By Reverend John Franklin
Salem United Methodist Church
Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation. Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Full of honor and majesty is his work and his righteousness endures forever. He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds; the Lord is gracious and merciful. He provides food for those who fear him; he is every mindful of his covenant. He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving them the heritage of the nations. The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever. Psalm 111 NRSV.
In 1 Corinthians 8:1b the scripture reads, ‘Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.’ Wisdom and knowledge are wonderful things but people often have a difficult time applying these two gifts to daily living in a productive way. Knowing something someone else does not know shouldn’t be used to manipulate other people. Sharing knowledge is the wise practice of such a precious endowment. Sadly people use knowledge to maintain control over others. The Psalmist gives the precept that to fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, which in turn, helps us to use the knowledge we have of God the way it was intended to be used. The Psalmist says all who practice it have a good understanding. Understanding the love of God is an awesome task which, although overwhelming at times, results in blessings that call us to share the knowledge we have about God. Praising God and giving thanks to the Lord for our blessings is the beginning of sharing God’s love. Speaking the truth in love to one another will glorify God far more than trying to impress people with our knowledge of the Bible. Healthy use of knowledge and wisdom will bring praise to God that will endure forever and ever. Amen.