In Search of Wisdom

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

Proverbs 1:29 – Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord,

Advice from Solomon, the wisest man in the world, to his sons. Such great counsel is contained in the chapters of Proverbs. It’s too bad that Solomon didn’t always practice what he preached. But isn’t that true of all of us? We know the better course; we take the lesser.

I so desperately want knowledge, discernment, insight understanding, discipline, and wisdom. I pray for all of those things often. Imparting them is why Solomon wrote these words to his sons. The verses of Proverbs 1:1-6 read accordingly…

Proverbs 1:1-6
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

[2] for attaining wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words of insight;
[3] for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
doing what is right and just and fair;
[4] for giving prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young–
[5] let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance–
[6] for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise
.

Who wouldn’t want all of that? Apparently, plenty of folk. God, through Solomon, tells us how to get such things. He writes…

Proverbs 1:7The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

There is no separation of the spiritual, volitional, emotional, intellectual, or moral in the Bible. They are all interrelated and interdependent.

To have the attributes on Solomon’s list (or at least, to move toward acquiring them), one must fear the Lord. All too often people bend over backwards to point out that such “fear” simply means “reverence.” And, of course, there’s some truth in that. But I can’t help but think that fear also means fear.

For example, when Isaiah stood before the throne of God in Isaiah 6, he immediately knew how sinful he was. He shrieked in terror and was beside himself with the overwhelming feelings of dread and unworthiness. That sounds a little like fear. Or, how about when Jesus calmed the sea and the disciples wanted him to depart because they felt the weight of their radical shamefulness. I think that there’s something to that understanding of fear that we shouldn’t immediately dismiss, simply because it makes us uncomfortable.

But, of course, it means more than that.

“Fear,” in our Scripture, also means covenantal submission to the Lordship of God. We show we properly fear God when we submit, reverentially, to who he is, and to what he has commanded us to do. We can’t just give him lip service. Our obedience must have hands and feet to it as well.

To know God is to know him covenantally and relationally, to know about him (his character, attributes, decrees, commands, etc.), and to humbly, gratefully, and joyfully live our lives in response to all of that. We can know that we are approaching what it means to fear God when we are living in such a way.

And this, according to our text, is the beginning of knowledge (which includes all the other items on Solomon’s list). As I mentioned earlier, there are apparently some who do not desire such knowledge and who have no fear of God. They are spiritually, intellectually, morally, emotionally numb. The Bible calls them fools. Such people don’t desire God or his ways. And, sadly, Proverbs, (as well as the rest of Scripture), tells us that to such people with that attitude, God responds… “thy will be done.” And thus, they reap the consequences of their foolishness – both here and hereafter.

I love the book of Proverbs. Like Solomon, I want to pass such wisdom on to my children. And while there’s gold in the pot for both boys and girls, there’s wisdom contained therein that our boys desperately need to be taught in this day and age. The average prime time TV program will run in complete antithesis to the pearls of wisdom that Solomon is trying to communicate to his sons. Our boys need to ingest this wisdom long before they become men. Because, by then, it will be almost too late.

Have you read Proverbs lately? You may be interested to know that there are 31 chapters – one for each day of the month. Doctor’s Prescription: A Proverb a day will help keep sin away. Of course, I would also exhort you to read more than Proverbs, but you can’t go wrong by adding it to your spiritual diet.

Stand Firm,
Dale

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