We are beginning the very important Part 4 in this series, focusing on those characteristics of wisdom that set the Wise Virgins apart from the Foolish Virgins. Let’s briefly recap what we have seen in the previous parts.
When Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ] taught the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, He spoke the following words:
“They that were ready went in with Him [the Bridegroom] to the marriage” (Matthew 25:10)
In this passage from Matthew 25, Yahushua was teaching His disciples the importance of being ready for a marriage. From Revelation 19:7-9, we learn that the marriage Yahushua is referring to is His own marriage — “the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
In the parable of the ten Virgins, we are given this vital key for being ready for the marriage to the Bridegroom: the Wise Virgins had wisdom, but the Foolish Virgins lacked wisdom!
It was the Wise Virgins in the parable who were ready to go in with the Bridegroom. And so it is the same with us today. If we desire to be ready, we too must have the same wisdom!
Walking in Wisdom
Here in brief is what we have seen in previous parts of this series.
We have seen that the one who is wise, learns to hear and obey the counsel and instruction of Scripture; that seeking wisdom is much like digging for treasure, and requires much effort of digging into the Scriptures.
We have seen that the one who is wise, learns to choose humility as a way of life. We saw that those who walk in the way of wisdom, are those who choose to follow the example of Messiah — who humbled Himself by becoming obedient.
We have seen furthermore, that the Wise Virgins have a willingness to change their lifestyle, to live their lives according to the Scriptures. This willingness to ‘live our lives according to the Scriptures’ is the first and foremost prerequisite, or necessary requirement for gaining wisdom.
It is this changed lifestyle alone — from living according to man-made traditions that contradict the Scriptures, to a lifestyle of obedience to the Scriptures — that sets the Wise Virgins apart from the Foolish Virgins!
Finally, we have seen that our goal in learning about the Biblical characteristics of wisdom is that we may become wise unto obedience. In this way, we become ready — so that we might be found among the company of the Wise Virgins, who go in to the marriage with the Bridegroom!
And now, the next wisdom characteristic we will look at in this series is: the one who is wise walks in the Fear of Yahuwah [the Fear of the LORD].
The Fear of Yahuwah
This characteristic of the Wise Virgins is found in Proverbs 9:
“The fear of Yahuwah [the LORD] is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10a)
According to the above passage, if we want wisdom, we must begin with the Fear of Yahuwah.
But what is the Fear of Yahuwah?
The English word ‘fear’ in this verse, is the Hebrew word yir’ah, Strong’s Number <03374>, which stems from the root word yar’ey Strong’s Number <03372>. Yar’ey means “fearing, fearful, to be afraid exceedingly, honourable reverence, and to be had in reverence.”
When we truly reverence someone, we are on the edge of fearing that person. When we are seriously afraid of something, “it is said that we can feel our insides flowing.”
This verse in Proverbs reveals to us what the very beginning of wisdom is: the Fear of Yahuwah.
No one really comes close to having true wisdom unless they have a measure of the Fear of Yahuwah. So the Fear of Yahuwah is the first step toward wisdom.
However, there is something mysterious about this characteristic of wisdom. We know we are to love Yahuwah with all our heart. This is the first and great commandment (Matthew 22:37,38). And yet, many times, the Bible urges us to ‘Fear God!’ So how can we ‘Love God’ and also ‘Fear God’?
The answer is in finding out what the Fear of Yahuwah is, as well as remembering the Hebrew definition for the word ‘fear’ — honourable reverence.
Let us therefore look at only a few of the many Scripture passages that define the Fear of Yahuwah.
Blessed are They that Fear Yahuwah
The following verses show us, from a practical standpoint, exactly what the Fear of Yahuwah is — and how it can be seen in our lives:
O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deuteronomy 5:29)
And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear Yahuwah his God, to keep all the words of this law [Torah] and these statutes, to do them: (Deuteronomy 17:19)
Praise ye Yahuwah. Blessed is the man that feareth Yahuwah, that delighteth greatly in His commandments. (Psalms 112:1)
Blessed is every one that feareth Yahuwah; that walketh in His ways. (Psalms 128:1)
Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of Yahuwah thy God, to walk in His ways, and to fear Him. (Deuteronomy 8:6)
Now let’s list the practical steps that the above passages reveal about what it means to fear Yahuwah:
- To fear Yahuwah, is to keep all His commandments, always;
- To fear Yahuwah, is to study, and to keep all the words of this law [Torah] and these statutes, to do them;
- To fear Yahuwah, is to delight greatly in His commandments;
- To fear Yahuwah, is to walk in [Yahuwah’s] ways;
- To walk in Yahuwah’s ways, and to fear Him, is to keep the commandments of Yahuwah!
