Is this Wisdom or Fear?

By Callie Mitchell, SAVED News International Correspondent, Jerusalem, Israel
Who else has spent the last two months sifting information and vocabulary—trying to understand calculations about super-spreaders, what exactly are those?, or whether or not the Covid-19 fatality rate is similar to the seasonal flu? In Israel, it’s lower. I’ve had information overload, and I’ve never said the word “epidemiologist” so frequently in my entire life.
Several weeks ago after looking at data that seemed convincing, until I read a rebuttal, I went to the Lord and simply said, “This is all so far beyond my scope of knowledge. How am I supposed to know if I’m being manipulated by fear, or if it’s true? What is wisdom here?”

What Does Scripture Say?

Scripture reminds us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5). Asking is something I do often because I rarely feel I have enough!
Even now, as we are opening our economy in Israel, the media confusion prevails over numbers meant to tell us whether or not our social distancing measures and draconian (another one of those words) governmental policy was effective, thereby repeatable, for an impending “second wave” that may or may not happen.
When the “experts” can’t even agree, how do we discern? The answer, I think, is fairly simple. Proverbs 9:19 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
Here, fear means awe and reverence for God. Making choices in wisdom means that we are humbly upholding God’s created order, and His law, with our decisions. We do so out a place of CONFIDENCE that God is sovereign and in control. Fear, on the other hand, keeps us focused on our circumstances, and instead of trusting God, employs our human abilities to control people and events.

Wisdom

Honestly, wisdom is often applying common sense. Consider wearing masks. In God’s created order, He breathed the breath of life into our bodies. Research shows wearing masks for an extended period causes us to recycle Carbon Dioxide into our bodies. Anything that impedes our ability to receive oxygen goes against God’s created order and plain common sense, no? Thus requiring a low-risk general population to wear masks for a full work or school day is likely a fear tactic rather than truly wise living.
Work is another. God worked for six days and then He rested. We are made in His image, as creative beings who work. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 even tells us, if you don’t work, you don’t eat! Preventing people from working goes against God’s created order, and His law. It is motivated by fear, not godly wisdom. We need to be working so we can eat!
These issues can get much more nuanced than I can cover here, but even so, the basic principle remains: It doesn’t take rocket science to be wise. It takes the fear of the Lord. Wherever you find yourself, put Him first, ask, and He will show you the way!

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