their mistake.
Now solving issues, mistakes, or sins will not always be the easiest thing to do, and its okay to admit, you do not have to experience these struggles by yourself. Find a parent, relative, friend, or even someone in your community to lean on, to help comfort and assist you in your resolution. Sometimes these resolutions will not be instant and will take time, but that is okay because it means you are growing. Growth is what has led you to who you are today, and it is also what will make you in the future.
(Editor’s Note:  Thank you to the Blood River youth for preparing devotions for us this week!  Keep reading and searching God’s Word – and sharing it with others!)
%d bloggers like this: