The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever. (Psalm 111:10—NKJV)

With every day that passes, there seems to be a continuing devolution of American clearheaded thinking. We are told we are not to be rigidly prejudicial in the face of moral danger. We are told not to profile people, but we are told to recognize the signs of possible terrorist behavior of someone we may see fumbling in a backpack, rocking back and forth, and muttering religious intonations. Our society is so upside down that we are told to solely think with our hearts and to solely feel with our heads.

It seems that every day we are bombarded with the illogical and the disconnected. Observe the current political arena. Much ado is rightly made concerning spending money we do not have, expanding government to the destruction of our own Constitution, and gradually stripping away precious freedoms hard won by lovers of liberty. But there is very little serious thought expended on re-instilling moral fortitude, honorable virtues, and accountability to our Creator. Only with a firm grip on such foundational thought can anyone gain a proper estimation of the values of our liberty. Nowhere is this detachment of political cause from divinely designed absolutes more evident than when politicians seek to address moral issues in an unguarded moment. To illustrate, the governor of California once unwittingly said, “I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.”

How can you know you are thinking rightly when you are surrounded with such softheaded, cultural dementia? Are the days of the comfort of a manly confidence, a straightforward answer and a clear eye gone the way of the dodo? Hardly! The desperate need of our time is for every godly man and woman—confident in the Lord and His Word—to be equipped to speak truth into the darkness of man’s sinfulness. Let godly voices echo God’s warning found in Romans 1:18, 21–22, “for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, …they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”

Our text promotes the fountain from which clear thinking flows, the kind of clear thinking which seamlessly weaves moral knowledge with practical knowledge so that our deep running happiness remains refreshingly pure, meaningful, and enduringly constant. The verse starts with an oft-repeated maxim in Scripture: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This is the only kind of sure-footed presupposition which is capable of producing clear thinking. Fear is a sense of reverence and personal weakness in the face of God which gives perspective to all human endeavor and religious character. In New Testament terms, godly fear starts at the cross of Calvary, when you first realize your own utter inability to save yourself, and cast yourself on the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, your Creator. It is this fear of Jehovah that is the beginning, first in time and dignity, the chief part of wisdom which perfects the whole. Job 28:28, Proverbs 1:7, 9:10, 14:27, 19:23, and Ecclesiastes 12:13 expand on this principle.

It is this basal premise—the proper fear of the Lord is the fountainhead of all wisdom—that leads to the next phrase: “a good understanding have all those who do His commandments.” Those who obey God’s commands (make it their business, labor and work) have a firm grasp on understanding—to act intelligently—and go through life conducting themselves within the bounds of circumspect beauty. You acquire the habit of godly wisdom by experience through exercising correct judgment as you discern good and evil. Read verses 7–9 in order to see the close relationship between the excellences of the Lord and the quality of thinking and action of those who obey, resting everything upon Him.

The final phrase states that His praise endures—is standing—forever. The wisdom which God alone gives, faithfully followed by His own, will stand as a testament both now, in the temporal world of nations and men, and forever, to be rejoiced in for all eternity by those who love Him.

What is the quality of your wisdom? Are you wise in horse sense, in facts and figures, in getting through life, yet woefully silent when it comes to clearheaded discernment of moral advice from Scripture practically applied? Firmly grasp the Word of God and steadily apply the pressure of chapter and verse to your life for all to see and hear. Trust and obey.