READ: Proverbs 8-9
THINK: What does it mean to fear the Lord? Proverbs says that "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge" (1:7), "the beginning of wisdom" (9:10), and "a fountain of life" (14:27). A deep sense of awe and reverence for God-His power, majesty, authority, holiness-and an intense awareness of our accountability to Him can keep us from disobeying or disregarding what He's revealed in His Word. It causes us to avoid evil (16:6) and to hate whatever displeases God and destroys people's lives (8:13). This attitude is essential to gaining true wisdom that makes a difference in our thoughts and behaviors. The New Testament indicates that the sincere fear of the Lord will be accompanied by the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31).
RESPOND: In what ways is wisdom personified (described with person-like traits and behaviors) in chapters 8 and 9? How are wisdom and good judgment related (8:12,14)? What does it mean that "to fear the LORD is to hate evil" (8:13)? (See 8:13 note.) Why and in what ways do "arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech" (8:13) contradict and inhibit true wisdom? In what ways does wisdom bring honor (8:18)? In what ways is wisdom described in absolute terms-with eternal and unchanging application to all people in all situations through all time (8:22-31)? What role did wisdom play in God's creation (8:30)? What does it mean that those who find wisdom receive favor from the Lord (8:34)? How do those who fail to find wisdom bring harm on themselves (8:34)? How does a godly and wise person's response to correction compare to a wicked and foolish person's response (9:7-8)? (See 9:8 note.) Why do wise people welcome correction and discipline, from God and others? (See 9:8 note.)
PRAY: Ask God do help you use good judgment in your choices, conversations and behaviors. Ask Him to help you receive correction with a positive attitude and to learn from such challenges from God and others.
ACT: Respond positively to any challenges or correction you get from others, and actually thank them for their input and advice. Perhaps you've recently received correction to which you've failed to respond appropriately, or maybe you responded harshly to someone who offered discipline or correction. If so, apologize to the person. Then take action that demonstrates what you've learned from the experience.
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