Thought for the Day

Scientific advisors with the Prime Minister at daily briefing.     Image credit: The Scotsman

Proverbs 15:33

Wisdom’s instruction is the fear the Lord,
and humility comes before honour.

Before we get successful we have to get humble, especially about who God is, and how we defer to Him.

This is a challenge to us about holding God in greater awe than everything else. Greater than ‘following the science”. Greater than public opinion. Greater than the particular political ideology that we follow. Greater, even, than the voice of reason.

Sometimes churches put forward “fear of the Lord” as being beholden to church tradition and its hierarchies. All denominations and even modern streams have them!

What’s the bad news?

In this epidemic, people are dying, others are very poorly and no one has clear answers. It could be us, it could a friend or neighbour from the same village, it could be someone with an existing common health condition. The anxiety, the uncertainty and the need for isolation and distancing is set to go on and on – and we don’t have a way out of it.

In the present pandemic, we hear daily wisdom from experts in science, medicine, epidemiology and data interpretation. But as one commentator remarked drily (on BBC Radio 4 Today), “Scientists like to think they are expert at everything.”

And so do we in our unguarded moments.

Education and knowledge is good and helpful. I studied the science streams and then engineering in early life. I know the value of following scientific evidence and then developing the engineer’s ingenuity in thinking outside the familiar ways, to construct a better solution.

Bringing that into the disciplines of Christian philosophy brings thinking skills which are very helpful in finding our own framework. We all need a framework for what we believe. But it is important for that framework to include the values that come from what we believe, because the values we hold are are what really steer what we do, or avoid doing.

We might believe that God is all-powerful and all-wise. But it is if we put a high value on finding out what His wisdom is, that we’ll be ready to listen and learn.

All of this is really helpful in making a kind of landing pad for what God might be saying to us. We have to bring it down to earth… and we need a way of processing what we discern spiritually. The language of heaven isn’t the language of earth, so we have to translate the whisper of the Holy Spirit and the glimpses of revelation He shows us, when we are attending. We have to do the work of joining them up. The disciplines drummed into us through education and experience help us do this… until they start to take over, and then they don’t help, they hinder. Because then we are putting our faith in the process rather than the source.

The Good News is…

That believing and trusting Jesus is the one simple thing we can all do, which opens the door for His Holy Spirit to be the light which guides our way, and the revelation insight that shows us simply, what we struggle to reason out, and never quite succeed, by ourselves.

“Fearing the Lord” starts out as something that sounds ‘heavy’, but really it is just putting first and foremost God our Father who first loved us, who gave His Son Jesus for us and who loves to honour us as we get to know Him

What do we do?

Consider the question: “Who am I listening to ?” And then, work on ‘tuning in’ to what He is saying and making that our ‘front page news’.


Wisdom’s instruction is the fear the Lord,
and humility comes before honour.
Proverbs 15:33

Lord, we hear that our priority is to respect You in an attitude of awe at Your incomparable might, majesty – and love.

We understand that the relationship works by our acknowledging our need to depend on You.

We find it hard to depend.
We find it difficult to admit that we don’t have the answers.
We struggle to admit that answers will not come through our diligence alone, but by Your grace in giving them.
It’s human pride, and we ask Your forgiveness again.

Help us, and those who lead the country at this time, to approach You in awe and deference – and be humbly receptive to what You tell us as the final word. Amen.

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