The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts havegood understanding.
The psalmist speaks of two wonderful qualities: wisdom and understanding. He points out that each of these has a moral foundation. The foundation for wisdom is the fear of the Lord. The foundation for understanding is following the Lord’s precepts. Where these qualities are lacking, we should not expect either true wisdom or understanding.
We need to observe a distinction between wisdom and understanding on the one hand, and cleverness and intellectual education on the other. There are many clever, educated people who do not have wisdom or understanding. It could be argued, in fact, that most of the trouble in the world today is caused by educated fools. Cleverness is a matter of the mind, but wisdom springs from the heart. The intellect is an instrument whose use is determined by the heart.
A highly educated intellect may be compared to a very sharp knife. One man uses the knife to cut up food for his family; another may use it to kill his neighbour. It is irresponsible to place such a knife in the hands of a man who cannot be trusted to use it aright. Too long the devotees of secular humanism have worshipped at the shrine of the intellect. It is time for us to lay again the moral foundations of true wisdom and understanding.
Help me, Lord, to meet the moral requirements for attaining to wisdom and understanding.
This devotional is taken from