1 Praise the Lord.[b]
I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.
There is a gradual build in this Psalm, listing attributes of God which culminate in the statement that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom". We are reminded of the greatness of God. The first step toward wisdom mentioned here and many other places in the wisdom literature of the Bible is having an attitude of awe, reverence, and worship toward God.
Why is this the first step in being wise? Because we are what we worship. Those who reject God's authority or his very existence ultimately become their own gods. They turn their worship to created things above the Creator. While our self-determinative culture may lead us to believe this approach to life is virtuous, it places our brokenness upon the throne. That is to say, we do not make a very good god.
Only God loves perfectly, forgives completely, shines the light of truth in a manner that is both insightful and compassionate at the same time. At the extremes, when we take God's place, we cannot love those who do not serve our interests. True wisdom can be seen not just in how one treats their friends, but in how they treat their enemies. The first step in acquiring true wisdom is surrender. We give up the notion of being our own little god. It is a simple acknowledgement that God is God and I am not.
What do I worship with my time and attention?
Lord, as I consider the question of wisdom in my life I acknowledge that much of my activity is oriented around my own wants and needs. This can produce a flow in my life that is inward focused and self-serving. When I experience true worship of you, the flow reverses to become outward. I begin to love as you love. I see the needs of others and act upon their interests before my own. Your character becomes my character and in the process I find the deepest needs in my life completely satisfied. Teach me to stand in awe of you alone.