These are clear and do-able steps for us to take in order to walk in the Fear of Yahuwah. With one-step-at-a-time, not all at once, and with Father’s essential merciful grace, only then will the Fear of Yahuwah is achievable. With His help, we can do the simple steps of walking in His ways, and keeping His Word!
All who genuinely desire to know Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God], to love Him and understand Him, then they will choose these practical steps: to hearken to [hear and obey] His ways, His statutes, and His commandments (John 14:15,21; 15:10; 1John 5:3). This is the evidence that we have [and are walking in], the Fear of Yahuwah.
Let’s see next what the Bible says about learning the Fear of Yahuwah.
Learning the Fear of Yahuwah
From the Scriptures we find that Yahuwah wants us to learn the Fear of Yahuwah:
1.) That their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear Yahuwah your God … (Deuteronomy 31:13a).
2.) Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of Yahuwah (Psalms 34:11).
Both of the above verses reveal the need for us to be teachable, and to learn the Fear of Yahuwah.
The first verse above, in Deuteronomy, is one of at least fourteen verses in Deuteronomy alone, where Yahuwah’s people are exhorted to learn the “Fear Yahuwah of your Elohim [your Mighty One, your God]” (Deuteronomy 4:10; 5:29; 6:2,13,24; 8:6; 10:12,20; 13:4; 14:23; 17:19; 28:58; 31:12,13).
Rather than list all these Scriptures here, we will point out one verse that clearly sums up the rest:
Ye shall walk after Yahuwah your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him. (Deuteronomy 13:4)
This verse, along with the others in Deuteronomy, reveal the following practical steps we need to take, in order to learn the Fear of Yahuwah:
- Hearken to [hear and obey] Yahuwah’s Words;
- Carefully obey the instructions of Yahuwah;
- Have a copy of Yahuwah’s Law [His Torah — His instructions and teachings for His children] and read it all the days of our life;
- Hear, and observe to do, all the Words of this Law [this Torah].
Again we can see that Father is showing us the practical steps for learning the Fear of Yahuwah. Learning the Fear of Yahuwah begins when we start to cultivate a great reverence for, and obedience to, Yahuwah’s written WORD, the holy Scriptures. Over and over throughout the Bible, we find that learning the Fear of Yahuwah is revealed in passages that urge obedience to Father’s commandments, instructions, and teachings!
Now let’s look at the second verse, Psalms 34:11.
This passage reveals in context (Psalms 34:12-14) a few more ‘homework assignments’ that are given to those students who wish to learn the Fear of Yahuwah:
- Guard our tongue from speaking evil, and our lips from speaking deceit;
- Depart from evil, and do good;
- Seek peace, and pursue it.
Learning the Fear of Yahuwah begins the moment we take steps toward departing from all evil actions and words. This is confirmed in Proverbs 8:13: “The fear of Yahuwah [the LORD] is to hate evil!” When we have the Fear of Yahuwah, we will hate and avoid the evil-ness of pride, arrogance, selfishness, covetousness, falseness, and perversion.
When we hate evil, we actively guard our mouth, choosing to speak words that bring forth life and edification. As we saw in Out of the Abundance of the Heart, we can choose to use our tongue to speak words that build up others, bringing life. Or, we can choose to speak words that tear down others, bringing death.
We can now see how Father has made a way for us to learn the Fear of Yahuwah. We must become teachable and tender-hearted toward learning the Scriptures. This tender-hearted-ness is necessary for us to be as a little child, humble in our attitude, and obedient to the Scriptures, so that we can learn to Fear Yahuwah. Oh let us be praying for our hearts to be tender and teachable!
Walking in the Fear of Yahuwah
We have now seen that the Scriptures describe in great detail, what it means to walk in the Fear of Yahuwah. When we are truly walking in the Fear of Yahuwah, then we will behave and speak with great reverence and loyalty about Yahuwah’s Truth, His Character, and His Word! Our heart’s desire will be seen in our practice of studying God’s Word daily, and in learning to obey Father’s Torah [His instructions and guidelines found in the first five books of the Bible] (Proverbs 29:18b), and also, in bringing glory to God in everything we do (1Corinthians 10:31)!
When we have a Biblical Fear of Yahuwah, then we will earnestly seek to avoid any sort of evil-doing. We will begin to learn to avoid the things that Yahuwah hates, and we will seek to love the things that delight our Abba Father. We will delight in keeping all of Messiah’s commandments, including those He gave to Moses (John 14:15,21; 15:10; 1John 5:3)!
