“The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.” [Proverbs 1:1-7]
Today’s reading is a splendid way to start my new Daily Devo series. I set out, not to teach you, but to share my own responses to what the Lord is teaching me. Of course, some of the best instruction through God’s Word comes from meditating upon it, and chewing it over time. My responses here will be more guttural and immediate. If a conversation begins, in the comments, I’m sure that I’ll return and add more of what I learn. Thank you for reading this. It pleases me to know that you’re interested.
Who doesn’t want wisdom? We all do. But, it’s important to be clear that knowledge is not wisdom. The dictionary says that wisdom is, “The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.” Notice the basic element of righteousness is included there. So, having amassed good knowledge isn’t enough, it requires the ability to apply that knowledge. The ability to discern.
Knowing how to apply knowledge to and end result of what is right, can’t come from within yourself. We aren’t predisposed to do good things or think good thoughts. We must have the Lord’s direction to know what is right.
I think this passage’s main focus is the last verse, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”
Do you have people in your life who you think are wise? I know of one man, no matter what he says, I know it is with purpose. Everything he says, even in jest, was thought out beforehand. Shouldn’t we all be like that? It can only come from true wisdom; wisdom from the Lord.
These fools Solomon refers to, are foolish because they disregard God. Their rejection of God’s existence means that they do not listen to His warnings and direction. That is what makes them foolish. Without God, they have no wisdom, and as such they lead directionless lives of folly.
I remember back in college, I set out to understand what it meant to “fear the Lord.” It was confusing to me, and I yearned to understand the concept. Thinking back, I recall trying to look at it like a child. This got me thinking about the proverbial father-child relationship. I reference the kind of relationship that is God-honoring, not the more popular dysfunctional relationships.
Do children fear their fathers? The majority do. As a child, I did. Is this fear good? To a certain extent, yes, I think it is. I love my father, but as a child I knew that he had the power to harm me. Would he have? No. But, the knowledge that he was strong and powerful, caused me to respect him. To fear him.
This is a poor analogy about our relationship with the Almighty Father. We know He has the power to deal with us as we deserve. We know He has the power to cause us ill. But, He doesn’t. In fact, he cares for us and loves us. Knowing this about God, we should be afraid. Not afraid that he will, but that he could. God has the power to harm us, and he chooses not to do so. That is why the fool despises wisdom, they don’t even know God, how could they love wisdom?
Take a moment today to reflect on your own fear of God. Do you fear Him?