Christian Living

The beginning of wisdom

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7 (NKJV)

The phrase “the fear of the Lord” appears 11 times in the book of Proverbs. It refers to fear that stems from coming to the realization of God’s character which in turn leads to a reverent attitude towards Him. This reverent attitude results in a desire to serve and worship God, and obey his commands.

Notice the stark contrast between those who fear the Lord and gain knowledge to the fools who despise wisdom and understanding. It’s implied in this verse that the kind of knowledge being spoken of is the kind that leads to wisdom and instruction. Both of which fools reject out-of-hand.

The Hebrew word that’s translated “beginning” in Proverbs 1:7 means “the start”. This means that you don’t have a chance of gaining spiritual knowledge unless you start with a reverent fear of the Lord. Otherwise your endeavor is doomed to fail. In the following verse, a different Hebrew word is translated “beginning” which means “a prerequisite of”.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV)

Solomon is saying that not only does your search for spiritual wisdom have to start with the fear of the Lord but that it’s a prerequisite. In other words, don’t even bother starting your search for spiritual truth until you have the fear of the Lord in your heart.

Do you have the fear of the Lord in your heart?

If you do, He’ll impart His wisdom to you through the work of the Holy Spirit. If you don’t, then the only wisdom that you’ll ever achieve is the wisdom of men, which is foolishness compared to God’s wisdom.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

I first professed my belief in Jesus as the Son of God and accepted Him as my Savior more than 40 years ago. Since that day, I’ve never doubted that Jesus is who He claims to be. However, that belief didn’t keep me from living my life on my own terms for several years, which resulted in repeating the same sins over and over. In 2013, I became determined to make Jesus the Lord of my life. It was then that the Holy Spirit gave me an insatiable appetite for God’s word. As I turned more and more of my life over to Jesus and cooperated with the Holy Spirit, He has helped me break free of the sins that once enslaved me. Since then, I’ve been strongly compelled to share God’s word and to warn others that we need to get ready because Jesus is coming soon.

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