My Bible reading program had me in Proverbs this week. Since I came to Christ in high school, I have heard many people say how valuable it is to read Proverbs. I have known some people who will read through Proverbs every month. Proverbs is not the easiest of books for me to read. But when I keep Proverbs 1:7 in mind as I read the rest of the book, I am definitely helped. Proverbs 1:7 reads this way: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The book of Proverbs is about wisdom. Specifically, about offering its readers the wisdom to do life well. Biblically, wisdom is about having and properly deploying skills in life. The intent of Proverbs is to help us gain skills and to grow in the discernment to know when the different skills should be deployed. But behind all of that is a necessary foundation. That is why Proverbs 1:7 is important.
The beginning of all wisdom, knowledge, skill, and discernment is dependent on our attitude and relationship with the Lord. As the two parts of verse 7 point out, we can either have the proper attitude and relationship or a wrong attitude and relationship. A fool is a person who would reject God and His Word. Instead of recognizing his or her need for God to gain wisdom, a fool is convinced that he or she knows best.
If you want to gain the skills and discernment of wisdom, you need a very different attitude. The attitude that opens the door to skills, and discernment flows out of recognizing that God is the source of life, the sustainer of life, and the point of life. In developing that attitude and responding by repenting of your sins and trusting His Promised Savior, the Lord Jesus, as your Savior, you will be fearing the Lord. You will recognize your need for Him and be in awe of both who He is and what He has done for us in Christ. To borrow an analogy, when we fear the Lord, we will be giving ourselves the alphabet to read and the numbers to add up His wisdom so we can gain the skills and discernment He offers in the rest of Proverbs. Foolishness flows from ignoring or avoiding God. Wisdom is a gift He gives to those who see His beauty and respond to His offer of love in the Lord Jesus. I know I need to grow in wisdom. God knows I need to grow in wisdom. And He is offering to give that gift. May we fear Him together and become wise.