Job 28 is an ode to wisdom. It is beautiful and compelling. It ends with verse 28: "And he [God] said to man, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'" It is often pointed out that this description of wisdom is the same description made of Job in 1:1 and 1:8. Essentially, this tells us that Job was wise. But this is not all it does. It also defines wisdom for us.
"The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom." Solomon reinforces this in several places in Proverbs, the first being in Prov. 1:7 "The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge;" Have you ever heard new Christians say they are afraid of Hell? They often express guilt that this is their main motivation, but there is no reason for them to feel that way: the fear of the Lord is wisdom. If we aren't afraid of being thrown in Hell, then we are fools! And if we aren't living lives of faithful service to Him, God will send us to Hell, however much that saddens Him (2 Peter 3:9). So it is wise, and the beginning of knowledge, to fear the Lord. It is only the beginning of knowledge, and as we grow in knowledge of the Lord, our motivations should mature (love for Him, hope of glory, etc.). However, it never stops being wise to fear the Lord.
"To turn away from evil is understanding". So those who don't turn away from evil lack understanding, right? So what about me? Do I turn away from evil? Or do I give in to the same temptation every time it comes up? Is it to the point that an impartial observer might conclude that I don't even try to turn away from those temptations/evils? Do I go looking for it, rather than turning away? Do I see how closely I can sidle up to it without giving in? Do I have any understanding at all? Or am I like an uncomprehending beast of the field, ruled solely by my passions?
"Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding."
Am I wise?
Do I understand anything at all?