When we have a Biblical Fear of Yahuwah, then we will know how exceptional and immense the love of Yahuwah for His children is! And we will find it much easier to trust in Him with all our heart!
Why is this true?
Because we will be regularly studying His Word, continually being reminded of His loving and intimate care for His children! (Psalms 91:14; Proverbs 8:17; Song of Songs 1:2b; Isaiah 38:17; Jeremiah 31:3; John 14:21). We will also be experiencing very personal events that confirm Father’s love and direction for us.
When we have a Biblical Fear of Yahuwah, we will begin to understand the importance of speaking respectfully to, and about, our heavenly Father. And, because we are hiding God’s Word in our heart, and spending time with Him in our prayer closet, seeking His help in all that we do, then we will be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, and will be careful not to offend Father, or sin against Him. And, the genuine Fear of Yahuwah will deliver us from the dangerous trap of the fear of man! (Psalms 119:11; Psalms 17:3; Proverbs 29:25).
We must add one more detail in our look at this characteristic of the Wise Virgins. We must mention the rewards!
According to Scripture, there are great rewards for walking in the Fear of Yahuwah. A brief list of these rewards can be a great motivation for us to pursue the Fear of Yahuwah!
Notice these promises Father offers for those who walk in the Fear of Yahuwah:
The angel of Yahuwah encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them. (Psalms 34:7)
O fear Yahuwah, ye His saints: for there is no lack to them that fear Him. (Psalms 34:9)
For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. (Psalms 103:11)
He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them. (Psalms 145:19)
Yahuwah taketh pleasure [‘delights’] in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy. (Psalms 147:11)
As seen in the above Scripture passages, these are wonderful rewards for those who Fear Yahuwah:
- The angel of Yahuwah surrounds them;
- They have no lack;
- They have Father’s great mercy;
- Father fulfills their desire;
- Father hears their cry;
- Father will save them;
- Father delights in them!
What amazing love our heavenly Father has for His children!
Let us remember however, that the Fear of Yahuwah is the beginning of wisdom! When we have the Fear of Yahuwah, then we have the ‘key’ that opens the vault that holds the treasures of wisdom! And wisdom, whose price is above rubies, is truly a treasure! [See Job 28:12-28.]
Learning the Fear of Yahuwah is not only a key characteristic of the Wise Virgins, but it is also a key ingredient of our well-being (Ecclesiastes 8:12b). Yahuwah Elohim created us, He loves us immensely, and He knows the beginning and the ending of all things! He knows therefore, that it is for our good, that we learn to Fear Him!
When King David prayed, “Teach me Your way, O Yahuwah, … unite my heart to fear (yar’ey) Your name,” (Psalms 86:11), David was exhibiting his desire to learn and walk in the Fear of Yahuwah. May this be our desire also: an undivided heart to honour Father, to learn to Fear Him, and to reverence (yar’ey) His holy Name (Psalms 111:9; Malachi 1:6).
The Greatest Reward
Let us also be reminded that our exceeding great reward is Messiah Himself (Genesis 15:1), who is the Bridegroom. And so the greatest reward or incentive for our gaining wisdom, is that we will want to become ready — ready to go in to the marriage with the Bridegroom! And the way we acquire that readiness is to do what Father exhorts: ‘Get Wisdom!‘
But none of our readiness would be possible without the grace and mercy of our Father! Our own efforts are not enough! We NEED the help of the Holy Spirit!!
Only by the Spirit of Yahuwah imparting His wisdom to us, only by His help in maintaining our obedience to His Word, one-step-at-a-time, only then can we hope to be enabled to Be Ready for our Bridegroom.
Let us pray for Father to keep us near Him always, and to seek His grace, that we so desparetly need, in order to walk in the Fear of the LORD!
The one who is wise will be seeking and walking in the Fear of Yahuwah! This is a vital and important characteristic of the Wise Virgins! The Fear of Yahuwah is the one wisdom characteristic that initiates, supports, and cultivates all the other wisdom characteristics!
If we seek to cultivate this amazing quality, then we are on the road to gaining wisdom and, by His mercy, be among the company of the Wise Virgins!
Please see the next, and very important, charactertistic of the Wise Virgins, in the last article of this series: Characteristics of The Wise Virgins: Part 5
- Acquiring A Teachable Heart
- The Key to Gaining Understanding
- The Holy Spirit Will Guide You Into All Truth
- Seven Biblical Guidelines for Studying the Bible: Using Scripture to Interpret the Scriptures
- Steps To Obtaining Wisdom
- The Wise and Foolish Virgins: The Separation of the Wise
- Preparing Your Heart
- Thy Torah is My Delight
- That It May Be Well With You